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kids and careers?

SIMMS at vmd.cso.uiuc.edu SIMMS at vmd.cso.uiuc.edu
Thu Aug 26 06:33:15 EST 1993

In article <25gohhINNgig at newsstand.cit.cornell.edu>
Kathie Hodge <kh11 at cornell.edu> writes:
>For a few months now I've been reading this group with interest.  It
>seems like a good place to ask a question that's been bugging me - when
>to have kids?
You're right, there is no good time.  And as the previous poster (Rae Nishi?)
pointed out, you just have to plunge in and do it at some bad time if you
want to do it at all.
     After watching other people I know go on and get into tenure track
positions and then have even _less_ time than when they were grad students,
I decided to just go ahead and get pregnant while in grad school.  I ended
up in my prelim 9 months pregnant (but I did pass just fine!) and doing
a field project while pregnant and then with a newborn.  It certainly
would have been easier if I hadn't had the kid, but I sure have not
regretted doing it.
   Speaking of supportive spouses, of course none of this would have
happened without my husband.  He's the one who did all the housework
after the doctor told me I was no longer able to lift more than 5 pounds,
mop, go grocery shopping, do laundry, rototill out in the field,etc,
because they were afraid the placenta was breaking loose.  He's also
the one who carried our 3 week old daughter around for most of the
time while we were doing the second half of the field work (joint research proj
(It's a little hard to carry a three week old baby when you've just
spent 6 months not being allowed to lift anything.)  He's now usually
willing to pitch in with the housework so I can get some writing done
on my thesis.  In short, without him, besides the obvious necessity
of having a man present at the start of it all, I never could have
gotten through the pregnancy and these first two years and _still_
manage to get some work done.
     My advisor also had a baby recently (about three years ago).  She
waited until after she had tenure, but she still has very little time.
Waiting for tenure may not make things any easier.
     If you really want kids _and_ a high power career you probably
can do it as long as you're willing to put in amazing amounts of
time and energy.  You also will need to take a few shortcuts.  You
won't be able to hang out networking after seminars.  You may not
finish grad school quite as early.  You may not be able to hand make
all your baby clothes and baby food (but what the heck, you won't
care as much when the baby food gets all over the baby clothes).
You may find that your child develops attachments to several
people instead of just to one.  Your house may be a disaster area
when both parents would rather spend time playing with the kids or
just collapsing.  But you have to decide what you want out of life.
     Good luck making your decision!
--Laura Simms
who's _still_ trying to finish writing her PhD thesis on interactions
between plant competition and herbivory here at the Univ of Illinois
in Urbana-Champaign (USA)
P.S. About that weird note about sex phone lines.  I beleive it's an
ad.  I've been told that if you respond to them (even if it's in
displeasure) you get stuff back from them.  I don't know if this
rumor is true or not...

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