Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My 2 Fulltime Jobs

For a career, I love 2 things. 1) I love being a mom. I would love to be there all the time (well, sometimes I'm tired and don't know how I can keep my patience to deal with another toddler tantrum). I want to be there for every new word, every new skill, every time Buddy scrapes his knee and needs mommy kisses. 2) I love being a scientist. I would love to be a scientist all the time (well, sometimes I feel like throwing my lab equipment out the window and going all Office Space on it). I want to be there for the newest break-through, for when the lightbulb goes off in my students' heads and when my papers get published (my theoretical papers at this point since I have 3 I'm currently working on).

Buddy trying to put on his pants. On his arm.
But how can anyone have 2 full-time jobs and not go insane? Because right now, I feel like I'm going crazy. So how do I balance work and my amazing toddler? I scale back. Willing it will make it happen, right? I'm going to say yes, so here goes. I am going to finish this degree. I am going to pick up Buddy a little earlier every day. I am going to exercise and eat healthy and take some mental time for myself.

Then I am going to get a job. Exactly what that is, I don't know. I'm leaving my options open for now and applying to anything that looks appealing. Academics, industry, motherhood. All of it. I am determined to mesh my scientific curiosity with my mothering instincts. The best way for me to do this is to keep one foot in the working world and one foot in my son's world; both firmly planted. This means I will spend time reading the newest studies, looking up the best way to help Buddy work through his newest struggle (currently Buddy wants to dress himself, but hasn't figured out exactly how to get his arms in the correct arm hole from the inside of his shirt) and researching ways to improve the world through environmental remediation (taken broadly that means carbon sequestration, waste water, cleaning spills, etc.). Basically, I know I can make the world a better place, both in terms of the broader community and our family.

Calculating some results!
This also means I need to find more ways to integrate science into the lives of kids. Of all ages. It's a mission of mine to get kids more interested in science because too few of us grow up asking questions and figuring out the answers. School kind of beats that out of us, for the most part. To give the teachers credit, it's really hard to get 30 kids to work with you while giving them some freewill to experiment. It's messy. It's time consuming. But most of all, it's fun. Yes, I said it. Science is fun. So expect more science experiments with Buddy and hopefully some friends while I sort out the rest of my life!

(And thanks in large part to The Hubs who is always more supportive than he could ever know, who is there for me, cheering me on as I change my goals and ideas of what I want as a career.)

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