This whole business about social expectations, family and career is very complicated. Here are a few more things that I've experienced directly. It may not apply to everyone, but probably more than just me. \n\n1. Even with an amazingly supportive husband who helps with child care, there are still some major physiological challenges when you're Mom. Between the discomforts of pregnancy, hormones, and accidentally having my child convert from a daytime to a nighttime feeding pattern, which then distrupted my child's (and my) sleeping patterns, I didn't have a complete nights' sleep for 4 years straight. Try reading the latest research article after chronic sleep depravation. There was a brief time when I couldn't actually DO science, which was incredibly frightening and depressing. I found support groups for new moms, but these only dealt with how to deal with the baby, not how to keep going in your high-powered career and still be a good mom. The other moms were great, but they were stay-at-home moms or had less demanding careers. If you are a man or woman academic with children, offer support and encouragement, and baby advice to those new moms among you. They are generally far away from their families, and may be the first in their cohort to have a child and really nervous about how this will all work out. (I should add at this point that my child and husband are the loves of my life and I wouldn't have it any other way).\n\n2. It's sad to say, but social expectations are still different for men and for women. I'm talking about the finer points of interpersonal interactions. I am a pretty outspoken person, and what I've learned over the years is that people sometimes get offended when you look like you should be a "nice girl" but instead speak out on issues and hang tough, refusing to conform to their expectations. As a grad student and postdoc it has been mostly OK because one can always escape the situation if it gets really bad and one is buffered by your supervisor (as long as they are supportive). As a faculty member, however, it's more challenging. And I'm really sad to say that I've had the most trouble from the occasional older female colleague who views me with a double standard, discounting my accomplishments (or attributing them to male collaborators) while insisting that my work is not good enough even though it is comparable to my young male colleagues. These particular older females genrally don't have children/families, and so don't understand the huge time demands that families take. They undoubtedly faced a much harder battle in their day, but don't understand that times have changed. And yet there is still that female culture thing -- they get offended when you don't take their advice or flat out disagree. Since they are senior to you, it can be quite oppressive. The funny thing is that I've been lucky with senior male colleagues -- they seem to be more laid back for one thing, and most of them have had children so they understand the demands of parenthood. I do have great senior female colleagues too -- but when it's bad it can be really bad. So if you see this going on with your female colleague -- please give support. Better yet, stick up for them! \n\n3. Finally, I think the toughest part of starting up a new lab is recruiting good students and postdocs. Because of the tough job market out there, having a position available can be akin to winning the lottery. Sometimes people come knocking at your door who are going to be trouble. We all lack training in this. I've made a bad choice or two in this area, because I wasn't critical enough. The good ones are no problem, of course. But somehow because I'm a woman it seems like those folks with "sob stories" feel more liberated to share. And I've gotten sucked in because I've experienced a few injustices myself (and am admittedly naive when it comes to judging people), making too many allowances for lack of sufficient performance on their CV's. I don't think I'll make those mistakes again, but it sure would have been nice if we gave all of our younger colleagues pointers on interviewing and selecting personnel. Especially when to say no. \n\nIt is a pretty complex world we live in, and making it in academics is hard, whether you are male or female. I've read with great interest some of the comments above. Many people are supportive, which I appreciate, but some seem to think that there is no difference between men and women. Maybe these differences are not huge, but sometimes they matter a great deal to someone experiencing distress. I think it is easier to make it in this world if we recognize these different tendencies so that we can better understand our behaviors, demands upon us, and interpretations. It is possible to have a great career and a great family life, but it sure would be nice if it were a little easier!