Today, I went to work. Three hours later, I came home. Thank you, Motherhood, Incorporated.
In the beginning, I taught two classes each week. I had to keep additional office hours, more time studying, and more time taking classes. I worked all day Fridays in an office and I taught two more classes to private students on Saturdays. I worked all the time.
After six months of this, my husband and I were blessed with the beginnings of the coolest person in the world. Nine months later, this very cool person smiled for the first time, on the first day of her life. To say it was magical would be an understatement.
I was given six weeks to spend with my beautiful baby daughter before I had a choice: go back to work or be unemployed for nine months. You see, universities don’t have standard maternity leave. Truthfully, they can’t. Instead, professors are most often given the option of sabbatical for one semester. Lowly teaching fellows such as myself are given a semester off. This is not the fault of the university; there really isn’t another option. Six hours devoted to crying and clutching my baby under the pretense of explorating daycare centers later, the coolest person in the world had her first day of school and I went off to work. It was unbearable.
Now, however, I have new options. Although I am new to Motherhood, Incorporated, I have already cut back my schedule. Now, I teach one class. I don’t work in an office, and I don’t teach private students. Instead, I spend time with my daughter. When she naps, I find the time to write. If she doesn’t nap enough, I work for a while when my husband is home. If I need famly time with him, I know my daughter will sleep more the next day and I will make up for the missing writing then.
While I am still working out the logistics of my schedule and the work involved, the rewards have already come. A few weeks ago, my daughter said her first word. Last week, my daughter pulled herself into a standing position for the first time. Soon she will be walking, and I am a witness to all of this because I’m home. I am home because of Motherhood, Incorporated, and so I want to say thank you. It won’t be long before my daughter will say “Thank you” as well.