Thursday, June 10, 2010

Don't tell my wife I said this

Not long after the twins were born, we put their names in the "waiting pool" for the wonderful and exclusive daycare center at the university where I used to teach.  You know--just in case I was offered a great job, or I couldn't handle the stay-at-home dad gig, or we found that we couldn't get by on one income.

About a month ago, I got an email letting me know that the daycare center had room for the girls starting immediately.  I felt a little panicky.  Do we have to send them away now just because we got in?  And if they go away, does that mean I have to get a--what d'ya call it?--job?  We decided that there was no reason to rush into anything, and got the girls' names moved back to the bottom of the pool.  (Or wherever you go when you just got into the pool and have to wait your turn to get out.  The metaphor doesn't hold up well when extended.)

And now I have an offer for a job teaching two English classes at a local art college--an Intro Lit class, and an upper-division class about whatever I want ("Rhetoric of Sex and Gender in Multiple Media," anyone?).  It's at night so we wouldn't even have to worry about childcare.

I could definitely handle one class, but two would be pushing it.  That starts to turn into a lot of paper-grading.  And if I taught them both, I would miss the kids' bedtime two nights a week.  I'm having a similar reaction to the one I had over the news about getting into daycare.  Do I have to take this job just because it's bad form to turn down work in such a crappy job market?   

The problem is that I love staying at home with the kids.  After eight months, I'm not feeling stir-crazy at all.  In fact, I think one reason I should take this teaching gig is to prevent myself from turning into a total hermit.  Not that I would mind being a hermit, but it would be embarrassing for my wife and kids.

So my wife and I have been discussing the job offer, and she's trying to talk me out of teaching both classes (I don't think it's an all-or-nothing proposition, so I can probably opt to teach just one).  Or at least she's leaning in that direction.  She doesn't have to twist my arm much to convince me that tucking in the babies is more important than lulling art students to sleep.

But here's the funny and sweet--and maybe a little pathetic--element of her argument against my taking on too much work: she worries that my blog would suffer.  I usually resent it a little bit when people call me "lucky" (or "bright," or a "handyman,"--but those are kvetches to be explored later, maybe), but I have a hard time explaining how else I ended up with such a cool wife.  



There are some things that only a dad can teach a child properly.  In an empty bathtub.



The high-five







Finger-wagging



Noogies (we're still working on that)


 

22 comments:

  1. Those pictures are absolutely adorable! I stayed at home for 10 years and it was the best decision I ever made.

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  2. I teach too. So to use your pool metaphor (and I'll raise you one cliche), I say "get your feet wet" again and teach one class. Chances are you will appreciate your girls even more. Either way, I enjoy your blog.

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  3. I can relate. I often avoid the classifieds to avoid any great job waiting for me. Don't sweat it.

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  4. Change is hard. And scary. But if one class works out, you've got the best of both worlds...keeping a leg in the game and not missing bedtimes. I work and have kids...my blog isn't updated as nicely as yours is, but it's there! Good luck!

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  5. Can I offer my two cents?
    After spending so much time in full-time caregiver mode, the idea of change can definitely be hard. (I remember being really uncomfortable with the idea of being away from the Mini-Pirate on a daily basis when she started pre-school.) But I vote teach the class.

    The great thing about teaching (especially teaching a night class) is that it still does allow you the flexibility to do the stuff that's important -- like be with your kids. Not many jobs provide that.

    Plus, in a purely practical sense, staying in the game is important, especially if teaching is something you want to do later. Even teaching a class or two right now shows consistency on the ol' resume.

    And I'm confident that you'll find time to make sure the blog keeps on keepin' on without disruption.

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  6. Kathy,
    Thanks. I don't have any regrets either!

    dbs,
    Yeah...I do feel like I need to keep my feet wet and my Speedo cinched up.

    Suzanne,
    At least it's not like there are a lot of tempting opportunities out there. For the most part these decisions make themselves.

    Musebox,
    The best of both worlds is all I want!

    DiPi,
    Your double dubloons are always welcome here. I agree with everything you said, and I fully intend to teach at least one class. I love teaching and never want to stop doing it in some capacity. I have cleverly positioned myself (or lucked out) professionally so that I can do a little of both of my outside-the-home careers (building, teaching) AND be stay-at-home dad.

    In a way, I think my resume will be perfect for the amount of teaching I want to do. Department chairs looking for day laborers...um adjunct profs...will probably be happy to hire people who are okay with teaching a class or two per semester. I'm not looking for anything tenure-track. Unless you guys are hiring. Hahahahahahaha...that's rich.

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  7. Blurg. I just typed a long comment with many, many poignant insights but I wasn't logged in so it's gone forever. But it was awesome. And it gave me inspiration for a blog post. Maybe tomorrow when I don't hate the interweb so much :)

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  8. Gina,
    Sorry. I did that at least once today. And yesterday I botched signing up for access to my HMO website so they now have to snail mail (!) me a password. I'll look for your post. I'm sure it will be far superior than your comment.

    Why do the comment boxes have to be such bastards?

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  9. If I may quote your wisdom back to you, sir:
    "Other jobs will (probably) come along. Who knows what the academic job market will look like in a couple years. Of course, I’m not as into jobs as a lot of people. I’ve had a lot of them, including adjuncting, and none of them have been worth disrupting the family for." Beta Dad, May 30, 2010

    I think teaching one class is a fine idea. Getting out of the house a bit isn't a terrible thing, the work load won't suck, and your wife will get a solo night with the kids (which my working half tells me he enjoys?). But if you have to talk yourself into teaching two, don't do it.

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  10. Yep. I'd say your wife is pretty cool. :)

    I could never be a stay at home parent. I admire those that can because after I stay home for a week with the kid on a vacation or something, I'm ready to pull my hair out and run screaming into the woods and live like a hermit until the voices stop telling me to do things.

    Ahem.

    I think taking one of the teaching jobs would be a good idea. Like others said, keeping yourself in the game.

    Adorable photos. They're so smart. When my daughter was that age we mastered the high five. The peace sign was a bit harder.

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  11. Babies are only babies once. Art has been around forever. I loved every minute I got to stay home with my babies. I loved every minute of my career - luckily I was able to enjoy both - at the optimum times.

    And you are right - only dads can teach proper head noogies.

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  12. Yeah, Bottom of the Pool = BAD metaphor. I love this post. And they are CUTE! And I don't even like kids. SO that tells you that they are REALLY cute!

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  13. What's wrong with being lucky? Even if it's mostly due to hard work and planning, there's still such a thing as luck. People have lost their faith in the universe and it's damn sad. I will console myself by eating mounds of stale marshmallows.

    -Lucky Charms Leprechaun

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  14. That's awesome! Congrats! If you get a choice, definitely take the upper level... if only so you can pour one out for a homie/fellow "day laborer" who is not allowed to move past the 100-level at my institutions because I'm taking away the good jobs from the "real" professors.

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  15. If you teach the rhetoric class you mentioned, I'll fly down to attend.

    Being a hermit definitely has its benefits. Or am I simply a misanthrope?

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  16. Mmme. P,
    Those are wise words indeed! The stakes are not nearly as high in my minor dilemma as they were in yours. For one thing, the job is 10 minutes away from home.

    I won't let myself talk my...uh...other self into doing anything stupid!


    Good Cook,
    That's what I tell myself all the time. I can't imagine missing out on what the kids are doing right now.


    Jules,
    My kids are extraordinarily cute, it's true. Sometimes their presence has been known to cause mass ovulation.


    Leprechaun,
    Remember that time I almost caught you but you made a flying saucer and soared away? Next time you won't be so "Lucky."


    L-sq,
    If I get the upper division one, I'll be bugging you a lot to get ideas on class design, readings, etc.

    Maybe my advanced age makes people forget that I'm not a "real" prof. Like the time I taught the grad level pedagogy class. Good times! (Actually much easier to teach than a college comp class.)

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  17. Sorry, but those pictures almost made my ovaries explode! Too adorable.

    But yes, dilemma indeed. If you're looking for votes, I'd say teach one class. Put the girls in the daycare. In the end, you can always quit and pull the girls out of daycare if you decide that you're missing too much of their young lives.
    I think that's what I'd do.

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  18. I can totally relate to your situation!
    Staying at home is very difficult and mentally demanding. It is not just watching soap operas all day!
    i love the pics!
    Keep up the good work!

    Ken
    www.memoirsofastayathomedad.com

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  19. Next trick? DAVID LEE ROTH KICKS. I'm going to need to see video of that one.

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  20. Ken,
    Yeah. I have to stay up half the night catching up with my soaps!

    Elly Lou,
    The Diamond Dave Hi-Kick? That's an advanced move. I'll have to practice doing it myself for a couple weeks before I try to teach them.

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  21. I'm lovin' the noogie practice. Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

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  22. Aw, cute cute kids! Love the pictures!

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