So tonight, as part of my campaign to talk about things other than poop, I had dinner with an invited seminar speaker and a small group of other postdocs. The seminar speaker is an amazing scientist from Stanford. She had lots of great stories, including one about serving as a scientific advisor to Clinton and addressing Clinton and his cabinet about genetic engineering. She is dynamic and passionate and incredibly smart. The kind of scientist we should all strive to be like.
I, on the other hand, was the dumbest person at the table. But that's another post entirely.
When the speaker mentioned that she has 3 children, I asked her how she had balanced the demands of her family with the intense demands of getting tenure. She replied that she had succeeded by never feeling guilty: when she was in the lab, she didn't feel guilty about not being with her kids. When she was at home, she didn't feel guilty about not being in lab. And that allowed her to focus on whatever she was doing and really engage.
Good advice, I thought.
"Oh," she added, "and it helped that I had a full-time, live-in nanny for 23 years."