Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I've reached that point...

where I completely resent the situation I'm in. Let me be very clear about this. I do not resent my husband. What I resent is the fact that I'm underemployed.
Why? Because this fact means that we cannot afford full-time child care. The girls only go 3 days a week (MWF), the days that I have to teach, and I stay home with them on Tuesdays and Thursdays. There are times when this is enjoyable. Today, however, was not one of them. Today, it felt like a reminder that I have failed to get a full-time academic job. It was a reminder that I'm not SAHM material, nor have I ever wanted to be a SAHM. It was a reminder that I will very likely have to make a decision soon about whether or not to leave academia (even though there's absolutely no reason to think it will be any easier to get a job outisde of academia). Ultimately, it was a reminder that I'm in this position *not* by choice, but by circumstance, and nothing grates on me worse than feeling like I've been forced into something.
I understand that there are just some bad days occasionally. Yes, today was one helluva bad day. One simple fucking errand--to exchange two pairs of jeans for the correct size at Kohls with all three kids in tow--turned into me sobbing while driving down the road. Eliza was patient as she tried on three pairs, making sure we got the size that fit, and it all went down hill after that. Amelia climbing out of the child seat on the cart, running around the check-out area, grabbing stuffed animals, flailing on the ground, only then for me to realize I grabbed the WRONG size off the shelf. Customers behind me staring, but nodding understandingly, the cashier realizing how full my hands were, and me having to go back to the children's aisle again. Then, standing in line to try a second time for the exchange, while I hold a screaming, kicking Amelia and everyone around stares at me. Hannah was with me, and she did the best she could to help out, walking away with Amelia and keeping her occupied while I finished up. But, the damage was done.
By the time we left the store and headed home, I'd had enough and I just burst into tears. The girls rarely see me cry, so it was a bit of a shock to them. Amelia was still crying, but even Eliza tried to calm her down. We continued with our plans for the day, but by the time Hubby got home at 2:30, it was all I could do not to pack a suitcase, head out of town, and book a hotel room for a few days.
Because of the new Shakespeare classes, I literally have more work (class prep and grading) to do this semester with less time to do it. This doesn't just affect work load for teaching, but it completely eliminates ANY possibility of doing my own research, another thing I've come to resent.
I applied for several local community college jobs, as well as an administrative job at our school, all with no luck. I've never felt so demoralized, anxious, and uncertain as I do now. The academic job market in my field has completely dried up for the season; there is no more "Spring market." So, now what? I'm guessing running away isn't the answer, but the conference trip I have in a few weeks certainly couldn't come at a better time.
**Note: this was drafted last Tuesday, but I'm just now getting to post it.

7 comments:

p-duck said...

call me. we should chat...

Lisa Dunick said...

I know you wrote this a while ago, but I just wanted to say that I know EXACTLY what you're going through. I'm in my second year of being the trailing spouse. I've applied for more administrative positions than I can even keep track of, all with no luck. It's hard. Ridiculously hard, especially when you feel like you're always broke and you work way too hard for what you're making and it's not the life you worked so hard for.
I don't know that I have any words of advice for you or really anything that makes it better, but I just wanted to say that you're not alone.
There should totally be a trailing spouse blog. :O)

The Lecturer said...

I have no answers, of course, but I do send you a lot of love and moral support. You are an incredibly talented teacher and smart, motivated scholar. Lots of sandy hugs to you.

Lilian said...

I'm super late commenting (because of our trip), but I TOTALLY hear you! It's hard when our husbands have the TT job and all we have is crappy adjuncting. I resent having to drive back from the university every day at 2:55 so I can pick up the boys in school. It's very hard to work from home and I would benefit from a few extra hours in town, but that's how it is... And for you it's even worse because you have one more child and they are younger than mine...

I hope something comes up for you. Oh, and I'll be headed to your neck of the woods in a week. I'll email you the details. I have many friends who live there, so I'll probably be very busy (and I imagine you are too on weekends), but maybe we could try to plan a quick "blogger meet-up" :).

M said...

Sorry I didn't post sooner. I don't know that I can offer much in the way of advice. I just want to say what I've already said--you're not a failure, as a mother or as an academic. You're doing what most of us do--making it one day at a time.

I do want to say (and feel free to ignore me) that it might be time to contact some of the colleges in your area. No, they may not have openings in your specific area, but introducing yourself never hurts. Plus, you have an impressive teaching CV (I know, I've seen it). it is entirely possible you may be able to work your way into a position. I know there are those out there in the blog-o-sphere who would offer different advice, who would chastise me for encouraging you to search for more adjunct work. In another case, I might agree with them. But I know you, and I know how much you love teaching. I also know you're fairly damn hard to so no to. So think about introducing yourself (in person) to the various English departments at colleges in your area. it might work. That's how, at least in part, I ended up with my current gig at CU.

AcadeMama said...

I just now got the chance to see that these comments had to be "moderated" to get published...But, believe it or not, they help a little.

I'm just thankful nobody chastised me for feeling this way, b/c I know there are people who would. People who wouldn't understand that some days, I just want to run away, as far as I can and pretend I'm what I want--what I'd hoped to be--a "real" Engish professor. With my own office, my own meetings, my own students to advise.

Thank you all for reminding me that you're out there.

M said...

Okay, here's the thing, you are a "real" English professor. You are. I can't, however, convince your of that; only you can decide when and where you claim that title. You have clearly earned it. Claim it, accept it, wear it proudly.