Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Q&A with ScienceWoman

I feel like its been forever since I blogged. But I don't feel like doing a RBOC-style update, so maybe I'll try a interview with myself.

Q: So, how the heck are things going?
A: Oh, all right. Depends on the day. Today wasn't so hot. Minnow and I didn't sleep well last night and she was crabby all day. She still had some good times, but when she went downhill, it was fast and hard. My day pretty much mirrored hers.

Q: What's she doing now?
A: Sleeping in her co-sleeper for the first chunk of the night. The seventh night in a row as a matter of fact.

Q: How'd you manage that?
A: Turning my iPod to a playlist of womb sounds and other white noise and putting in the co-sleeper next to her little swaddled body.

Q: How's the working mom thing going?
A: Geesh, it's a lot of work. And hard. I've got a couple of problems right now. I don't have enough daycare to cover the number of hours I'm supposed to work each week. Minnow is still refusing a bottle, so when I do have someone watching her, I have to work at home, which equals a lot of disruptions. And I'm stuck on a tough problem scientifically.

Q: How are you going to resolve your problems?
A: We've got a slot in a daycare where we'll start her at the end of the month. Before then we've got to get the bottle strike resolved. Fish is doing his best but its just so heartbreaking to have her get more and more upset when she's hungry and won't take a bottle.

Q: What about the scientific problem?
A: Sometimes having a PhD means knowing how to figure out how to answer the question yourself. Sometimes it means knowing how to formulate the question well enough to explain it to someone else and knowing who that someone else is that can help. I've had to take the second approach. And I might have the start of an answer sitting in my email inbox.

Q: So, what's up with your job search?
A: Ehhh, nothing wonderful. I decided to take the interview at ?AA? U, but I'm kind of dreading it. I think I am mostly dreading the trip with Minnow. I had a phone interview for an adjunct position for fall semester. I'm hopeful about that one and it's within driving distance of Utopia, so we wouldn't have to move for a 4 month job. Other than that, there's a postdoc I really should apply for, but I haven't summoned the emotional/mental energy to do that yet. I really should though. But not tonight.

Q: Whatever happened to Mystery U?
A: They gave the job to someone else and that person apparently accepted the offer. I'm disappointed because I really wanted that job, and I keep going over little interview mistakes in my head. But I know that the biggest thing is that it was largely out of my control - they decided that another person was a better fit - and I can't control the candidate pool, just my own performance.

Q: Have you continued to indoctrinate Minnow into the wonderful world of science?
A: We haven't been in the field yet, but this afternoon I crazily attempted to bring her to a seminar. It was super-relevant to the topic of my PhD work and I really wanted to hear it. So I loaded her into the front pack and parked about 8 blocks from the seminar building. The walking lulled her to sleep and I got to hear all but the last 5 minutes of the talk.

Q: What's Minnow's latest accomplishment?
A: Other than sleeping on her own for 3-4 hours at night? 'Cause that's a biggie. It gives me a bit of freedom I've been sorely missing. Well, she's also getting pretty good at grabbing things - although she doesn't always know what to do with them once she's got them. She likes to suck on her fist. And she's started to like her swing again, which helps out with the whole cooking and eating thing. But her favorite things continue to be wiggling and watching mommy's face, preferably both at once. She has beautiful smiles.

Q: If you had the chance to do things over again, what would you do differently?
A: Funny you should ask, as I just watched Groundhog Day (for the first time) last night. I think the big thing I would do differently so far is take more maternity leave. I just didn't feel like I had much of a choice, but I'm not being a very effective worker at the moment and she's just so little to be in daycare! I think I'd take at least three months. But like I said, I didn't have much of a choice because of the peculiarities of my post-doc/financial situation, so I'm trying not to beat myself up about it.

Q: Any parting thoughts?
A: Nope. Too tired. Maybe my readers have more questions, though?


Amelie said...

Job interviews with a newborn in tow sound like quite a challenge -- would you recommend others to try a bit earlier (assuming biology plays along) or does finishing and defending a thesis with a baby seem just as challenging?

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about Mystery U. As an experienced job seeker - I would recommend that you call up the head of the search committee and ask them about things that could have been stronger in your package/interview. It is kind of hard to do this, but it is amazingly valuable.

And you are right to keep in perspective the fact that this stupid job search thing is crazy. When I go on an interview, my goal is to represent myself the best way that I can....not necessarily to get the job. The reason I do it that way is that I have NO control over the search committee and the politics going on behind the scenes. The only thing I have control over is ME. It still hurts to get a rejection, but it helps keep my head on straight.

Good luck with everything! -Katie

Anonymous said...

You may have already tried this, but sometimes babies are picky about the nipples for bottles. It might be worth dropping 10-20 bucks on a bunch of different bottle/nipple combos and seeing if there's one that pisses her off less. You could also try letting her use the nipple as a pacifier sometime when she's not hungry. so that she gets used to thinking that it's a Good Thing.

eleonora said...

Hi, I have been reading your blog for some time but this is the first time I leave a comment.

I am also a woman in science, expecting my first child soon. Congratulations for all your accomplishments in the last few months, I really admire you!

I am curious about what you said in your post about the playlist with womb sounds. Where did you find the material for that? Did you buy a CD or you could download the sounds somewhere? If you have any suggestions please let me know, since it seems to work well for you.

And good luck with your job search!

MissPrism said...

Hope the interview goes well, despite the department's mistakes so far - or at least that it's valuable interview practise for you.

Flicka Mawa said...

Great post, really helped me to learn about who you are. I like how you wrote posts about going back to work, and taking Minnow to seminars, etc. I can't wait to read them all!

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