As we end 2017 I start to reflect on what I have accomplished (merit documents are due soon so I better reflect fast) in the past year and start looking forward. This was an unusual year for multiple reasons. 1. Its my first year as an assistant professor (I was a visiting professor the previous year) at my current institution and 2. I had a baby. This creates an instant career conflict.
You see even before my daughter was born I was trying to get too much done with too little time. I was telling my fetus to stay in until I could finish up my UFRI fellowship at the 2017 American Society of Microbiology meeting. Luckily it listened and less than a week later after waddling through a massive conference for 4 days I gave birth to a healthy daughter.
I get it, there are mom professor out there that have you perceive that they can do it all but I am going to be completely honest, I have no doubt I can not do it all. Having a baby is going to slow my progress towards tenure down (and that is OK!) – heck, I lost an entire summer and fall semester of research. with the birth of my first child. Goodbye 6 months of preliminary data for grants!
I had HUGE plans to get two manuscripts completed, some preliminary data on a new project and write up some lesson plans that have been floating around in my brain. Reality – I barely had time to shower, my house is never clean and I average 5-6 hours of sleep a night. I attended a LA DIA fellowship meeting 7 weeks postpartum and could barely handle it (being away from my daughter and pumping).
I also did not take a traditional 12 week maternity leave but that is for another blog on maternity leave in academia.
For now I reflect on all the awesome accomplishments I did make my first year as an assistant professor and first 6 months as a mamma. Spring 2018 will be challenging and I am sure I will learn a lot of what works and what doesn’t as I teach a new prep and over loaded schedule. Let the prep begin!
Best wishes for 2018!