Usually this familiar expression is used with a negative, as in, “You can do it, it’s not rocket science”. What is? Life has taught that only one subject is really rocket science: bringing up children. Just think about it. In spite of all advances in science and research, nobody can explain why some people have babies at the drop of a hat so to speak while others try for years and may never reach their dream of becoming parents. Nobody can predict if a baby might develop complications, nor can one choose the baby’s future sex. Nobody knows why some babies are born with congenital defects though there are huge advances in genetics; nor are there satisfactory explanations as to why sometimes a genius is born in an average family and why a child of two geniuses shows no inclination to become one. Isn’t it amazing that while we have to take lots of examinations, undergo various evaluations, acquire specific skills for any profession and continue our education forever before we can hope for a decent position in science, education and research, we need none of the above for parenthood? How often do we watch the same story in a TV show, a movie and hear the same in real life. So they met in a bar, got drunk, spent a night together, and then she had a baby. I’m sure that in real life such a situation is not comedic or funny. Again, nobody can predict what may happen next. Will she keep the baby or give it up for adoption? Will the baby grow up all right or become a bitter sociopath?
Today, there are plenty of terms which did not exist a few decades ago. Biological and adoptive parents, foster parents, surrogate mothers… Even when a baby is born in a two-parent family, as in father and mother, the mother often gets back to work really fast. I was quite shocked to see my US colleagues come back to work on Monday after giving birth on Friday. Who takes care of the baby? Who loves and cherishes it for twelve hours a day every weekday? Maybe this is one of the reasons today’s society is so askew. A baby-sitter will change nappies, feed the baby and put it to sleep. They are not mothers.
So here is the rocket science. Educated people can plan together and decide in advance how they are going to do it. The woman carries the baby to term and gives birth. But it takes two to make one, so the two prospective parents expect and try to get ready together. The new arrival indeed puts a stop to life as we know it, which is very good. Now there is a new sense in our life, a new purpose. We know why we are here. There is nothing we cannot do. Arrange our schedules not only on a day-to-day basis, but also long-term ones. Who goes to work when, who stays home, what can be done as a family. Yes, it is possible to attend a conference as a family. Yes, it is possible to arrange any schedule and to agree who does the thesis or whatever else first.
Just think about it. You are a family you both manage to work and take care of the baby or children – you mastered rocket science!