Yesterday, while browsing the university website, I discovered a new graduate and was quite astonished. Last summer, we did the master colloquium together where we had to hand in a first draft of the thesis and basically learned how to start. Since I still am only motivated by fear, which obviously doesn’t help, I now have more fear than ever. Or maybe her graduating does motivate me, I haven’t decided yet.
What astonished me is the fact that she very quickly handed in her thesis despite being a mother. Yes, she has a baby, and another on the way judging by her appearance when I last saw her. (I hope I am right, but she is very thin normally, so she must have been pregnant…this is all very confusing for someone who doesn’t even notice someone putting on 10 kilos…but I think I am right…) I don’t know her properly, but I always admired her. She seemed to juggle it all so easily and it cannot be that easy. Her parents don’t live in Vienna like she has to for her studies and I even think that her boyfriend is not even in Austria because he probably has to finish his studies in his country. They are still very young and it must be very hard.
She brought the baby to a few classes and couldn’t stay when it whined or wanted out or something. It must have been very difficult and I think she missed a lot of classes because of it. Naturally, the professors had to be very tolerant, which they were. I think one feature of our professor helped her a lot, which was taping a few of the classes so you could stay at home. Maybe this seems backwards that we don’t have this around here as a given, but sadly it is not. Our professor is considered to be very innovative around here.
So, my question is now, are mothers more productive? When the baby sleeps, do they have the sudden urge to take care of everything they cannot do when the baby is awake? Do they squeeze every little work in the one hour the baby sleeps? And when the baby sleeps two hours surprisingly, can they accomplish even more? Do they just live on the baby’s charm and personality to bring them through the day or is the baby smell the equivalent of spinach for Popeye? Can mothers survive on two hours of sleep a day? Do they think of something like “I have to accomplish this before the baby starts to walk”? Do they have the feeling of having to accomplish something before the baby can question their laziness or something? Do they fear the questions of the baby when it starts to talk, like “Mummy, why are you still in college?” or something?
And those questions also count for fathers. Case in point is that we only have three graduates so far, two of them being parents. The other graduate just recently became a father and also graduated quite quickly.
It really is a mystery to me! Maybe I have to look after a baby to get the same energy drive. Are babies the new red bull? This would really be worth exploring in another thesis 😉