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  • Mama PhD

    Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

Mothering at Mid-Career: Labor Day
September 7, 2009 - 7:25pm

Many years ago, my husband and I planned our wedding for Labor Day weekend. Almost everyone we knew was a teacher, and school always started after Labor Day, so it seemed a convenient time as well as a date we’d have no trouble remembering.

And then we moved, and I began teaching in a college with an academic year that runs from late August to early May, rather than September to June, as I’d always done before. Suddenly Labor Day was smack in the middle of the busy, getting-started time of the semester. We routinely “miss” our wedding anniversary in the crush of learning students’ names, first-of-the-semester committee meetings, and the like. I can’t remember a quiet or peaceful Labor Day, nor one that involved an end-of-summer party, since I began teaching here.

Until today. Today I didn’t have classes, though we were in session. My daughter is getting settled at college; my son has already bought all his school supplies and loaded them into his backpack for tomorrow. I worked quietly and easily at home in the morning, then went off to read in a café all afternoon. My phone didn’t ring; no one asked to meet with me. I brought my computer, planning to make some use of the café’s free wifi, then realized my battery life was low and I wasn’t near an outlet, so was forced to limit my time on-line. I had the most productive afternoon I’ve had so far in this young semester. I didn’t feel quite so sorry for myself about working on Labor Day when the labor actually progressed; too often I start a project in the office only to be interrupted and lose focus — this afternoon, everything started to fall into place.

It’s rainy out today so we’re not planning an end-of-summer barbecue, but I’ve got a peach crisp baking (with peaches picked up at the orchard where we went to gather early apples on Saturday). I’ll do a little more reading this evening, make sure Nick has a lunch for tomorrow, and get up with him in the morning to resume our long-abandoned routine. But I’ll also remember this break in the routine, and try to replicate it again soon.


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