Time, or lack thereof...

One of the best aspects of my new job is having a lot more free time. Don't get me wrong, I doubt that any job like this supports a nine-to-five work week, but compared to the hours that most postdocs put in, it's been really nice. I can't stress enough how important this free time is to productivity. While I have been playing videogames and building Legos [1], not feeling completely burnt-out by work demands has also made it much easier to spend free time developing work related 'skillz'.

For example, I've read book and played around to increase my programming abilities so that I'm now familiar with thing like pysam, pandas, matplotlib, and git/GitHub, which can all be added to my resume. Therefore, I'm continuing to support my new mantra that brute-forcing your way through problems and analyses never pays off as well as learning how to do it well. Sadly, this has changed significantly with the arrival of our baby.

Look, based on everything I'd heard and read, I expected that a baby would take up a lot of our time. Our reality seems to be a bit more extreme:  our baby takes up ALL of our time. The books say that newborns sleep an average of 18 hours a day in 2-3 hour bursts, in between which you need to feed and clean them. Our son has never slept more than ~10 hours in a day. Rather, he'll frequently stay up for 5-6 hours at a time and requires constant attention to avoid getting upset.

Under such circumstances, it's neither easy, nor fair to hand the baby off to his mother so that I can get work done [2]. Furthermore, it is important to me that my gf and I take care of our baby: it's nice to have family in the area or pay for a babysitter now and then, but I wouldn't want to have a full-time assistant raise my kid.

As I'm sure most parents can relate, it's often stressful. It feels like you're caught between a rock-and-a-hard-place, wanting to answer emails and get work done, while at the same time feeling guilty if you're not taking care of and/or spending time with the baby. I'd been told that there's no 'right' time to have children, which is now obvious: when is the right time to give up all of your free time and then some?

Thankfully, I've heard a rumor that babies grow out of this eventually.

 

[1] A few years ago, the Tested.com podcast revealed to me that there are actually adults who build Legos. I bought my first kit in years for 'shits and giggles' and discovered that putting blocks together is incredibly relaxing and therapeutic. I'm hooked, and am saving all of the blocks and manuals for when our son is old enough to play with them (which is 3+ according to the packaging).

[2] Mind you, sometimes 'tag-teaming' is unavoidable, if only so that we can catch a bit of extra sleep.