Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Working Mother vs. Stay at Home Mom

I am a full-time mother and PhD student. I wake up, get myself and Buddy ready in the morning, then head for the bus for a full day in the lab and on the computer while The Hubs takes Buddy to daycare. I get home to have dinner with Buddy and The Hubs, a little bit of playtime and then it's time to get Buddy ready for bed. That's less than 2 hours of awake time with my little man every week day. It makes me really sad and question whether or not working like this is for me. As I get closer to (hopefully) finishing my degree, I enjoy it less and become more frustrated with equipment and equations that don't work.

I dream of opening my own kosher bakery or decorating cakes from home (you can see my sad array of desserts I find time to make here), starting a non-profit to help pregnant teenage girls in the inner-city, writing children's books and cookbooks. Those I could do part-time. I could be a stay at home mom and be with my son all day every day, exploring the world together. But doing any of those things I think I would crave my life of learning more about the inner workings of the world and environment. I would miss running experiments, sorting through the data and coming up with conclusions about how to fix our CO2 problem, how to clean up our water and environment.

I want to finish my degree so I don't give the impression to Buddy and any more children we have that it's ok to quit when life gets hard. Getting a PhD is hard. Sometimes I want to scream and throw my equipment out the window. But then I have moments of clarity when I can fit a neat curve to my data and the meaning becomes clear. I just wish that happened a little more often.

Plus, it's nice to be able to go to the bathroom a few times a day without an audience.

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