Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tenure clock addendum; options for fall

I talked to my departmental chair today about my upcoming maternity leave. My due date is late August. Looks like I have several options.

1. Take the whole Fall semester off
2. Teach just the lecture portion of my Pet Class. It's basically all prepped.
3. Teach both the lecture portions of Pet Class and Advanced Cool Subject, which I've taught before.
4. Take my full load minus the labs that involve hazmat.

1. Whole semester off. This would allow me to spend a good 4 months with my newborn, be able to manage my toddler (who I imagine would still go to day care, at least part-time), my husband could still work 4 full days at Suburban MRU. I would still be a sleep deprived zombie, but just not one in front of a classroom. The hip thing*.

In this case, we'd have to put me and Boy on Hub's insurance, because I would lose mine.

2. Teach Pet Class lecture only. This is most appealing to me, but still doesn't bring me up to full-time status. This would involve me showing up 3 hours per week to lecture, perhaps add 1.5 hours a week to review my notes. Maybe an additional 1 hour per week to make and grade quizzes. I could use my old tests since I collect them every year. I would have to grade for 5 hours every three weeks for the tests. Add a few office hours in there... that's maybe 10 hours/ week of actual work. And it would keep me from being lonesome at home all day. I would have to put Widdlebitty into daycare or hire a bbsitter for at least those three hours/week. Baby sitters are abundant on college campuses. Widdlebitty could even be bbsat in my office. Then there's the hip thing*

3. Lecture of both classes. As above, but add another 10 hours/week on. To me it seems a bit much, BUT at this point, I would be considered full time and keep all my benefits. At a small college like ours, I could request that both of my classes are back-to-back, and the registrar can simply make that happen for me. :) Love that. If I was working this much, I would ask the Hub to be home more often. While he does computational work, he also has a supervisory role, and need to be there in the flesh a little.

4. Keep full time, farm out the portions of labs that involve hazmat, take my 4 weeks of full paid disability (yes, our maternity leave is really disability). This is what I did with the first baby. Big difference though, Hub did not have his job yet. He was a stay-at-home Dad. It's selfish, but it was ideal for me. :) I can't imagine doing this as a single Mom. no. no. no.

For one, I am a pretty laid-back parent. I trust the day care to "raise" my toddler, BUT they've had an influx of babies recently, and I see Widdlebitties crying in their cribs and not getting prompt attention. This causes me to bristle. For some reason my instinct is to attach, attach, attach at least until they grow a bit more independent (sitting up? 6 months?).

Here's an article I've read recently:

I could blog on it separately...
Hub is an orchid. I am a dandelion. I pray against/worry about my children as orchids. Do I feel the need to hover and cling, heck no. Do I feel the need to take the bonding/attachment process seriously. Heck yeah. Oh, oh yeah.

There's also the hip thing*

My chair said that he can't imagine this maternity leave being unfavorably viewed by the P and T committee. He looked at me like I was crazy when I asked. However, he would have to check to see if the fewer hours would calculate into later raises for me. It also may effect my sabbatical application, because they are competitive. More on that as I hear.

* The hip thing: Last pregnancy, as I grew closer to my due date, my joints all loosened up (as they do in all women). My hip joints were overzealous in their preparations to flex and open for baby's head squeezing out. I joke that they were more excited about childbearing than weightbearing.

My sacroiliac joint, the one that anchors the weight of your upper body to your hips, and therefore your legs, became extremely flexible and painful to the point I could not walk. I used crutches to ambulate, but it was still painful, and there are no safe (strong) painkillers for use while pregnant. I did get treated very well by the public. A hugely pregnant woman on crutches is a pitiful sight. :)

I could not walk for weeks before my delivery. I could not walk to ease/assist my labor. I could not walk or carry my baby for a week or so after the delivery (but now I could take drugs). After the birth it took FIVE MONTHS of physical therapy to have a day without achy hips.

I had a lot of help then. Now, my Hub is gone during the week. I try to imagine managing my 15 steps outside my home on crutches- carrying a toddler- let alone a diaper bag or my purse, and I just can't see that happening. Please, Lord, let this one pass over me this time.


  1. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you sharing your experiences with this!

    I am currently on the job market for a position at a PUI, but I have never experienced any of my professors having a child, so I wasn't sure what happens to your teaching schedule and since I eventually want to have children, I am choosing to stress about this non-existent situation than over upcoming interviews!

    If you opt to teach part time (Option 2 or 3), who teaches your class while you are out for 4 weeks?

  2. It's great that you have options. My school has a formal process for stopping the tenure clock so I would be careful about just taking your chair's word that "he can't imagine this maternity leave being unfavorably viewed by the P and T committee." Also check and see if you can take the semester as unpaid maternity leave and still retain your insurance.

  3. Oh ooowwwww. That sounds like it sucks so big time. I had a lot of hip/lower back pain in my sacroiliac joint, but it was far from crutch-worthy and it still made me almost cry some days. I would totally go for option #1 and say "whatever" to all the rest of the stuff like calculating raises/sabbatical time. It seems discriminatory for them to allow family/medical leave to impinge on those things.

  4. i ran across this post because i am an academic ~35 weeks pregnant with pelvic pain. Mine doesn't sound as bad as yours was, but it is tough to walk, sit for long periods etc.
    i strongly recommend you get this book to help with your second pregnancy. the simple stretches and exercises have made a huge difference to me!
    "Relieving pelvic pain during and after pregnancy:How women can heal chronic pelvic instability"