Friday, May 02, 2014

That nagging feeling

So, I've apparently decided to work out all of my post-ish-dissertation feelings here. And I have a lot of feelings about this (of course). I've realised that a lot of my Stepping Away From Dissertation Angst comes from my tendency to take everything in my life and extrapolate it to its logical(-ish) conclusions, and worry about What It All Means. Of course I do that: I've been trained to translate everything into What It Means.

I'm bad this way: today, I took Li'l E to the library, for a parent-and-tot nursery rhyme time. We were the only new ones there, and we both struggled to adjust. E was getting tired by the time we got there (shifts in her nap schedule are the death of me), and she is used to doing her own thing at the library, exploring all the kids' books and toys. When we went into the Story Room, she wanted to check everything out, and when activities started, she was more interested in the book bags hanging on the wall, the stacks of chairs, and everyone else's strollers. My attempts to corral her and involve her in the activities caused her to scream, and it all fell apart from there. E was the Toddler Group Screamer, and I was the Toddler Group Frazzled and Apologetic Mom.

So, I know that I have to give it another week, and be a little more strategic next time (we'll practice the rhymes, so that she knows what's happening; we won't go early and explore the books first, because then she'll be more likely to want to sit on my lap and sing songs; I'll make her take a little nap beforehand). However, it's hard for me not to turn this into a big thing that Means Things. She hates this, and we should just walk away! She needs to learn structure, and all the other kids her age can handle participating! I should have started this when she was younger! What if I'm a really bad mother? Was I too hard on her? Was I too lenient? On and on.

I've been doing this regarding my academic future. I feel such guilt when I hear opinions about How Much We Need Women In History. Women are having children and walking away from academia! Mommy-tracking! The need to contribute! (Of course, I feel such vindication when I read stuff about How Academia Is Biased Against Women, Particularly Those Who Have Children.) The idea of being yet another statistic, yet another number in an attrition rate bothers me sometimes (as if, if/when I finish I wouldn't be yet another PhD who doesn't get a T-T job).

Did I just compare my toddler to my dissertation? I guess that wouldn't be the first time.

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