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Thursday, 17 May 2012

Getting Back At It

I have wanted to teach and do research for a long time. A very long time. When I found out that I was expecting, I swore up and down that it would not slow me down, that I would still finish "on time" (whatever that means). I would still graduate with my PhD, and would go on to teach at a university, and maybe even run a consulting business on the side. The possibilities were endless....

Now, 5 months post-birth, I find myself toying with the idea that maybe my priorities have shifted a little. Life just doesn't seem as simple as it used to. I can't just go to school and spend 6 hours working at my computer. I can't be present for all of the meetings and workshops I would like to attend. And to be honest, often I don't want to be. I love being home with McKenna and seeing her grow up. While I don't think I am cut out to be a stay-at-home mom in the long-term, I am enjoying this time we have together immensely. I'm starting to think that maybe my career ambitions need to be scaled back a bit to accomodate more of a family life.

Recently, McKenna has started going to a home daycare three days a week. Two of the days I am teaching, and the third day I have set aside to work on my dissertation. Tomorrow will really be my first real day back at it since I had McKenna. Sure, I have collected data since then, but I haven't sat down and written much of anything since December. I'm dreading it. I feel like I'm starting at the beginning again. I no longer feel like a curious, competent graduate student, I feel like a tired, overworked mom. But I want to do this. I am so close to being finished, and I know that I would always regret it if I gave up on this degree. Whatever it takes, I will walk across that stage someday soon. I just need to buckle down and force myself to get back at it.

Friday, 11 May 2012

A Well-Traveled Baby

On Sunday, McKenna and I arrived home, after 3 weeks away from home - first to visit her paternal grandparents in Ontario, and then to visit my family in NB. My poor, dear little girl is still so exhausted and stressed out from all the traveling. When she was less than a month old, we took her to Ontario, and then she visited NB at 2 months. Both times she coped wonderfully, and so I assumed that she would be just as easy to travel with at 4-5 months. Not so, my friends, not so...

I first noticed when we were in Ontario that she was fussier than normal, and wasn't sleeping well at night. I quickly chalked it up to the fact that she wasn't seeing as much of her father and I as usual (we were out doing lots of fun, touristy things), and was making up for it during the night, by nursing more often. Also, she had been getting some formula during the daytime when we were out (she's not a fan). Ontario was a fun, but tiring trip. I got very little sleep, and McKenna just wasn't herself. I could only hope that our trip to NB would go more smoothly. 

Unfortunately, McKenna spent the first week of our visit to NB fussing, eating very little, and waking up 8-11 (yes, I counted) times every night. I repeatedly had to cancel plans that I had made with friends, because I knew that McKenna needed me more than I needed to socialize. The poor thing was just so tired and confused. I spent much of the first week in bed with her, snuggling, nursing, and trying to get her to sleep. Every 45 minutes to an hour, she would wake up and groggily reach out for me, tongue searching, to make sure I was still there. For that first week, I felt like the worst mom in the world for dragging her around at such a young age. It was obviously harder on her than we had expected it to be, and I couldn't wait to get her home and back to a predictable routine. It also didn't help that I was getting flack from relatives for holding her all the time rather than leaving her to amuse herself, or letting her cry. But that's for another post...

It's good to be home again. While I did enjoy myself, I don't know if it was worth the stress it caused McKenna. She's still not sleeping well, and wakes up crying several times a night. We are supposed to be traveling again later on this summer, but who knows? Hopefully she'll be better able to cope at 8-9 months.