As an undergraduate and graduate student some years ago, I encountered several women (and men) who were faculty members with children. What their life as parents was like was a mystery. I attended seminars on “work-life balance” whenever possible. There is a lot one can balance in life, but most of these seminars consisted in female faculty members being asked questions by young female students about whether it was possible to have a successful career and be a mother. Many of the things that were said during these seminars made an impact on me, and, despite the fact that I can’t remember who gave me the advice, I am grateful to the faculty members who shared their viewpoints.
Fast forward a few years, and I work in academia and have two young babies. I have no time to maintain a blog. However, most parents that I know with kids older than mine assure me that “things get easier” as kids get older and that one forgets how tough it is to have young babies. Before I reach this stage, I want to document as many things as I can about being a mother of young children.
Being a mother is the toughest occupation out there*. I have no idea why being a mother is so underrated. Perhaps misconceptions arise because babies are cute and cuddly precious beings (how tough could it be to hang out with them?). Perhaps because giving birth can happen to most women and is part of nature, we assume that being a mother is as easy as walking. One big problem is that there are not enough frank discussions in schools or at work about what it is like to be a parent. In an effort to not appear “weak” at work several women that I know practically hide the fact that they are parents. Although discussions about motherhood can be taboo in the workforce, I think that the primary reason why there is a mystery surrounding parenthood is that most new parents are too darn busy to share their perspectives with interested non-parents.
Hopefully, I can help to dispel a few misconceptions and provide some helpful tips.
*In case this isn’t obvious, I don’t mean that it is tougher to be a mother than to have an occupation where one’s life is in constant danger (e.g., soldier in a battlefield). I mean that it is way tougher to be a mother than to be in most current professions.