Back in the day, when parenthood was still an abstract concept, I looked forward to the arrival of Hypothetical Future Child as a time where I could take a nice little hiatus from my professional life. I thought that of course it would be no big deal to put my research and teaching and everything else on hold for a few months and concentrate on Hypothetical Future Child.
Well, now Hypothetical Future Child is not hypothetical anymore, and ironically, it seems that now is the time that my career has decided to really take off.
Within the next couple of months, I will be presenting my work at two significant conferences. Turnaround times on papers are getting shorter and shorter, which means that either I'm a much better writer now or that my ideas are really at the mature stage and that the field is really interested in them. (Probably a bit of both.) I've received a lot of good professional news just in the weeks since Baby Jane arrived. And I'm at the stage where I could get a journal paper out, an entirely new one, by the end of the summer, based on these conference papers and talks. Things are coming together rapidly and opportunities abound: a perfect storm of career productivity.
So much for that break from my career, huh?
So now I find myself with an interesting dilemma. Part of me wants to capitalize on this career momentum while I can, because who knows how long it will last? And it won't be long before I go up for tenure, so sustaining this momentum is very important. But how much can I conceivably get done with a very young infant? And how true do I want to be to my original plan to take some time off and *enjoy* this time as a mother and not as a professor? Where should the balance be?
At least I now have something new and concrete to think about during all those middle-of-the-night feedings. It should be an interesting couple of weeks while I try to figure this all out.