First World Problems: Academic edition
June 4, 2013 8:17 AM Subscribe
Academic sabbatical +/- having a baby: how does that work? What is the most "logical" time frame for either of these to occur? Is this a bad idea altogether?
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
While the idea of parenthood still kinda freaks us out, he's almost 31 and I just turned 29, so unsurprisingly my beloved husband and I are trying to sort out the pros and cons of having kids. He is a tenure-track assistant professor in the sciences at an Ivy League university, and he has a sabbatical year due sometime in the next 3 years, and then another sometime before his final tenure review 7 or so years from now (they cannot be scheduled back to back). We know you can't really schedule kids, but given that he would have to apply for his sabbaticals way in advance, we're trying to figure out the most responsible course of action should we decide to spawn.
Although I'm not working at the moment, we're okay on money, so childcare and dual career-juggling likely wouldn't be an issue, but the sabbaticals would be absolutely crucial for my husband's research and chances for tenure. Husband has also expressed a desire to go someplace else during his sabbatical time, a sentiment that's been echoed by several of his colleagues for productivity reasons. My own interests are geographically flexible, so I'm fine with this, but we just bought a house, so we're not totally clear how uprooting for a year works in this scenario, even if it's just the two of us. Professionally, he has lots of geographic options for a sabbatical. Personally, his aging, but in good health parents are just a couple hours away from us, my family is on the other side of the country, and our closest friends are all scattered to the four winds. We're new to the area, so we don't actually have much of a local support net.
I've always said that if I were going to have kids, I'd rather be done with childbirth by 35, but that doesn't seem like such a big window now that I'm staring down 30, and my husband is justifiably worried about landing tenure with kids and a mortgage on our backs. We both like kids and are open to the idea, but I think we're also okay if they don't end up happening for whatever reason, but waiting until we know if he has tenure to start trying just doesn't seem like a good option.
With that in mind, how do we put this together? Try for kids before, after, or during sabbatical? Does it make sense to start now or hold off until the last possible second? Scrap the idea of kids entirely? We've been talking about all of this a lot lately, and we both read Metafilter, so we could use some outside perspective.