Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I'm not quitter! And bad puns in bold.

What is it now, a week? A week since my last chance to come clean about my latest professional weakness. How appropos.

I am currently staring down the sort of soft-core feminist flakiness to curl the hairdo of that dame of matriarchal splendor, Linda Hirshman, or irritate Leslie Morgan Steiner... I should be turning down work. But I am not.

I did this in my last pregnancy. Imagine the three-month pregnant me completely breaking down at a blessed picnic canalside on a beautiful day at Versailles. Burying the last major vacation we had planned for YEARS in the tears of realization of my inability to sustain the achievement my middle-class upbringing had pounded into me. At that juncture I was pretty settled into my current job as well as a couple months off the conculsion of a new experience for me, university instructor, that had been a delight and success. As events turned I was offered a position of writer for a new online course when I first found out I was pregnant and I took it. STOOOOOOPID.

I suddenly careened into a spiral of substandard performance that I am pretty sure was more stressful than any aspect of my pregnancy. The perfectionist inside of me was dying a slow and painful death. I could not handle it. I was so upset about doing a horrible job.

Am I about to repeat this mistake in the name of supermom-dom, or whatever it is? What makes it stupidest is that I know whereof, etc etc. I am truly -- as the saying goes "I am teat-ering [sic] on the precipice.."

Last week I met with my university masters to "continue" my career development over there. Yep, that's me breezy and confident, reliable and up for the challenge. Yep that's me -- at least in part -- pretty full of it. This time I'll run an online course following a rewrite of the contents over a 12 month contract, starting when our next child is about 4 weeks old. This is not the one that scares me.

What is frightening is that it is also planned that I teach an in-person course when the nuthatch is 3 mos. What am I thinking???? One of my former students was the first to ask, "Mo-Wo, uhm, wha'dar ya... stupid?" and "Why don't you do in January instead?" She is right, so right. Other teachers in the department have backed me up on making the change and that, in fact, it is neither here nor there to the program. Still I say nothing. I don't want to do the work then, I know I will not do a good job but still I keep mum.

With every passing day I am making it worse that I don't quit/ask for the reschedule. What are the mental barriers?
1. I would rather work? (HA!)
2. I haven't come up with the tidy excuse to make it all sound ok when I say it?
3. I procrastinate over whether the request is better made in-person, by phone or in an email (email would be so gutless, right?)
4. I will not quit because I wanna be tough enough?
5. I am in deep in some pollyanna world where I believe I'll still draw satisfaction from my designs on childrearing while I run my career at the same level I was running it pre-rug-rats?
6. I think we need the money?
7. I am too busy to deal with this?

I am pretty sure all of the above are true and pointless. I slowly feel the courage coming on to write that email, signed off with 'I will follow this up with you by telephone later today' ... next chance I get. Thank god for blogging to institute effective gutlessness adjustments. Doesn't mean I'll ever give up my propensity to hide behind my email address though, eh.

Please note this post is assigned to category : Cadillac problem #9.

6 Comments:

Blogger Granny said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes. Not belated - it's 11:05 p.m. here.

Good luck with your decsion making - I was lurking earlier but kept my mouth shut that time.

11:08 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Chicky said...

It hurts to admit to ourselves that we're human. It really does. Listen to all those smarties you've obviously surrounded yourself with... Push the course off by a few months! Relax - you're still SuperWoman.

4:50 PM  
Blogger L. said...

I have no idea what to say, because only you yourself know what you want and when you want it and on what terms.

So all I can say is, good luck sorting it all out.

Oh, that sounds so LAME -- sorry!

10:03 PM  
Blogger Granny said...

I'm used to sounding lame. That's why I was lurking first time around.

10:50 PM  
Blogger Mary P. said...

I was teaching again when my third was four weeks old. It's not quite how I'd planned it, but it worked. It was only one three-hour class a week, out of my home, from a curriculum I'd developed myself and been using for years. I could have done it in my sleep - and likely did, some weeks!!

Would I do it again? Ummm... probably not!

7:40 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Oh, dude, are we living the same life? I'm guessing that you might have seen my current version of this angst (http://badladies.blogspot.com/2006/04/bland-ambition-part-i.html); but what you describe is exactly the dilemma that I was caught in last year. I was newly pregnant (first time) and sitting with my university masters deliberating on what I would teach in the upcoming year, thinking all the while that it maybe wasn't such a good idea to begin an upper-division undergrad lecture course 4 weeks post-partum but unable to speak it or act on it. Flash-forward 7/8 months and I'm 2 weeks in with WonderBaby and about 2 weeks from the beginning of the course and I. Snap. Found myself in the terrible position of telling my department that I just couldn't do it. Luckily, we found a sub for the first few weeks and I took over after a month. Happy ending? Not entirely. Cue the 'am-I-running-half-assed-here' issues. Which I am still struggling with, along with the how-much-do-I-teach-next-year issues (complicated further by second child desires) and do-i-let-the-masters-find-me-tenured-job issues. gah gah gah gah.

Anyway, I've been hashing the latter problem chez Bad Mother, as you may have seen, and the second instalment will be continuing in the same vein.

I haven't really offered any advice - just blathered on about myself, actually (sorry). The problem is that I tell myself (and so would tell you) that I would do it differently, plan more prudently, follow my gut more honestly and acknowledge my limitation the second time 'round BUT I may not actually do that myself.

Self-reflectivity doesn't necessarily put you ahead, does it?

I'm going to be anxious to hear what you decide to do, and how this unfolds for you.

8:52 AM  

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