Would part-time science help?

mynlieffm at vms.csd.mu.edu mynlieffm at vms.csd.mu.edu
Thu Dec 7 15:24:05 EST 1995

In article <Pine.OSF.3.91.951206113831.5732A-100000 at sable.ox.ac.uk>, Pita Enriquez Harris <enriquez at sable.ox.ac.uk> writes:

Beth, said about working part time:
>> The extra time is certainly
>> making it easier to find the patience to deal with 2-yr old behavior ("Do
>> it MYSELF mommy", tantrums and "more story please" can eat up LOTS of
>> time).

And Pita replied:
>Gosh, yes. I would say that 80% of all rows I have with my three-year old 
>stem from time pressures. Little kids just don't know about hurrying. It 
>seems terribly hard on them to introduce them to the harsh realities of 
>life vis-a-vie ALWAYS being in a mad rush from as young as 3 months old.

Am I crazy to think that having a fulfilling job outside the home makes me more
patient and capable of dealing with my kids (especially when toddlers)?  If I
were with them 24 hours a day I think I'd go nuts.  With the schedule we have
now I relish my time with them and spend most of my non-work time with them
playing, reading etc.  When my first baby was 7 weeks old and crying for an
hour straight I thought "oh, how am I going to do this and work full time?".  I
found that after the day away I could just sit and hold them until they were
soothed.  It is true that young children haven't a concept about hurrying but
our current problem is that my daughter must be at the kindergarten at 8:30 not
that I have to be at work at that time.
	This brings up another point.  This thread has brought up how difficult
it is to be a parent when a scientist as well because of 70 hour work week
expectations.  What about the advantages?  I find that being an academic may be
easier than let's say a business person.  I posted previously that I was
insulted when someone said I must be a 9-5 scientist because I have kids.  I
was insulted because of the way it was said not because there is anything wrong
with it.  Even if you don't have kids (or never choose to) I hope everyone has
some outside interests.  I find that many a week I work only 40 hours.  Other
weeks (when grants are due :( ) I work many more hours (many of those at home). 
But if one of my kids has a doctor's appointment I just go, I can often arrange
to do work at home if one is sick, I have even brought my oldest to a graduate
course and had her sit quietly drawing while I lectured.  Can you do this type
of thing with an office job?  One double scientist couple I know bring their
son to lab and he makes "solutions" with stir bars and plastic beakers at the
age of 4.  I had my first child when I was a postdoc and arranged with my
mentor to work Wed. thru Sun. so that my baby only had to be in daycare 3 days
a week until she was 6 months old.
	Of course the biggest advantage is:  I'm happy and so I am more patient
with them.  I think it is always hard to find time to do everything when you
are a parent and work full time regardless of what you do for a living.  We
just need to get other scientists to judge us on science not whether we are
parents (or intend to become parents or not).

Michelle Mynlieff

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