Monday, April 19, 2010

The Balancing Act Begins

One month ago today, I peed on a stick and watched the faintest pink line appear. This wasn't a "surprise" pregnancy, but I still felt surprised as I stood there staring at it. As someone who studies rhetoric and communication, it was fascinating to think about how much that one little line signified: a new life; a new role to play for me and my husband; diapers, bottles, and car seats to buy; a room to paint; maternity clothes; people to tell; books to read; excitement; nervousness.

One thing I did not think it signified, however, was the forced decision between baby and career. I have been in school for the last 20 (yes, 20) years. That is 80% of my life. I have a BA, an MA, and a few credits toward a PhD. I love writing, reading, and researching, but I also love teaching and working with students. That's why, a little over a year ago, I dropped down to part-time student status and applied for a full-time job with a University. Now I coordinate a program that lets me share my love for research and scholarship with like-minded students and help them reach their goals. I love my job. I'm going to repeat that because it seems to be difficult for some people to grasp. I love my job.

As soon as I told a few people that I was pregnant, I started getting questions about when I would quit my job. When I told people that I wasn't going to, they were shocked. My husband is about to graduate from law school, and they think that his income should be enough to sustain us.

It probably would be, but I'm not so concerned with whose bank account the bills come out of as I am the fact that I would be miserable if I couldn't work. It never occurred to me that I couldn't be a mother and a professional, and it hasn't occurred to me yet. I am going to continue working because I love it, and I know that I will be a strong role model for this child that I already love so much.

In the meantime, I am going to attempt to quiet the voices of those around me by keeping track of how this balance works out.

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