Hello from Parental Leave

Well. That happened.

Charlie arrived five weeks ago, right after the first big snowstorm of the season. He gave us a scare on the way out and wound up in the NICU for a few days, but he was home by Thanksgiving. He’s been a fairly easy baby so far, and we’re enjoying figuring out exactly how to handle him. Once we’ve mostly got it down, he completely changes and we start over. Kinda feels like school all over again.

I’ve been on leave since the second week of November. I almost felt like I needed the time off more before the birth than after. During the last month of pregnancy, getting put on bedrest turned from my worst nightmare into a secret dream. Often I could only sleep an hour or two a night. I wasn’t in pain, was even still walking to work a few times a week, but the exhaustion was too much. I was barely keeping my head above water.

I think this every semester, and it always turns out ok, but this time I mean it: these are going to be the worst student evaluations of my career. And they won’t be entirely undeserved. I swear I did my best.

My department picked up the last weeks of the semester for me. They are getting paid, but given that they’re receiving the pro-rated adjunct rate, they might as well be doing it out of the kindness of their hearts. I think the transition went reasonably well but maybe people are saving their complaints until I’m back. The school sent me a lovely congratulatory philodendron the other day, so I’m taking that as a sign that nobody went straight to the Provost at least.

At five weeks out, I’m starting to actually look forward to starting back at work, though I’m very thankful it’ll only be part time to start. The most intellectually stimulating thing I’ve done since I left work is figure out how to clear up diaper rash. It’s a change of pace to be sure. And a not unwelcome one, but it wouldn’t be sustainable for me for long. No shade to the stay-at-home parents out there at all – it’s an incredibly hard job – but it’s just not one I’m suited to. I’ve written before about how poorly I do off a schedule. I guess I do have a schedule now, but it’s one created by my son, and he doesn’t let me see it in advance.

So that’s pretty much what I’ve been up to. My first December without grading in a decade, but somehow my days are still packed. Good luck to all of you as you finish your grades and slide into the holidays!


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