This is probably going to be a recurring theme for me.
The last few weeks I’ve been a bit blue about work-life balance. Somehow in my friend circle, there’s basically no mom I know who (i) has a solid career (ii) has a kid(s) (iii) is not crazy stressed all the time. Well, I take that back – I know two. I’m not sure how they do but I have guesses. In one case, she had her mom, her dad, her uncle AND her aunt around to help with kid #1 (and later with the other kids). In another, the mom was almost tenured by the time she had kid #1 so she was able to go on sabbatical during his early childhood and had generally established herself. I think the shock to my system came when I learnt that a friend (who I thought was handling things really well) quit her job. I’m not judging her at all for it — just a bit sad about yet another talented woman who couldn’t put the pieces together.
I get a bit more about why they quit (or never worked) now. Because it’s just so physically exhausting. Lately, I’ve been just so tired and drained. I do love the work that I do but I wonder if it’s worth it. Possibly this is temporary – deadline burnout + getting sick + GD diagnosis. But also, I’m just tired and anxious. Or maybe my tiredness is making me anxious.
You know the main reason I don’t want to quit? Because once I quit, I have no idea how to ever get back onto an on-ramp. And there’s some ego about not giving up but frankly, this is stupid and ego vs health, health wins.
I’m lucky enough that we don’t need my income to live comfortably. (Well, unless I actually go towards a big data job that actually pays six figures instead of NIH postdoc salary.) Actually, frankly, it might be easier with just Hubby working – we could move closer to his work which is a beautiful town with a great school district. And I could have enough time to myself to take care of myself, to take care of baby, to be more centered. Clearly I’m already fantasizing how to pull this off.
But.. I don’t know what I’d do when baby is 5 or 10 and in school and needs me less. That’s what I worry about – what will I do then? How do I keep in touch enough that I can shift gears again? How do I keep up the intellectual life that I love without some version of work or school to center it? How would I keep myself from getting lonely and isolated?
I’m not making any decisions yet – anything I think right now is going to be a bad decision borne of stress and panic attacks. But increasingly, I feel out of control of my life and my body and I really don’t like the feeling at all.