How Having a Baby Made Me a Better Tester
Time to think
What? Having a baby gave you more time?? Crazy! There are so many moments with a little baby where your brain has nothing else to do aside from thinking. Babies eat or sleep pretty much all the time (and cry...some babies do that too). And when my baby wasn't eating or sleeping she wanted to go on walks outside. Once she was about three months old she would notice when my eyes were on a phone instead of her so it was time to put the phone away and just stare at those lil' baby eyes.
During these times of intense eye contact I've been able to just think instead of consuming whatever the internet has for me. I've been surprised with how many problems I've been able to solve with all this thinking. Automation puzzles I'd worked on for weeks, new ideas for writing, fully planned out test sessions, you name it. I've been pleasantly surprised at what my brain is capable of when it's not being bombarded with stimuli.
The Ability to Slow Down
Lil' babies don't do much running around nor do they require intense emotional support. They just want a buddy to sit with them while they stack blocks. And there is a lot of this sitting around time. It was probably one of the most difficult things for me to learn. To just sit with my child and interact with them rather than listening to a podcast while baking cookies, sewing a cosplay costume and running automation (my usual weekend activities).
You know what slowing down does for you? It's called "rest" and it actually allows you to be more focused when you're working. Crazy right?? Somehow, after having a kid my work is better, my house is cleaner and I've been better at accomplishing those annoying tasks. I mean I'm not living in a fairytale and there are definitely dirty dishes in the sink and a week's worth of laundry in the hamper...but I don't feel anxious about it! Because I am rested.
A Maternal Refresh
Maternity leave is granted to allow for mothers to heal and to allow bonding with the baby. Both of these are important, but what I did not expect was how this break would refresh my passion for testing. I was fortunate enough to be able to take three months to bond with my babe. While the first month was mostly spent healing, the second and third months I spent my spare time diving into the testing world. I attended a conference, worked on automation, and even built my own Chrome extension. I was able to spend time on my passions while my LO napped.
When my leave was up and I went back to work I had minimal "mom guilt". I had spent so much time snuggling with my babe that I didn't feel like I was missing out when it was time for me to get back into things. I was actually excited to get back in the saddle and test again. In fact, I attended a testing conference during my leave because I just couldn't wait.
Unfortunately, a lot of fathers don't get this same benefit. I'm not sure why the general assumption in America is that men don't need bonding time with their infants because it is FALSE. Studies have shown that time spent bonding with fathers positively impacted cognitive function in infants (source). I recognize that not all family's are made up of a mother and father, in these instances the importance of early bonding is equally important (source) and should be prioritized by those in positions of authority.
Okay, getting off the soapbox now, thanks for listening.
Are you considering whether or not having a baby will hurt your career? If a baby will take up all that time you need for work? I'd argue that having children forces better time management and you end up being more productive. That's just my opinion though!
Do you have kids? How does having children impact you as a tester?
Do you prefer pets to people? If yes, please attach pictures of any and all pets you have...it's important.