Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Teaching Tuesday: A Day in the life, Part 2

7:56 am: Enter building. Proceed directly to classroom to boot up computer. Run up to office to pick up quiz sheets and go to bathroom.

8:02 am: Start class.

9:15 am: End class. Go to office for office hour. Grade quizzes. Alphabetize them. Enter grades on blackboard. Contemplate how that took a ridiculously long time for a five question quiz.

10:15: A student shows up at my office!

10:30 Close door. Get ready to pump. While pumping, upload photos to Minnow’s blog. Work on this entry. Read email.

11:00 Still pumping. Geesh.

11:10: After marathon session, am pleased to discover that I produced a record amount of milk – 5 oz. Now if it just doesn’t spill from its bottles tomorrow.

11:13: Take pump parts to women’s restroom to rinse.

11:15: Start microwave sterilization. Run to dept. office to check mailbox and drop off paperwork.

11:18: Return to microwave to rotate bag, since darn microwave doesn’t have a turn table. Run to bathroom.

11:21: Return to microwave, grab hot bag, go back to ladies room to dump out water.

11:24: Lay pump parts in office drawer to dry.

11:30: Eat cold rice and turkey for lunch at desk. (Can’t deal with microwave again.) Finish reading chapter for discussion with grad student later. Read blogs because chapter is so darn boring. Why did I assign it?

12:15: Walk across campus, cursing new shoes that need to be broken in.

12:30: Meeting.

1:45 skip out on meeting so I can grab a juice and bag of chips before hobbling back across campus to office

2:00 Mature Grad Student is right on time. And with lots of good questions too. Man, did I get lucky with an inherited student.

3:18: MUST PUMP NOW. But first pee. While pumping, I catch up reading email, and blog comments.

3:45: Done pumping. Another almost 5 ounces –maybe the longer breaks between pumping sessions are better (albeit more uncomfortable).

3:48: Do the whole restroom, microwave, turn the bag, microwave, restroom – pump part cleaning routine while perusing possible quiz questions for my class.

4:00: Get frustrated with blackboard because it keeps crashing when I try to add a quiz question. (Yes, I am doing both paper and on-line quizzes – consider it an experiment in which takes more time/frustration.)

4:20: Work on Thursday’s lecture. Steadfastly ignore impending doom of grant proposal. Less successful at ignoring certain administrative requests.

4:50: Suddenly realize it’s time to go home if I want to see Minnow before bedtime.


  • This was a particularly scheduled day for me. I have one day per week like this.
  • I got so frustrated with microwave thing that this weekend I brought our old microwave in and hooked it up in my lab next to the sink. Now at least I won't have to turn the bag partway through or lurk outside a colleague's office several times a day.
  • Yes, I could (and probably will) say more about the class, but this post was long enough already.
  • So far the quiz on blackboard has been more rewarding, but not without its own hassles. I'll probably say more about that at some point as well.


Sarah said...

Hi Science Woman,

I just want to say how valuable I find your "day in the life" posts.

I'm a married biologist 2 weeks away from her PhD who'd like to have kids someday. It's super to hear about how you manage the kid-career juggling act. And with such good humor!

Thanks for your time and efforts in keeping up with the blog. I really appreciate the fact that I get a glimpse into what it's really like....

Julia said...

Hi ScienceWoman. You don't know me, but I wanted you to know that I have nominated you for a Thinking Blogger Award. You give me hope that things will get better. And I admire your honesty without bitterness. Thank you for writing this blog.

Erin said...

As a tip from someone with a baby in daycare who has been pumping for a while - waiting between pumpings too often will decrease your milk production in the long run. It's much better to pump every 2.5-3 hours (when possible) for a daily schedule, because your body will keep production up that way. If you keep waiting, your body will produce less milk because you fill up and send the message that you don't need to be producing as much. I'm told that is the beginning of the end of breastfeeding for many women. I don't think it hurts to pump less once or twice per week on busy days, but it might be a bad idea daily.

You might already be familiar with this, but I thought I'd give you the tip just in case. Good luck! I really enjoy reading about your experiences - I am also a woman scientist in academia with a baby girl, so it's nice to hear how other women are managing everything.

ScienceWoman said...

Hey julia and sarah, you are exactly the sort of people I am writing this blog for. I'm glad you find my writing interesting/useful/funny.

Erin - Usually I pump 3 times a day. In the end I seem to get about the same amount, but 3 times a day is vastly more comfortable. It does seem like an awful lot of my work day is spent pumping though.

Flicka Mawa said...

Like the first commenter, I like to read your blog because I hope to be a mommy scientist myself some day, but I don't have those kids yet. The Day in the Life posts are really neat! I think it was a good idea to bring in your own microwave to put in your office. :-)

Nadine said...

Golly, this made me dizzy following you around campus. These Day in the Life posts are very revealing and informative. Thanks! Hopefully having the microwave in your lab helps things run more smoothly.

LAH said...

Unless Minnow has a medical condition that warrants sterilization, you can probably skip the microwave step and rust rinse with hot water and some hand soap in the bathroom. I do this and then store the parts in my milk cooler in between pumping sessions during the day. Each night I sterilize to start all over the next day! And, yes, I'm in the middle of a pumping session now...

MommyProf said...

You are lucky to have a private-ish microwave! On the other hand, i am luck to have daycare a mile away, so I get to go feed "on the hoof" at 11 every day. I had an all-day meeting today, so I didn't get to go and I really missed it!

Anonymous said...

medela makes pump wipes that you can use between pump sessions so you don't have to use the micro bag. I still clean with soap and water at night, but use the wipes during the day- very fast and easy!

also- I agree with Erin, right now it might not seem like it make much of a difference whit pumping further apart, but in the long run your supply will decrease. when your breasts get full, they send the message that you are making too much milk and your body will stop making as much milk. stick with 3 sessions a day if you can.

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