Monday, June 16, 2014

Post-PhD Syndrome

I went to see the doctor recently due to some of the following symptoms.  This was my diagnosis.

Symptoms: extreme fatigue, lethargy, & complete lack of motivation to do anything, often coupled with extreme opposite symptoms of mania, hyper-activity, and motivation to do everything.

Possible Cause: The body's reaction to being in fight or flight mode for the years of being in a PhD program pursuing those 3 letters after your name.

Prognosis: development into a more extreme syndrome likely, such as:
     -get-a-job-anxiety syndrome
     -I-don't-want-to-do-anything syndrome
     *Also possible: I-can-do-all-the-things syndrome

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Things Happened

So it has a been a while since I posted, but I assure you that is because lots of things have been happening.  No, I will not talk about the ubiquitous busy-ness that is so pervasive in our daily speech that we now answer busy instead of fine.  I digress.  Here are 5 of the things that have happened since I last posted: 

1. Annika turned 6 and we had an awesome Fox-themed birthday party.  

2. We went camping with friends and Annika got smoochy with their son.  It was adorable, for now. 

3. Annika had her last day of Kindergarten, and I didn't even cry.  

4. I GRADUATED with my PhD!!!!!!  Here I am with my fellow Anthro-grad Dr. Sarah.  Love her! Marvel in our doctoral greatness with those fancy robes for 30 seconds.........that's enough.  

5. We had a graduation party, and Andy made me my very own beer with a name-nod to anthro-theory. 

My MIL even got a cake with a nod to my blogger name on it. 

Here are my adorable babes before the party began...aren't they sweet? 

And here's my awesome MIL who actually catered a Chipotle-esque menu for the party that was DELISH! I can't thank her enough for that party.  I'm seriously lucky y'all! 

So this is some of what I've been up to lately.  
If you go look at my 40x40 list, you'll see I've crossed a few things off now.  These include graduating, learning to sew, switching to natural cleaning products, planting a vegetable garden (on our veranda nonetheless), and going on vacation with just Andy.  Yay!  
I've also started down the path of becoming a doula.  I've attended 1.5 births (to be explained later), and am going to a DONA training in 2 weeks.  

I told you things happened! 
Wheels are in motion.  Time is marching on. Life continues uninterrupted, moving forward regardless of whether I'm ready for it or not.  Bring it! 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Girls' Weekend

Before the weekend even started, Mayzie was all tuckered out and not willing to take a nap.  "I'm not tired mama," turned into passed out on the couch very quickly.

Andy went camping with 2 old friends.  They decided to rough it in Illinois; Garden of the Gods, which is a gorgeous place for hiking in the Shawnee National Forest.  Here he is getting all decked out. 


What's a mama to do with her girls all weekend?  Take them on a road trip of course! 
Here is Annika waiting patiently to leave on Saturday, doing her ball maze.  I'm always just amazed when she'll sit still for more than 5 minutes, and this thing is genius. 


First stop: Robin's baby shower.  Robin and I have known each other for what seems like a million years.  We went to HS together and were roommates in college for a year.  She was actually my roommate the year I met Andy, and immediately liked him.  She also happens to be the most adorable pregnant lady EVER, which makes me only mildly jealous.  


We piled back in the car, only to realize that one of the tires was flat on my SUV.  I got some help changing it, which actually killed me a little bit because I'm a seriously independent woman.  I'm proud to say that at one point 6 men were watching me put the spare on though. 2.5 hours at PepBoys later, we were back on the road.  All I have to say about that visit to PB was THANK GOODNESS for free WiFi & for me remembering to bring my iPad.  

We spent the night at my brother and SIL's house Saturday night, and the girls actually stayed up until midnight...or at least I passed out then and they were still awake.  Cousin time is awesome, but morning comes really early for girls who stay up that late.  C'est la Vie! 

The next morning we drove to Fishers to catch up with my BFF from HS and her brood of 4 kids.  It was a really short visit, but soo awesome to finally see her and her family after more than 5 years of phone calls alone.  Is there anything better than catching up with old friends?  I think not!
Here we are together:

The final leg of our girls' weekend was taking my mother to see this years Listen to Your Mother show in Indianapolis. The show was amazing.  We started crying almost immediately and laughed enough to make my belly sore the next day. 
Here I am after the show with my fellow cast-mates from last year.  

After the show, we drove back to relieve my SIL who had been watching the 4 girls (2 hers, 2 mine) so I could take my mom to the show.  We said our goodbyes and drove back to Evansville just in time for baths and bedtime.  

This past weekend was epic, and I LOVED it.  All the things I got to do would not have been on Andy's list of things he ever would want to do, so it was great that he was off having his kind of fun with the boys.  Waves of appreciation washed over me as I drove home: appreciation for old friends, appreciation for family, appreciation for the ability to travel, appreciation for fast food, appreciation for girls who seriously behaved themselves VERY well, and appreciation for having such a great life.  
This is one weekend I won't soon forget! 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Let the job search commence...again.

I went through the academic ringer known as the job search this past fall.  It was torture, but apparently I'm going back for more.  Yes, that's right, I'm going back on the academic job market in the Fall.  Why wait until Fall?  Well, that's when all the jobs get posted.  Despite the fact that I will apply for umpteen different jobs in academia, I won't even know if I get an interview until late November at the earliest.  If I pass that round, then I might be invited for a campus visit where I'll give a lecture to the entire department and meet with all the professors individually (maybe schmooze a little bit too).  If they like me, then MAYBE I'll get a job offer by the end of March or April.  That's right, I'll apply in September and know if I got a job by the end of March if I make it through the whole process.  This is a daunting process, and severely anxiety producing.

On the other hand, I've already started applying for jobs outside of the academy.  So far, like I mentioned previously, we plan to stay here for another year.  I've been keeping the applications local.  I'll keep substitute teaching and doula-ing in the meantime, which I don't mind at all.  We're not totally strapped for cash, but we also haven't had to start paying back my student loans yet either. OUCH, that is gonna sting.

The point is: PLEASE for the love of dog PLEASE stop asking me what I'm doing next.  I quite honestly have NO CLUE at this point, and just the question causes me a great deal of worrisome anxiety.  I'm trying, really trying, to just go with the flow.  I'm working on a couple manuscripts for journal publication.  I've turned in a grant application for a research project I could conduct locally.  I'm even turning in yet another postdoc application next week---sooo close to done.  No matter what you are imagining that I'm doing with my time, you are probably wrong.  I'm still working for Eli Rose too, which I'm enjoying immensely doing from home.

So that's the dish on my job search.  We'll see how it goes.  I know that I can dazzle in an interview, I just have to get called back in the first place dammit!

On a completely unrelated note: I was the Queen of the recent Evansville Mom Prom!  Yes!!! Mom Prom was put on by the local ICAN chapter, and was such a blast!


My girls have been fighting over the tiara ever since it came home.  
What did I win you ask?  A free makeover from a professional make-up artist and a free mother's day photo shoot!  Yeah!!!  
I also won some great stuff from the silent auction!  All around, everyone agreed that I did all the things and was the luckiest winner of Mom Prom EVER!  Gotta love it. 

What one question is nagging you at the moment? 
What's your favorite thing you ever won? 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

I've been doing things...I swear

I threatened it before, and now it is official: I'm becoming a doula!!
I even have a webpage: http://hillarysdoulaservices.weebly.com/
If you live in the Evansville, IN area, and are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, I would LOVE to talk to you.

We also formed the Doula Group of Evansville: http://doulagroupofevansville.blogspot.com/
We basically back each other up all the time and offer different sorts of services other than just birth attendance, such as help with baby-wearing, breastfeeding, placenta encapsulation, and more.  Yes, some of this is super crunchy and not everyone's thing, but we all sincerely believe that everyone who wants a doula should have a doula.  And when our doula powers combine, we become Captain Doula, or something like that.

I became one of the leaders for the Evansville Birth Network, which is this great group that meets once a month to talk about birth and babies and all that fun stuff.  I'm really excited to join the leadership of this group, and hope to expand our reach to more expecting moms in the Tri-State area.  I'm also excited to be able to do a little bit of volunteer work again, something that I've missed doing very much since my girls were born.  (Whoa, it really has been that long!)

My dissertation revisions are...almost done.  Like, so close to done I can taste it.  I WILL be finished with them by Tuesday evening, thus giving my advisor a week to hack it up again and me another week to finalize it.  Fun stuff.  But seriously, you can call me Dr. Melch now officially.  I believe once you pass your oral dissertation defense that becomes official, though don't quote me on that.

I've been substitute teaching.  So far I've only done it a couple times for some German classes, but it is admittedly more fun than I had anticipated.  If you know me, you know that I love interacting with adolescents.  (I know, weird right?)  The best part of each class is standing up front and introducing myself in German while their faces form into the "HOLY CRAP SHE SPEAKS GERMAN" look.  I LOVE it.  Don't get me wrong, I don't love it enough to want to become a high school teacher or anything, though the thought has crossed my mind and Andy's lips several times.  I'm just doing this for a little money right now while I'm looking for my grown-up job.

The job search is slowly grinding to a real start.  I'm planning to go back on the academic job market in the fall, which is both exciting and scary.  Exciting because, I could land a much coveted tenure track position, and scary because the whole process takes almost a year and we'll be in limbo that entire time.  I'm also applying for jobs outside of academia, which to me is even more scary right now.  I have an interview this week for a job here in Eville, so we'll see if my skills might actually be employable outside the ivory tower.  If not, I'm happy to cobble together a measly existence until the right job comes around.  By measly, I mean teaching adjunct at a couple local colleges, substitute teaching K-12, and following my passion for doula-ing.

We've committed to living here for another year, but we're moving to a new apartment in a new school district in August.  Annika's had a great kindergarten year, but we're going to move to the school district where we'll buy a house if this ends up being our permanent location.

So that's what I've been up to lately, besides the usual play dates and bon bon eating that goes along with being a mom.

What have you been up to my bloggy friends?





Thursday, March 13, 2014

I PASSED!!!!!

Great news from the world of academia: I passed the oral defense of my dissertation!
Yes, I will have to make some revisions to this draft of the dissertation, but overall the comments were supportive and helpful to my development as a scholar.  I'm over the moon happy that this whole process is almost over.  I get to walk in graduation on May 18th, and then walk a few short blocks over to a street fair where several musician friends will be performing.  What better celebration could there be???

So that is the good news.

The bad news: I only get 2 tickets to the actual graduation ceremony.  I guess Andy and my Mom will be the only ones in actual attendance, which will just have to work.  This also means that we get to find a babysitter for the time during the actual ceremony.  Luckily, we know a few friendly faces who might want to chase our girls while I'm getting hooded.

So that's what's going on with me.
I'll be spending the next month or so making the revisions to my dissertation and trying not to sweat it.

A very serious question:
Will I now be Dr. Mama Melch or Mama Dr. Melch?
Typically in academia the most prestigious title comes first.  In this case, I'm not sure which is more prestigious.  Tell me what you think!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Top 10 things I Miss

In no particular order

1. I miss being able to walk out the door worrying just about me.

2. I miss being able to go out on a Saturday night without procuring childcare.

3. I miss wearing pants without pockets and high heels just because I want to.

4. I miss 1 cup of coffee being enough in the morning.

5. I miss leisurely mornings that didn't involve getting other people dressed.

6. I miss being able to cuddle with my husband in the morning without someone climbing on us.

7. I miss making really spicy food for dinner.

8. I miss being able to watch adult shows in the middle of the day.

9. I miss jetting off somewhere for the weekend by myself and/or with Andy.

10. I miss being able to fix my hair and put on make-up without having to answer 50 questions at the same time.

But I would miss so much more if I'd never become a mother!  I regret nothing!!!

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