I am trying to find the positives in going back to work, even though at this point I really don’t want to go back to work.
It will be nice to have some time and space to think again.
It will be nice to have some quiet. I was home this summer with both kids, and while it was in many ways a lot of fun, it most certainly was not quiet.
It will be nice, I suppose, to think about my research again. Perhaps I will actually make the revisions the press requested for my book (two YEARS ago. Gah.).
Mostly I am looking forward to being able to make the time to exercise and to occasionally have lunch with a friend.
When E. was little, I found it hard to rationalize doing anything for myself that wasn’t work-related, because if I wasn’t home with E., that meant Q. was, and that meant Q. wasn’t working when he should have been. It felt inappropriate and frivolous to use my time away from E. for anything but the PhD.
This time around, it’s different.
Three days a week P. has a nanny. It is the nanny’s JOB to take care of P. She is not supposed to be doing anything else.
So if I want to use an hour of that time to go for a run, or to eat lunch with a friend, I shouldn’t feel guilty, because the only person whose work isn’t getting done at that point is me. In my view, life’s too short to work all the time, even if I’m supposed to be maintaining full-time hours in my research position and I’m already behind by choosing to stay home with P. one day a week.
I do better work when I make time to read for fun, when I make time to run, when I make time for anything other than sitting in a library staring at a computer screen with a pile of books stacked next to me.
This does not make me a particularly good academic, but it makes me a better person and a much better mother.
I don’t want to be back at work next week.
I would much rather still be at home with P.
I would much rather be the one picking E. up after school every day.
But if I’m not going to be able to do that, at least I can try to make sure that my time away from them is well spent.
And that means making time for me, not just for my research.