Monday, August 11, 2008

The thorn in the lion's paw

On days like this I really feel the impact my family has on my career.

A few days a week my 3 month old manages to sleep through the night, on the other ones I'm usually nursing him around 4 am. When I'm up during the night, I usually sleep in until 7:30, then rush to get out of the house around 8:30 to make it to work by 9 am. This is all accomplished with a wonderful husband that makes me breakfast and gets our 2 year-old ready for daycare. Today would have been one of those days, if my 2 year-old hadn't woken up complaining about a splinter in his foot.

My husband and I spent half an hour with him screaming while we tried unsuccessfully to get it out. We soaked his foot for an hour over breakfast then tried again, but we couldn't both hold him and manage the needle. At the end of the torture session (for all of us) he was screaming 'My foot doesn't hurt anymore!'. Hence, we put his shoes on and took him to daycare. It was 9:30 am, we were already "running late." Of course once he realized that he wasn't going to be able to run around with his friends, the foot was hurting again and he didn't want to stay in school. My husband and I decided that we needed someone with more guts to take it out, so we called the pediatrician and whined our way to an appointment at 11:30. I had enough time to stop at the lab for e-mail and pumping (the littlest one still needs to eat, right?).

We ended up waiting at the doctor's office for hours, as it was not a true emergency. At 1 pm, when we finally got to see the her, she didn't want to take the splinter out either. We should just 'let it come out on it's own.' By then we were all starving and in a really bad mood. My husband was late for his lab meeting. But as lunch at daycare is served at 11:30 am, we had to stop for a sit down meal before I could drop them off. I finally made it to work at 3 pm, for another session of pumping. I got about 2 hours of work done, wrapping up last week's experiment and planning this week out. Then it was time to pick up the kids at daycare and the husband at work.

Missing an odd day at work is usually not that bad. However, as we don't work weekends anymore, that means our week now is half as long. When our first boy was born, my husband and I decided that weekends were "family time." Unless either of us had a deadline that had to be met, we would both stay at home. This was a great compromise, as it avoided the discussion of whose turn it was to work and any arguments about whose work is more important. It has worked well for the past 2 years, but that means I can't start an experiment on Sunday evening, or wrap something up Saturday morning. We can sometimes get writing done during "quiet time", if we don't pass out while putting the little one to sleep.

I remember taking a "weekend" on Wednesdays when I was in grad school, either because I was waiting for sequencing results from our core facility or because all I had to do was start cultures for the next day. I'd even catch a movie in the afternoon, as I knew I would be working during the "real" weekend. I can't do that anymore, but now I have 2 days of fun with the kids. And they are fun, as long as we don't stress about all the work that is not getting done as fast as we think it should be.

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