Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Science and parenting can complement each other.

I love doing science. I also love being a parent. Yes, parenting does take up time that I could otherwise spend doing science (as do things like, grocery shopping, eating, and, having a life outside of lab). But, as a scientist, my brain is never totally turned off to science. And that is one of the reasons I knew I wanted to go into science. I see science everywhere. I question everything (which can sometimes be frustrating to those around me). I always have. Being a parent lets me expand my world, questioning so many things that I might have previously overlooked. Being a parent forces me to step outside of the small slice of science I've carved out for myself.

As a parent, I admit when I don't know the answer, and try to use it as an opportunity to figure out the answer together.

We read a lot. Books bring up so many questions - What are they doing? What is that? How does that work? Really, reading leads to endless questions. También es una oportunidad para aprender y practicar Español.
Finding goldbug together.
The local library has a whole floor dedicated to kids that includes books, and an area for the younger kids to play. I like how the children's floor mixes play with books. We play a bit, then take a break to read a book. I am of the firm opinion that we can never have too many books at home, but it is nice to borrow books from the library, and not wonder where we're going to store them all.

Taking turns piloting the paintbrush rocket at the Downtown Berkeley library.
We live in an apartment without a backyard and just a very small shared green space, but try to spend a lot of time outside, at the playground nearby, or hiking, or various parks in the area. We keep our eyes peeled for wee beasties of all sorts (lizards, spiders, millipedes, ants, voles, birds, etc).
You can never be too safe when blowing bubbles.
I use my imagination more now than I have in a long time. At home, or out, I am surprised by how creative developing minds can be, and how quickly my mind can jump in too! I just learned that one of the games the kids play at daycare is "watching television", where they all sit in a semi-circle, staring at the blank wall (there's no television at daycare), pointing and laughing, and describing to each other what they're seeing. Now that is imagination.

Playing in a "pool" at the park.
Sometimes I wish I had more time at home. Sometimes I wish I had more time at work. Usually, however, I really enjoy my time working, and I really enjoy my time with my family. To me this means that I find fulfillment in my work and in my family life. I hope this is always the case.


Mark P said...

Thanks--she's lovely and reminds me of when my own girls were that age. It only continues getting better, at least till the teen-age years. Don't listen to the nay-sayers who say you can't raise children and be a scientist!

Mark P

mathbionerd said...

Thanks Mark! I needed to hear that tonight. The last two weeks have been a bit frustrating as she's trying to challenge just about everything. Overall, it's great, but sometimes… sometimes… I can understand the desire to eat one's children. ;)

Mark P said...

If evolution hadn't manipulated our hormones and nervous systems, we'd put them out for the tigers to eat in the first six weeks.