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  • Mama PhD

    Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

Mothering at Mid-Career: It's always something
August 11, 2008 - 9:17pm

I had half a blog post written on how I used to find time to exercise, but don't anymore, and how I plan to get started again. It was a pretty good post, expressing both my frustration at how time has shrunk over the last several years and my gratitude that I have a good -- and free -- gym to go to on campus. Maybe I'll write it someday.

But I was writing it in Chicago, where I was attending a conference. I mentioned last time that I was less stressed about this conference than I often am. Remember that? The kids are almost self-starting these days, Mark had things to do but time to do them, all that. Last week, it was all good.

It was mostly true, too. Yes, there was the morning when I called home and found Mariah had overslept, and would be running late to her dog-sitting job. And there was the morning when I didn't call home, and she overslept again and nearly missed a singing gig. But in both cases no real harm was done, and when I got home the house looked clean and orderly and everyone seemed happy to see me, but not desperate.

Until I came home after spending the day in the office today and discovered a leak in the downstairs bathroom, a leak that has probably been going on for months, and that at this point may necessitate a new floor. Sigh.

I know that staying home wouldn't have kept this from happening. In fact, it may be that my leaving helped me discover it, as I was in the basement at an unusual time doing post-conference laundry and thus saw the leak myself when someone flushed a toilet upstairs. Still, it's a drag to come home all energized about research, and ready to start working on syllabi -- yes, and getting going on that exercise program -- and to be blindsided by unexpected home repair needs.

I know there's nothing unique in this, though. We are all juggling, parents and non-parents alike. If it's not the bathroom floor it might be the car, or worse--the ailing parent or the sick child, for example. As Gilda Radner used to say, it's always something. I just wish it weren't, right now.


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