It's hard to meet other new moms. It is doubly hard to meet other new moms when you work during the day, then want to spend time with your family in the evening. This morning, however, I met for coffee with another mom who is also a new postdoc, whose baby is nearly the same age as ours. Her daughter was born just a few weeks after ours, she moved to Berkeley from Palo Alto, but all their family is up north, and, for all our differences, we have an awful lot of similar experiences.
The biggest similarities come with feeling sad about leaving our babies all day, but also feeling frustrated that we can't spend longer at work (and nervous that everyone else notices that we don't spend as long at work as we might want to).
For me, I try to get into lab around 8am, but usually don't make it there until 8:30am. The hard thing is that I have to leave at 4pm every day to make sure I have enough time to get to daycare to pick up baby girl. Then, between lab meetings, journal clubs, seminars, pumping and just taking a few minutes to be social with labmates, the time seems to slip away. I'm fortunate that I can work from home also, so I try to save the bigger writing tasks for the evening, after baby girl has gone to bed.
I've decided, however, that for me, for us, the daycare that we found (small, family-run) really is the best option. I have a hard time being home alone with baby girl all day everyday. I think, if we had family or close friends nearby, I wouldn't mind being a stay-at-home mom. But here, where it's strange and there are so many sketchy people wandering around, and I don't know anyone, it is very stressful to be alone all day. Thus, going back to work not only means I have the time off to focus on other parts of myself, it lets me be a better mother when I am home. This is particular to my personality, but it does help.
Now, although baby girl is napping, I still feel inclined to do "domestic-type" things when I'm at home, so I'm going to go make some bread and get dinner started.