Friday, March 7, 2014

When is a good time to become a Mom-dent?

My fellow yummy-mummy post doc (mom-doc? post-mom???? Have to think more on this one!) E suggested I should talk about something..Yippeee.. my very first "request to write" !!! I'm a blogger, Yo!

But let me warn you. Its a doozy, this one. The right time to add to the gene pool has been the point of many a discussion with numerous other grad students. That is, mostly with those who are of the female persuasion and are at 'that' point in their lives where children start appearing on the radars ( Give or take, around 30.. standard deviation +/-2).

This conundrum is by no means unique for a mom-dent. In fact, every working woman has at some point or other grappled painfully with the debate of family vs. career with her self, her significant other, her family, her friends. You name it, they have done it.

However as a grad student and the way our field is structured, our milestones of success and progress are much more defined. You do your PhD, you do your post doc, become a PI  (or in my case, get the hell out as soon as I can pry my PhD degree from the cold, dead hands of U of T!!!).

Somewhere along this trajectory, the question of raising your family seems to slip right in. The conflict becomes more pressing especially if age (that bitch!) also happens to be creeping up on you. The next milestone always beckons and promises more stability and you are  inclined to wait till you finish that.. ugh its never ending!

I have often been asked about what made me decide to have the little prince when I did. While I feel qualified to answer this question, by no means do I want to suggest that my solution was a one-size fit all for everyone ( No hate mail please!).

I too thought long and hard about doing my evolutionary duty and then decided my PhD would  "work" well for me.  I  was fortunate (and brilliant!) to have a grant which would fund my parental leave for 6 months and since I did not want to continue in academics, I would finish by 2012-13, get a job and work for a few years before trying for number 2 (Yeah how's that perfect job going Missy !?!). * Shake my head in anguish*.

 So I had my perfect plan!! But I was lucky!! The little prince  really wanted me to be his mommy. I was certifiably and undeniably preggers the first month off the pill, and it all worked out. It may very easily have gone totally bonkers.  I might have tried for a few months and them my grant would have run out and who knows, we may have stopped trying altogether in anticipation of a later, more suitable time. And that  hypothetical later would still not have come in all honesty.

To go back to the question of right time, that is really something that everybody has to decide for them selves.  So my dear wannabe mom-dents, the answer is..... there is no right time... or wrong time. Gotcha!

BUT......... if I can give one advice (because I can, its my blog!)l Life works it self out. If grad school is important to you, you will find a way to make both work. It will not be perfect or even close to being as tidy as you imagined. Far from it! It will be messy and complicated and your life will feel like that hack job presentation you cobbled together an hour before you were supposed to present.  Do I ever regret having the rug-rat? Not even for a second. Having the little prince has fulfilled and completed me in more ways than graduate school ever could and ever will.

Now baby number 2 is a completely different scenario and I find my self running on the same hamster wheel all over again! When is a good time to have baby number 2??? Hmmm... I should finish my PhD,  get a job, work for another few years, maybe win the lottery, commission a time machine, go into the future and buy a contraption which makes me 10 years younger.... yes, yes that's EXACTLY what I will do...