New Mommy on the Block

I’m the new mommy blogger here at ScienceBlogs.

I don’t write about the latest ground-breaking research in my field. I don’t even publicly reveal what my field is.

What I do write about are my experiences as an early career scientist who also happens to be a woman.

I share my life as the mother of a spunky seven-month old girl who has already “helped” with field work and seminars. I describe the dramas of being a first-year assistant professor, scrambling to write lectures and grant proposals and figure out what “service” means, while trying to be home for a little playtime before my daughter’s 7 pm bedtime. I write blog posts while pumping breastmilk and strategize research ideas over the course of 2 am feedings.

I blog because a few years ago I was a graduate student contemplating my future. I loved doing research and envisioned myself as a professor leading a team of graduate students and traveling to conferences and exotic field locations. But I also wanted to be a mom and have a healthy relationship with my husband. While I knew a few successful women scientists, I didn’t understand how they could meet all the competing demands on their time and energy. I worried about finishing my dissertation if I got pregnant. I worried about what would happen to my husband’s career and my marriage, if I couldn’t find a job, and had to keep moving from post-doc to sabbatical replacement ad infinitum. I wondered how I could handle extended field campaigns if I had a toddler. Most of all I wondered if I was the only one struggling with these issues or whether other women woke up at night with the same dreams and nightmares.

I blog because now I know that other women are struggling with these issues. The response I’ve gotten over the past two years of blogging has been unbelievable. I don’t pretend to be an expert on women in science issues. I don’t profess to have all the answers. I just follow the old adage – I write about what I know. And right now, I know that I have to finish preparing for my lecture and write a few more sentences of my grant proposal, because sometime in the next hour, my daughter is going to wake up and want her mommy.


  1. #1 hypoglycemiagirl
    September 20, 2007

    Well, congratulations on the move. Very exciting. I wish you all the best. And get the RSS fixed, I got an error message when trying to subscribe to your new site.

  2. #2 Coturnix
    September 20, 2007

    Welcome to The Family!!!!

  3. #3 ScienceWoman
    September 20, 2007

    hypoglycemiagirl – I’ll pass along the message.
    Coturnix – Thanks. I’m excited to be here.

  4. #4 Caledonian
    September 20, 2007

    Welcome, ScienceWoman! I look forward to what will likely be a very interesting blog.

  5. #5 Ddac
    September 20, 2007

    Your blog will be an opportunity to reflect on the working conditions of junior woman scientists, woman scientists in general, and the real situation behind the scenes on academy and scientific worlds. I suppose that anonimity is imperative if you want to talk without reprisals.

  6. #6 LM
    September 20, 2007

    Thanks for this, ScienceWoman, and welcome. I am a nearly-7-months-pregnant doctoral student who has just started a new Ph.D. program (after leaving a miserable situation in an old Ph.D. program), so I’m really excited to hear what kind of advice you have for women in my shoes! You’re an inspiration.

  7. #7 factician
    September 20, 2007

    As the husband of a post-doc (and a post-doc myself) and as a parent, I look forward to your insight. Hello!

  8. #8 Blake Stacey
    September 20, 2007

    Hi! I’m looking forward to reading what you have to say.

  9. #9 Castaa
    September 20, 2007

    Welcome to the site! 🙂

  10. #10 Dan
    September 20, 2007

    Alright! Welcome to the party.

    Now, I think we need to get a pool going on how long it takes us to figure out what your field is.

  11. #11 ScienceWoman
    September 20, 2007

    Thanks everyone for your warm welcome.

  12. #12 Jen Phillips
    September 20, 2007

    Welcome Sciencewoman! I am a Postdoc and a mother of two chidren, ages 7 and 4, both of whom I had while working on my Biology Ph.D . As someone who is disinclined to follow the academic path any further precisely because of the juggling act it will require for our two-careers-plus-active-kids-and-dear-god-we’re-thinking-of-getting-a-puppy-soon family, I am very much looking forward to your insights.

  13. #13 Propter Doc
    September 20, 2007

    Hey Science Woman! Love the new place. Happy Blogging!

  14. #14 Moody834
    September 20, 2007

    Welcome! I also look forward to what you have to write about. 🙂

  15. #15 Stacy
    September 20, 2007

    Welcome! I am looking forward to your comments. I am a grad student and left my last job because of some mild gender discrimination, so I look forward to your insight

  16. #16 Kseniya
    September 20, 2007


  17. #17 Scotty B
    September 20, 2007

    “I don’t write about the latest ground-breaking research in my field. I don’t even publicly reveal what my field is.”

    Its a shame, I have long been interested in -ology and was hoping to learn from your insights. That aside, welcome!

  18. #18 The Wholly None
    September 20, 2007

    Excuse me? You have a 7 month old who still wakes you for a 2am feeding? I must be reading that wrong!

    I will be interested to hear about your multitasking life. Welcome!

  19. #19 makita
    September 20, 2007

    Welcome to Scienceblogs! I’m a graduate students with 3(!) kids, one of which has special needs. I started my program when #1 was 7 months old, and changed programs after several years. I’m looking forward to reading about your experiences, I’m certain much of it will sound familiar.

  20. #20 Laelaps
    September 20, 2007

    Welcome! I’m very much looking forward to your future writings.

  21. #21 zer0
    September 20, 2007

    I would like to make a grossly under-educated guess as to your field. I’m going to say you work in the field of knee-deep-fecal-ology. Again, just a guess.

    Welcome to Sb.

  22. #22 Sciencemama
    September 20, 2007

    Where you go, we readers will follow. Congrats on your new home, Sciencewoman!

  23. #23 Tara C. Smith
    September 20, 2007

    Welcome sciencewoman! I’m just a bit ahead of you (and with an extra kid), and it sure ain’t easy–but I wouldn’t trade any minute. Good to have you here!

  24. #24 Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD
    September 20, 2007

    Welcome. “a first-year assistant professor” – I guess we shouldn’t expect anything controversial until you make tenure.

  25. #25 MikeG
    September 20, 2007


    I look forward to hearing about the issues faced by women in -ology. I happen to love a woman interested in -ology. (She isn’t keeping it below the table, she just hasen’t picked a -.)

  26. #26 Lab Cat
    September 20, 2007

    I’ve updated my blog roll to reflect your new home. Have fun.

  27. #27 ScienceWoman
    September 20, 2007

    Thanks everyone. Now I’ve just got to live up to the hype.

    To those interested in -ology, I highly recommend it. It’s a fantastic combination of this and that and stuff and nonsense.

    To Wholly None: Yes, she still wakes me for a 2 am feeding, and a 10:00 pm feeding, and a midnight feeding, and a 4 am feeding. Lots of baby don’t sleep through the night until they’re more than a year old. I just happen to have one with more digestive issues than some.

    I guess we shouldn’t expect anything controversial until you make tenure.

    I dunno. In my opinion being an assistant professor that talks about having a life outside work, much less the active status of her breasts, is at least somewhat controversial. I guess you’ll have to keep reading to see what else I have to say.

  28. #28 Nutmeg
    September 20, 2007

    As the mommy to a 9 month old, and a second year PhD student with an eye toward academia… I look forward to your insights.

  29. #29 greg
    September 20, 2007

    Hi Sciencewoman. Your blog is very much welcome. Though I find it sad that you feel the need to blog under the shroud of anonimity. I guess that shows how much work we have to do and how important your blog is.

  30. #30 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    September 20, 2007

    Hello, ScienceWoman! It seems you are experiencing the Pharyngula Effect. (Actually, I followed the link from Jason Rosenhouse’s EvolutionBlog.

    I used to wake up with my son every morning at 2:00 for feedings, and it was a great time to be awake, I thought. I got a lot of reading done while he slurped and his mother snored. Me and the kid; good times.

    Welcome to ScienceBlogs, I look forward to reading more.

  31. #31 Monado
    September 20, 2007

    Welcome! I look forward to hearing about how things are these days. They’ve got to be better: when I went to Waterloo, there was no women’s washroom in the Physics building! You had to nip over to Chemistry. (It has one now.)

  32. #32 ScienceWoman
    September 20, 2007

    The Pharyngula Effect indeed!

  33. #33 bug
    September 20, 2007

    Welcome! and good luck with anonymity–the longer I’ve blogged, the more breadcrumbs towards my true identity I inadvertently drop.
    Fortunately, no one seems to care enough to follow them 🙂

    Of course, By the time we figure out who you are, you’ll have tenure anyway.

  34. #34 doc-in-training
    September 20, 2007

    Wow ScienceWoman, talk about new readership… Congrats to your move. Looking forward to your insight as you begin your 1st year assistant professorship.

  35. #35 Kim
    September 20, 2007

    I’ve lurked reading your old blog, and I’m glad that SciBlogs tapped you.

    Good luck with the new job, and with getting sleep. (My kid is 4, and didn’t sleep through the night until he was… 1.5? 2? I can’t remember. And I still get called down once every other week.)

  36. #36 David Ng
    September 20, 2007

    Hi there! Welcome to Scienceblogs. Looking forward to reading more of your blog. cheers ~Dave

  37. #37 kevin z
    September 21, 2007

    This is my first time seeing your blog (hat tip to Bora). I will be very interested! I am in my 4th year PhD with a 22 month and 4 month old. My wife has graciously put her life on hold so I can pursue my degree.

    I have a lot of respect for woman in science. Its tough. Be rest assured though for 3 years thus far I have been the only male grad student in the lab! Currently 3 others of the female variety (plus 3 female undergrads).

  38. #38 PoxyHowzes
    September 21, 2007

    From Wakipedia…

    The scientific field known since the great academic “framing wars” of the early ’00s as “-ology” was founded posthumously by Endash M(inus) Hyphen, (EMH), an enigmatic night-person about whom little is known, including her/his/its gender. The founder’s lifework — papers discovered in a long-disused diaper bag as the heirs were sorting things after the founder’s death — are claimed by EMH to have been composed in the “dark and yet enlightened hours” between midnight and the 2 am feeding of one or more of EMH’s children. This Wakipedia entry is not the place to comment in detail on the wild acrimony generated during the “framing wars” by those claiming that EMH was clearly a motherly female, since no fatherly male has ever willingly or regularly or rationally been awake for a 2 am feeding. However, the corollary, that being awake for a 2-am feeding is a career-inhibiting factor for female -ologists and other females, is a current topic in -ology as, indeed, it is in other fields.

    The “LW,” as the EMH’s founding corpus of papers is called by -ologists, is based on two fundamental ideas: First, that the “THIS” and the “THAT” of science are indistinguishable through natural methods, and second, that “Stuff is nonense – nonsense Stuff”. (EMH always used the two majuscules.)

    EMH showed her/his/its confliction about these two principles throughout the LW papers. Perhaps a third of them are devoted to EMH’s efforts to prove that the first idea is in fact an equivalent restatement of the second. Or, conversely, not. Most such efforts in the LW tail off into incomprehensible gibberish or “random” typing, a sign, say some, that man (or, improbably, woman) was not intended to be awake at 2 am.

    -ology (there is no uppercase hyphen, endash, or minus sign), is the subject of teaching and research these days mostly at un*iversities, or Onionversities, as some call them. Some research looks primarily the second of EMH’s fundamental propositions: “Stuff is nonsense – nonsense Stuff.” One line of research centers on the writings of Edward Lear, Ogden Nash, and Theodor Geisel. (He changed his name to “Dr. Seuss” after being awarded the first honorary -D degree in -ology.) Related research at other un*iversities centers on the musicology of P.D.Q. Bach, Gerard Hoffnung, and Tom Lehrer. [The latter’s song “The Ologies,” to a tune by Mozart (“Oh, there’s endashology, there’s icthyology, neurology./There’s archaeology, geology…”) constituted Mr. Lehrer’s acceptance “speech” for his honorary -D degree.]

    A second line of -ological inquiry, centered for the most part in southern un*iversities, deals with the teleological and theological aspects of nonsense and Stuff (or, more precisely, of Stuff and nonsense). The principal advocate of this line of -ology, Dr. ID Beshekidme, states his pursuit tersely: “If mathemetics can have imaginary numbers, why can’t science have imaginary causes?” Adopting “big-tent” approach on mythology, Dr. Beshekidme and his followers reason as follows: (1) All cultures on the earth believe that Stuff was created — they merely look around them and inevitably ask the question “who made all this sh-t?” (2) The answer in all cultures on earth is “God” (Even though some of them don’t mean the *right* God.) (3) Therefore, if we can prove that all Stuff was created, it will follow inexorably that God created “all this sh-t.” (4) The tautology that sh-t = nonsense then proves EMH’s theory. Of course, it would still only be a theory.

    Further Wakipedia entries on -ology await development.

  39. #39 Flicka Mawa
    September 21, 2007

    Wow, I hadn’t been keeping up with all your posts (Just the Mommy Mondays!) so maybe I missed if you announced you were moving here, but a friend forwarded me this link and I was excited and surprised to see that you’ve moved to scienceblogs! I do miss the picture of Minnow’s head though… Mucho Congrats on the new home!!!

  40. #40 Doc Bill
    September 21, 2007

    From your picture you appear to be outstanding in your field.

  41. #41 DDeden
    September 21, 2007

    Hi! Nice planet your standing on there. 😉

  42. #42 Torbj�rn Larsson, OM
    September 21, 2007

    Ohh, that photo and its description takes me so back to my grad studies.

    I had the fortune to have a very balanced female part time post-doc fellow on the group, who often showed up directly from her farm [horse stables/rental and wild boar farm – and a bunch of kids and cats (I think the kids were the slightly less furry ones)] with dirty legs and straw in her hair.

    She was really relaxing to have around, and showing that scientists can be down to earth and relaxed to booth.

    (But strictly speaking, her field was more solid state physics and its techn-ology than paleont-ology or whatever field work results in dirty “first-hand experiences” on boots.)

    Um, so anyway, very welcome! Look forward to any -ological thoughts and experiences you like to share.

  43. #43 Abel Pharmboy
    September 21, 2007

    Hearty, albeit belated, welcome! I don’t know how you do it but I look forward to learning more.

  44. #44 Addy N.
    September 21, 2007

    Congrats on the move! Can you add a subscription link? I’ve been trying to add you to Google Reader and it shows “no items” (I’ve tried using this address and it’s not working for some reason)

  45. #45 Chris
    September 21, 2007

    The fam and I look forward to your posts, maybe a glimpse of our potential future. And by “digestive issues” I assume you refer to the black hole that seems to be lodged in the digestive tracts of many infants. I fear I’ll never understand how they fit so much in. Like Hermione’s handbag they are.

  46. #46 Doc Bushwell
    September 21, 2007

    Here ‘s hearty pant-hoot of welcome from the matriarch of the Chimp Refuge!

    I write blog posts while pumping breastmilk and strategize research ideas over the course of 2 am feedings

    Heh. Sounds familiar. I gave birth to Spawn the Elder during my post-doc. I well remember pumping and reading journal articles. Nothing like an article in Biochemistry or JBC to stimulate the let-down reflex. No bloggery existed back then, i.e., the Jurassic Era.

    I love your blog which often sets me into a fit of nostalgic reverie as I recall when my kids were babies, and I was beginning my career. However, I didn’t visit your site nearly often enough so having a link smack dab in the SciBling blog roll will jolt my scattered menopausal mind to drop by and take a read.

  47. #47 Comstock
    September 21, 2007

    As a working new parent, I’m happy to see your blog here.

    One question, though: why such thick layers of anonymity?

  48. #48 coby
    September 21, 2007

    Hello fellow newbie! We’ll be celebrating our aniversaries one day apart forever now…good luck and see you around the site!

  49. #49 PeteK
    September 21, 2007

    Welcome Sciencewoman, don’t mind the smell…

  50. #50 Russell Blackford
    September 22, 2007

    Hello, and good luck to you – with both the blog and your career.

  51. #51 not another moomy blogger
    September 23, 2007

    So…are we actually going to read about science on your blog? Or is it going to be yet another blog about how haaaaarrrrd it is to be a breeder with a career?

    Please stop making real professional women look bad by focusing solely on your bodily functions, kthx.

  52. #52 ScienceWoman
    September 24, 2007

    One question, though: why such thick layers of anonymity?

    My new department doesn’t yet know of my alter-ego and my field is small enough that were I to let down the pseudonymity gates a bit more, it would be fairly easy to figure out who I am. And the “outing” of my blogging is habit is something I want to be in control of. I hope to talk to my department chair within the year though, but for now I am just trying to get a sense of the lay of the land around here.

    So…are we actually going to read about science on your blog? Or is it going to be yet another blog about how haaaaarrrrd it is to be a breeder with a career?

    If you don’t like what I have to say, then don’t read the blog. The choice is yours. And there are 60-some other excellent blogs on scienceblogs alone.

    That said, yes, I would love to talk about my science,but until the pseudonymity issue is resolved, it is probably not going to happen with any regularity.

  53. #53 Drugmonkey
    September 24, 2007

    for those of you getting het up about the woman in science thing, chill. as an oft-reader of her original there’s plenty in there that generalizes to all early career and transitioning scientist/professors! not to mention, we dads have academic spouses often and we also have parent/scientist/career conflicts and issues, if not as often or as pointedly. the points are relevant to all…

    Sciencewoman, glad to see you being absorbed by the borg if only because of my lazy blog-scanning habits…

  54. #54 Signout
    September 24, 2007

    Woop! Welcome to the fray!

  55. #55 Zuska
    September 24, 2007

    Welcome, welcome, welcome! Please accept my apologies for the delay in giving an official welcome and in posting a blog entry about you over at TSZ…I am tied up for the present with taking care of my mom and have no time to tend to the blog. But I am soooooooooo glad to have you here!

    not another mommy blogger is a MORON. And, if female, an apologist for the oppressor. Needs some puking on the shoes.

  56. #56 mollishka
    September 25, 2007


  57. #57 Chuck McKay
    October 8, 2007

    Anyone claimed to know your field, yet?

New comments have been disabled.