Academic common room
Motherhood vs Academics
dreamingdream · 11/04/2020 13:34
I chose motherhood, my academics suffered greatly . I thought I was going to 'do it all' but it's true, you can't do it all. Did you choose academics or motherhood?
MissMatchedClaws · 11/04/2020 13:52
Motherhood. I also thought I could do it all, but the time, mental focus and more time that research takes was impossible to find.
historyrocks · 11/04/2020 13:53
I'm with you. Before having DD1, I knew my work would take a hit for a while, but overall I thought it would progress OK in the longer term. In my head, I thought the disruption would only last a year or two. DD1 was a terrible sleeper. I had 3 years of mind-breaking sleep deprivation, which had a huge impact upon my productivity. I never saw that one coming.
Then, just as she was sleeping better, I had DD2. I reasoned that I would be unlucky to get a poor sleeper twice in a row. I was right--she slept so much better. What I didn't see coming was PND and admission to a mother and baby unit. Over the course of a year, this morphed into bipolar. That was ten years ago. Career-wise, I'm on my knees and just hanging onto my job.
Sorry to waffle on . The short answer is--I chose children, thought I could do it all, and realised it was even harder than I could have ever imagined.
I suppose the question is whether you regret making that choice? It makes me very sad that I will never make it to professor and I wish it could have been different;, in the early days I questioned whether I had made the right decision. But I've moved on from that and I would make the same decisions today as I did back then. Although it doesn't stop me mourning the loss of something that was very important to me.
geekaMaxima · 11/04/2020 17:27
I don't think it's necessarily an either/or, sorry.
For some circumstances, it certainly is. I was promoted to prof while my kids were still small - though kids definitely slowed down progression and it's been a bloody hard slog regardless - but I couldn't have done it if I'd been hit with PND with either pregnancy, or if one of my kids had a disability that needed extra care, or anything else like that.
There was another thread recently about being a mother and an academic. The general impression was that everyone finds it hard and that some (for various reasons, often outside their control) find it impossible.
SueEllenMishke · 11/04/2020 19:41
I'm doing both. However, it's only possible because I have a partner who also works in HE so 'gets it' even though he's not an academic plus we share childcare, chores etc.
It's tough at times though.
dreamingdream · 12/04/2020 00:31
Thanks everyone for your replies. I feel less alone with this motherhood vs academics dilemma. When I realised I had to leave my academics behind, I did feel really emotional but I'm so thankful to be in the motherhood journey.
Nearlyalmost50 · 12/04/2020 10:43
It's not an option for everyone, but one option is to be kind of ok at both, but not excelling at either! I am a SL who started their career a bit late and then had kids along the way. I'm not as advanced in my career as some who are professors, but I'm doing fine, and given this is a long long game, I think it's ok to do well later, but also to treat academia like a job rather than a vocation. There will always be people who work longer, harder and more intensively than you, but I've made my peace I'm not them! I'm glad I hung onto my job, perhaps not doing it amazingly, during the small kid years and now they are teenagers it is actually fine being an academic and a mother and I know many of my friends find it fine too. The hardest is the early years especially as so many academic couples prioritise the husband/man's career at this stage, but if you can get through that, I think doing both is doable, for some people at least.
dreamingdream · 12/04/2020 23:26
@geekaMaxima thanks for letting me know about the other thread, I feel less alone in this emotional dilemma.
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