Jennifer (smileypv) wrote in adjunctlife,

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Help! Balancing full-time with young children...

I need some input/advice and I was hoping you, my fellow adjuncts, could help.

I have been an adjunct since fall of 2002. There are a couple of semesters here and there where I did not teach because I had another job or was taking time off (as I did this semester because I had a baby), but I have taught pretty continuously for the last five, all at the same university. I love my job and my schedule, but dislike the lackluster pay and lack of benefits. I have been trying for nearly every single full-time opening in my area since I started teaching a little over five years ago. I have been unsuccessful in getting a full-time job and have stuck to a two-classes-a-semester schedule for the last two and a half years or so. I like that schedule; I feel our pay is not good enough for me to do three classes, which is akin to being full-time in the prep and grading time, so two always seemed to work out. I have been teaching mostly business and technical writing classes for the past two years, but have extensive experience in teaching freshman composition courses and have even taught an American Literature survey.

Last November, I gave birth to my first child. My son is four and a half months old and will be a little over six months old when I return to teach my first post-baby class this summer. My schedule for fall is two freshman composition classes two days a week, which will leave me three days out of the week to be with my son and hopefully get other work done while he is napping. My aunt will probably keep him while I am at work those two days. I have not taught freshman comp in a couple of years so I am excited and apprehensive at the same time.

Yesterday, I found out that my university is hiring a lecturer for a 4/4 freshman comp and developmental English load with a year-long renewable contract. Before I had my son, this would be a job I would instantly jump on, but, since he is still so young (eight months old in August when the term starts), I am wondering if now is the right time to go full-time. Part of me wants to go for it because I think I eventually want to pursue my Ph.D. in rhetoric and composition and a job like this would help me really know if that's what I want to do. The other part of me knows that your child is only a baby for so long and when it's gone, it's gone. I don't want to put him into daycare now; I wanted to wait until he was over a year old so he could go into a preschool/daycare. I am conflicted and I want to know what others' experiences have been with teaching and having children at the same time.

Have any of you had experience with being full-time or nearly full-time and having young children like mine? Should I apply for the job anyway just to make sure they still know that I am interested in being full-time there? I am not sure that I would get the job; there are other adjuncts here plus who knows how many people from outside of this university who would apply for this job. However, the two adjuncts that were in the queue before me have both gotten temporary full-time jobs so I am at the front of the queue now and that might mean that they would look at me more closely than they might have in the past. My husband thinks that not applying for this job is not a big deal since we both share the same desire not to put our son in daycare until he is over a year old. I, on the other hand, feel I should apply for it so that they know that my desires have not changed even though I had a baby. I am tempted not to apply for it because I am not sure that I am ready to jump into full-time right now. What do you guys think?

Thanks in advance!
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