I started teaching this week, and it has been a switch. mtg told me about her friend who thought the one class she taught after maternity leave was her best ever, because she was so grateful to be out of the house and speaking to adults. I can see that, but so far I have not been grateful to be out of the house, and the adult conversation has left a little to be desired (it is intro to lit, after all, and there isn't a lot of conversation at first while the students learn the vocabulary necessary to talk productively about poetry). And making the arrangements to be able to go to class at all has already been a hassle, making me even more anxious about the summer when I am working every day.
Speaking of, I have been pursuing multiple options for summer care. So far, I have visited a few early childhood care programs on the island and advertised in the childcare section of craigslist. Results have been generally positive in both searches. In addition, I am going to investigate the possibility of hiring someone from church, who has the advantage of being someone I already know. The whole prospect of giving responsibility for Jacob over to someone else, even for a few hours a day for a finite two months, fills me all sorts of dread. But there was no other option if I wanted to keep my job and stay covered by insurance, which I absolutely had to do, for both of our sakes.
But that leads me to the whole question of working and mothering, a vexed one. I went into teaching originally, long long ago, because it would give me the flexibility I would need to take care of future children (why I thought I would have future children at that point, no one really knows). You get summers off, more or less, adaptable work hours, lots of work you can do at home, possibilities for travel, etc. College teaching has proven to be even more flexible, even as low on the totem pole as I am. And yet, for all that flexibility, now, when I am faced actually (as opposed to theoretically) with the decision about whether or not to work and mother simultaneously, it appears that no amount of time off/free time will let me feel good about working more than just a little bit right now. Plus, honestly, how do women (cause that's who we're mostly talking about, of course, sadly but truly) do this? I can barely imagine how I am going to keep up with grading for just one class.
I do want, of course, to keep my hat in the ring, so I will be adjuncting for at least one class for the next few semesters. Teaching is a skill that will deteriorate if I get out of practice, and I don't want to let that happen.