Friday, October 12, 2012

Bringing a Baby to GHC12

As you saw in my first post about GHC12, I brought my baby to the conference.  My husband came as well to help out with baby things and because he's in computer science as well.  It was a positive experience for everyone, including other attendees!

We road tripped to get there because Baltimore was driving distance, driving three people is much cheaper than flying them, and I'm terrified of flying with a baby.  Nobody wants to be the parent with a screaming kid.  We made sure not to drive more than 5 hours a day because we figured that's all the baby would be able to handle.

Once at the conference, we were able to take advantage of the free childcare.  Grace Hopper is an opportunity for all women to get together, even if they've recently had babies or have older kids.  The childcare is a big part of making that happen.  Better still, the quality was very good, so we felt that Molly was very safe there.  It was still hard to leave her, of course.  After all, she's never been in the care of anyone other than her parents and grandparents! But other than being upset when Mommy and Daddy left, she did really well and all the childcare ladies loved her.

I also took her to one of the sessions on balancing academic life and family.  It seemed appropriate. ;)  She was mostly quiet, but if she got a bit noisier, my husband just brought her out into the hall for a bit.  A few people later commented how happy they were to see her there, and how cute she was.  I was able to be a good role model for others thinking of having kids during grad school.

I'm really glad that we took the opportunity to travel to GHC together, as it may not come up again for some time.  I hope that other conferences eventually follow suit and offer some childcare options (even if they can't be totally free).  It would make attending so much easier for parents like me.