I’m so excited to roll out ScienceofMom’s first ever guest post today! I love the idea that this blog can be a platform for the voices of other parents. In today’s sweet post, Dr. Kristine Wise touches on many of the joys and challenges of first-time parenting, and I’m sure you can relate! I met Kristine when we were both students in the doctoral program in Nutrition at UC Davis, and last year we gave birth to our first children about one month apart. She is a scientist, a teacher, a runner, an amazing cook, a steadfast friend (as in the kind who calls you up after 6 months have slipped by since you last talked and says, “ahem, we need to catch up!”), and now a fabulous mother. Her post is focused on the surprising lessons she’s learned as a stay-at-home mom. Any working moms want to weigh in with their experiences?
A Dozen Things Reference Books Won’t Teach You About Raising A Baby
Guest Post by Kristine Wise, PhD
Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a mom. I’ve always loved kids and years of babysitting taught me at least the basics of child care. I knew you had to cradle a baby’s neck, I’d changed diapers, and I still remember how important my blanky was to me for many (probably too many) years. I have a wonderful role model in my own mom who makes mothering look easy and fun, so I thought being a stay-at-home mom would be, if not easy, then at least a natural fit for me. In the short year since ET was born he has taught me more than I ever imagined, and I wouldn’t trade being a stay-at-home mom for anything. However, it’s not always fun, and it’s definitely never easy, and at times I still question my qualifications. Here are a dozen of the unexpected lessons I’ve learned and observations I’ve made. Read more
A few weeks ago, there was a great discussion on Wandering Scientist about how two working parents can fairly balance the work of raising children and keeping a home up and running. This got me thinking about how Husband and I split the work in our household, where we have a clear division of labor right off the bat: Husband works outside of the home, and I stay at home with BabyC. Our division of labor is not equal, but is it fair? Could we do better?
When Husband and I met, we were in medical and graduate school and usually had similar workloads. We shared cooking and cleaning fairly equally then. During our 2+ years of marriage prior to the birth of BabyC, Husband and I both worked long hours, but as an emergency medicine resident, he worked slightly more and in a more emotionally draining job. Much of the housework shifted towards me during this time. I would usually spend one of my days off cleaning, shopping, and cooking, and Husband would spend a day catching up on sleep or occasionally playing golf. This bothered me a bit then, but I assumed that things would re-equilibrate once Husband’s workload lightened after residency. Of course, I should have known that nobody’s workload would lighten once we added a baby to our family. Read more
I thought I should take a moment to update the blogosphere on who I am and what I am doing here. I started this blog last June when I was a pregnant postdoc, working in a lab at a major research university, where I was studying the effects of gestational diabetes on the fetus. After a couple of posts, the blog fell by the wayside for about a year. I got busy with trying to get as much work done as possible before the baby was born and with trying to get enough sleep, which has been a losing battle ever since. Once BabyC arrived, my world of course forever changed. I muddled through the first few months of being a mama, alternating (minute-to-minute) from being overwhelmingly happy to overwhelmingly tired to being generally overwhelmed.
Today was one of those days when I felt a little bit adrift and alone as a stay-at-home mom. Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was the fact that BabyC, although she is super cute 95% of the time, spent the other 5% of the time practicing her high-pitched scream. Maybe it was the food poisoning that had me up puking all Tuesday night and in bed with a fever and achiness all day Wednesday. Today is Thursday, and I should be all better, right? Lucky me that I don’t have to go to work and instead live this idyllic life of the stay-at-home mom, putting around the house and playing with my adorable child.
Things that get in the way of writing when you are a stay-at-home, trying to be a work-from-home, mom
I’ve been trying to work on an honest-to-goodness sciency parenting piece of writing. When (not IF, note the confidence here!) I finish it, I’ll post it on this blog. This particular piece is about iron nutrition for babies transitioning from a milk diet to solid foods. My baby hates cereal, in fact hates eating anything with a spoon, and I’ve been fretting that she isn’t getting enough iron since I can’t feed her that disgusting fortified baby cereal (Preview: I did enough research today to ease my fears a bit, but you’ll have to stay tuned for the fun sciency details.) My goal is to write pieces like this on a free-lance basis for parenting magazines. You can laugh if you want. Or if you have any advice about this dream of mine, please let me know. I’ll write more about my plans soon, but first let me tell about why I’ve made so little progress today. If you are a parent and/or a writer, I’m sure you can relate.
Yesterday one of my grad school papers was finally published. Yes, I finished my PhD almost 3 years ago. Yes, it took submitting to a few journals before this paper was accepted. And no, as you have probably guessed by now, this was not ground-breaking work with exciting results. But still, it felt good to see the neatly formatted PDF with my name first among the list of authors. Even with my love-hate relationship with science, that feeling of seeing your work published has to be among the best feelings. Never mind that I look at the paper and can’t help but see the shortcomings of the study design and execution glare back at me.