The Best Time in an Academic Career to Have Children

Yeah, there's no right time. Anyway, I was impressed by Sara's post a short while back -- she has done it both ways: one child during graduate school and one while on the tenure track. She says graduate school is a better time, which seems to be the consensus when I've read threads on the topic on places like the Chronicle forums, Mama PhD, etc.

I only know it one way: I've had both of mine on the tenure track. It has its stresses, but sometimes while doing child care I'll look at Jonathan and say, "Wouldn't it have sucked to do this in grad school?" He agrees. I've never been able to put my finger on why, exactly. After all, you aren't expected to spend much time on campus while in graduate school. But for me, after graduate school, there was this feeling of out-from-under that has, I believe, made me a happier and better parent than I would have been before. This post about a mock interview experience, written by a person I'm looking forward to getting to know better (on-blog, that is), captures the "under" feeling very well. I'm sure that a lot of people experience "under" while on the tenure track too, which is a probationary period, after all, but having kids during these years was best for us.