Saturday, 20 December 2014

Ten Ways Motherhood is Nothing like Scientific Research

Scientist spends 8 years training for a career in research. Scientist gives up said career to embark on her greatest experiment yet—an adorable squishy baby! Only the scientific method no longer works and that Excel spreadsheet titled “How I will raise baby” is woefully inadequate…

1. Your PhD did not prepare you for this 
At no point in all your years in the lab did you encounter a problem that required you to wrestle your boob into another human’s mouth while they screamed to the point of liquefaction. Transferrable skills my ass.

2. To do lists now consist of ‘Keep baby alive’ and ‘Remember to eat’ 
Once, you juggled multiple projects; now, it’s time to burn that list of things you planned to do on maternity leave. Learn French? Ha ha ha. Have another Jaffa cake.

3. Virkon-ing your child is frowned upon  
Interesting fact: microbiology labs and babies are often interchangeable when it comes to their smell. Only no one sells pink powder that can be sprinkled on a human child to decontaminate it.

4. You’re the annoying student and there’s no postdoc to help 
Instead, you have your mother’s thirty-year-old parenting advice. Remember that time your PI decided to run a gel for ‘old time’s sake’ and set two undergrads on fire…?

5. There’s no peer-review for baby articles 
One minute you’re researching developmental milestones; the next, Google has diagnosed your little troll with goat plague spread by vaccination.

6. Evidence and reason no longer apply 
My baby has goat plague! What do you mean only goats can get it? Oh my god, I think my baby’s a goat.

7. No one cares about your results anymore 
And here’s a photo of her sticking her right foot in her mouth. And I’m teaching her to grab the left one too! I think there’s a picture somewhere here if you just…wait, where are you going? 

8. Reproducibility is a distant memory 
One day, you can pace to-and-fro shushing like a deranged librarian and It Sleeps! The next? You get the ‘Like that’s going to work on me, Mother-Creature’-look of baby contempt.

9. The baby doesn’t give a shit how smart you are 
Like the plot to the sequel of ‘Flowers for Algernon’, you’ve experienced a career where using your brain is kind of handy and now you’re singing ‘You are my Sunshine’ for the thousandth time.

10. I don’t remember what this one was going to be 
So I read the draft of a paper the other day and got half way through before I realised that I’d written the damn thing. The old me. The one who had an attention span long enough to…huh what?

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