Sunday, March 16, 2014

the newborn-grant writing combination

I've been quiet here for a few weeks now as I've been busy sorting out my new life as a mom-scientist. Since my LittleOne was born my life has been up side down - just as everybody with more experience in parenting tells you beforehand. In the first few weeks there was a lot of getting to know each other and trying to sort out our communications. Or better: me trying to understand what the LittleOne wants to tell me. This is a special time and I'm happy that I can stay at home and focus on it - learn and enjoy.
However, science never stops and so don't the projects that were still on my table when I started maternity leave. It would be good to continue working on all of them to avoid the scary gaps in my CV. But, honestly, most of them don't feel important enough at the moment to give them any attention.
However, there is the one big project that needs to be finished as it will determine if and when the whole family can transfer back to Europe. I've been writing on a big grant application since half a year now and the original plan was to finish it before the family business starts. Obviously, I haven't! And as every month later handed in means another month closer to the expiration of our visa and the finalization of my current funding, there is a bit of pressure to get this monster off my desk.
InBabyattachmode has described it spot on: the secret words are "naptime science". While I was pretty bad in writing when tired beforehand, I feel that now I can get a decent amount of stuff done while LittleOne is asleep (and I should be asleep, too). I quickly realized that more than one task per day is impossible to do. So I give myself one chapter per day to work on, one set of tables or graphs and I sit down to work on it as soon as my son closes his eyes or goes for a walk with his Dad. It's great to see the tiny progress steps and by now my application is in pretty good shape, even though I will need another couple of weeks to finalize it - at least that is what I hope. I haven't been able to work on the proposal every day, which gave me a very hard time in beginning and I was really stressing out about not being able to ever finish this proposal. Mostly these breaks were because of all the 500 medical check-ups babies have to go through, which means hours and hours spend in doctors waiting rooms. Last time I took my laptop with me to continue working while waiting - and then we didn't have to wait for more than 10 minutes. Must be something about the laptop-vibes, I guess.
It really is a game of patience and learning not to freak out if something can not be done as planned. Before LittleOne arrived we thought about how we can organize our little family beforehand, but decided at some point to just wing it. Because who knows what kind of character our son would be, how demanding or how relaxed and on what schedule he would run. Up to now it seems it was a good decision not to stress out too much beforehand, because now we have to adapt to his rhythm anyways - which might change from one day to the other - and we have to fit in our work and our sleep somehow.
I've already decided that when this proposal is off my desk I will spend at least a full week where I will always take a nap when LittleOne takes a nap and leave the science out of it for a few days. Looking forward to it!


  1. Congrats on your baby and good luck with your proposal! Right there with you ;-)

  2. Thanks a lot! I'm very impressed that you manage two children plus writing, blogging and moving! Chapeau!