Being a mother takes a lot of sacrifice. From the moment the little bundle of joy is welcomed into the world, they become the center of their parents’ world and everything revolves around them.
However, being a working mother is even harder. Between changing diapers, running errands, doing the laundry, and a bunch of other commitments, many mothers, as well as dads, have to either work or attend college. This is true for a young mom named Karen Cunningham.
Karen is a biology graduate student and lives in student housing with her husband Steve, who is a mathematics teacher, and their baby daughter Katie.
My favorite new equipment purchase for the lab – a travel crib to go in my office so my graduate student can bring her 9-month old little girl to work when necessary and I get to play with her while her mom gets some work done. Win-win!! pic.twitter.com/1R7QKprOLr
— Troy Littleton (@JTroyLittleton) May 7, 2021
Although Steve is in charge of the little one while Karen is at the lab, she is sometimes forced to take her daughter with her at the MIT university that she attends. Speaking to The Washington Post, Karen says: “It really was a little stressful to have the world shut down in the middle of our pregnancy, then give birth knowing we were going on this big adventure without all of the infrastructure we needed.” Because of the pandemic, the school’s day care had to be shut down and that made things even more complicated for these parents.
But, you know what they say, it takes a village to raise a child, and Karen has her own “village” that stepped in for her and baby Katie.
Namely, one of her professors, Troy Littleton, understands just how important school is for Karen and other young moms who attend his classes and he’s going above and beyond to make things easier for them. This time, as they couldn’t throw a baby shower for Karen because of the pandemic, he decided to place a crib inside his office. “We couldn’t have a shower for Karen due to the pandemic, but we all agreed that a portable crib would be the perfect gift,” the thoughtful professor said.
This way, whenever Karen is forced to take Katie with her, she leaves her in the office with professor Littleton so she could work in the lab.
Karen and Katie’s crib made it to NBC Boston News — Katie is the cutest 10 month old movie star I know! pic.twitter.com/LlHO5GzKyO
— Troy Littleton (@JTroyLittleton) May 21, 2021
“Child care in any profession is a challenge, but in science, it can even be more challenging,” Littleton said. “Experiments don’t always fit a 9-to-5 schedule. It just made sense for Karen to bring Katie in.”
Once the story about Karen and professor Littleton went viral after a photo of the crib was posted online, this incredible man received the praise of a huge number of people who couldn’t help but comment. Once person wrote: “So much better than when I was told to bring my baby in a backpack and put the backpack on the floor while I did experiments with carcinogenic agents.”
“Still a postdoc, but will definitely be doing this if I ever make it to your side of the desk! Well done!” someone else added.
“I’m glad it had that effect because we need to be solving these issues, both in academia and on a broader level as well,” Littleton told Good Morning America.
One thing is certain; we need more professors like Mr. Littleton who make a change in the lives of their students.