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Expecting: more kids and challenges

I never know when it’s time to tell personal news online and how far it actually makes sense to tell them explicitly instead of letting people to figure it out by themselves by picking up signals here and there… Anyway, in case you haven’t heard yet: another kid is on the way – I will be on maternity leave from the beginning of May.

The fun of anticipating and preparing for a new arrival comes together with challenges of figuring out how to combine it with my professional life, especially given that I just started figuring out what and how I actually want to do after my post-PhD dip.

And it’s more difficult when the first time – now I knowing what being a parent actually means, how much (or little 😉 you can actually do work-wise when you free time is not as stretchable as it used to be, how precious is the time when they are so little and how fast it flies. I know that getting back to work after the usual three months is tough, especially now, when I don’t have the PhD finishing line in sight, that I’ll have a couple of seasons when going to a conference would be a big challenge, and don’t even get me started on the long-term issues of combining work and motherhood (we have an extremely inflexible Dutch school system on the horizon)…

Well, there are still three months to go and lots of fun things to do work-wise. I’ll eventually figure out how to make the equation work, but at the meantime would appreciate your thoughts and pointers to success stories (especially those about women who managed to have it all :)))

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • David Brake February 3, 2010, 18:01

    Congratulations! Enjoy your next child as much as you do this one…

  • Jan Schmidt February 4, 2010, 01:21

    Oh, great news – congratulations, Lilia! Alas, I can’t provide success stories, but I’m nevertheless happy for you.. 😉

  • Jill Walker Rettberg February 4, 2010, 13:42

    Congratulations! My number three is due in two days – and I think sadly the only way to stay happy is to accept that you’re just not going to be as productive professionally for a few years. My eldest is 13 and added to that, has spent every other week at her dad’s since she was 3 1/2 – no problem being an academic with that setup. I was an MA student when she was born, had a year’s leave, worked 80% for a couple of years and found I was more productive in the time I had than I had been before I became a mother. With every other week “off” mothering, going to conferences and so on was easy.

    Jessica is a year and three quarters and I’ve found it harder not only to get the hours in at work but actually to maintain the interest in work that I used to have… I think this is largely because I got pregnant again almost as soon as I returned to work, so the hormones never settled down. In Norway we get a full year’s parental leave, which certainly makes it easier to give in to the mothering needs for longer, too. I still remember the shock of returning to work after eight months (at which time my husband took over on the home front) and suddenly everyone was talking about social media! It was the same stuff as we’d been DOING eight months earlier, but the term hadn’t existed before my leave. Bizarre.

    Ultimately I think it’s fine to just accept a few years of being less passionate and involved in professional life. I mean, I do sometimes worry that things are moving so fast in our field now that participating less will almost dissolve the many years of expertise I built up before Jessica came along. But we have 30 or more years left of our careers. In the big picture view, a few years that are less intense, professionally speaking, are really not a big concern.

    Also I’m learning so much about mother blogging, domesticity blogging, home design blogging, crafts blogging, baby blogging, social media for knitting (ravelry.com) and for small-scale crafts businesses (dawanda.com, etsy.com, blogs) and so on… Too bad I can’t for the life of me get the enthusiasm going to write an abstract for AoIR or even a blog post about it all (deadline Feb 26) – but at least I’m reading them, right? At some point I may have something useful to say about it 😉

    I also think it’s not just a women’s issue. My husband took leave as well, and certainly received less understanding for that than I had. Now he picks Jessica up from daycare as often as I do, which makes his work days short just as mine are. He’s a little better than I am about making up lost work time in the evenings, but that’s certainly going to be even harder to do with two little ones. Conferences, likewise – we dragged one baby around to conferences a bit, but a baby and a toddler? Sounds like chaos, not much fun for anyone! On the other hand, a toddler can stay a couple of nights with a grandparent.

    And having a 13 year old, I can definitely say it gets easier! And it gets easier well before they turn 13.

  • Jussi February 5, 2010, 09:03

    Congratulations Lilia!

  • Samuel Driessen February 6, 2010, 22:44

    Didn’t know you and Robert were expecting a 2nd child! Congrats and enjoy!

  • Carla V. February 8, 2010, 23:09

    Hey Lilia, that’s great news!!! Congratulations to you and Robert. I hope you’re feeling well, no sickness and so. All the best, for you & Robert

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