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Kari Byron – From MythBuster to Mom

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GeekMom is thrilled to welcome Kari Byron, the female face on the hit Discovery Channel show MythBusters and host of the Science Channel’s new Head Rush, to our site. Kari will be sending us regular updates on life as a MythBuster Mom.

“Holy crap. I am a mom!”

That is seriously what I was thinking as the dust settled around me from shooting a .50 caliber rifle. On my first experiment back from maternity leave, I found myself perched on a hill in a rock quarry aiming a huge firearm at a remote-controlled SUV covered in phone books. But how come I still felt like me? I figured once you become a mom, you settled down and let the waistline of your jeans slowly creep north.

I guess a lot of people thought the same. The first reaction I usually got to the news of my impending little one was, “Your life is about to change. You won’t be jumping out of any more planes.” Or, “Are you still going to work at MythBusters?”

In one respect they were right. My life was about to change. Pregnancy is a hard state of being on its own; but add the aroma of rotting meat, the sounds of gunfire and the haze of a working metal shop and you have a rough sea ahead.

In the beginning, a little nausea and napping under my desk was all I expected. When I really took a look at what I do on a daily basis, however, I realized being a pregnant MythBuster was going to be hard. Welding smoke, paint fumes, mold-making gases are all toxic. Turns out, there is no such thing as fetal earphones for shooting a gun or blasting a bomb. Skydiving, hang gliding, bungee jumping were all out.

None of this seemed like a sacrifice compared to the health of my mini, of course, but 10 months of data collecting was the worst! (That’s right; I said 10 months. Let’s bust that nine-month myth right now.)

Then Stella Ruby arrived. All the exciting experiences that I watched from a safe distance were completely dwarfed by the adventure I was just about to begin. Everything did change, but not the way I expected.

“You will take less risks as a mom,” everyone told me. What?! I am still me. I don’t hold back from doing daring things. Of course I still jump out of planes! What really changed was that my everyday life has become a profoundly blissful experience. I get just as excited about peek-a-boo as I do about counting down an explosion.

Even though I will have to eat live bugs this season and possibly handle poop, I am not fazed. I still do exciting, daredevil, and wild things — but now I do them so that my little girl will know that a mommy can distinguish between a C4 and an ANFO explosion.

If I want my daughter to be an adventurous independent woman who doesn’t shy away from new experiences, I will have to be that woman too.

Kari Byron is a born tinkerer and explorer. By the age of 5, she was experimenting on her sister and using dolls as crash test dummies. Luckily for her parents, they always caught her right before her little sister took a ride down a laundry chute or was the subject of an “around-the-world” attempt on the playground swings. Kari began her career as a sculptor and painter before finding her dream jobs on MythBusters and Head Rush, where she gets to explore and experiment to her heart’s content. Kari lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and one-year-old daughter.

And remember: the all-new season of MythBusters starts this Wednesday, October 6th at 9pm et/pt on the Discovery Channel.

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Kari Byron is a born tinkerer and explorer. By the age of 5, she was experimenting on her sister and using dolls as crash test dummies. Luckily for her parents, they always caught her right before her little sister took a ride down a laundry chute or was the subject of an "around-the-world" attempt on the playground swings. Kari began her career as a sculptor and painter before finding her dream jobs on MythBusters and Head Rush, where she gets to explore and experiment to her heart’s content. Kari lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and daughter.

50 Comments
  1. Hi Kari,

    I’m not a new mom, but a new dad. I have a 7 week old, and it’s awesome. Congrats on your mini, and on the success Mythbusters has had. I’m a super fan.
    I enjoyed your article and hope you have time to post more in the future. Give us some cool stuff to do with our little one’s, I’m trying to mold a super Geek over here. Maybe you guys could do a Mythbusters kids special, since most of the myths you guys do, aren’t safe to do at home… EVER!

    Peace.

  2. Hi Kari,

    I’m not a new mom, but a new dad. I have a 7 week old, and it’s awesome. Congrats on your mini, and on the success Mythbusters has had. I’m a super fan.
    I enjoyed your article and hope you have time to post more in the future. Give us some cool stuff to do with our little one’s, I’m trying to mold a super Geek over here. Maybe you guys could do a Mythbusters kids special, since most of the myths you guys do, aren’t safe to do at home… EVER!

    Peace.

  3. Kari,

    Being a mom has made me more fearless, more efficient and less freaked out by poop, pee, snot, blood and vomit.

    Working on MB you had a leg up on that.

    I think being a mom has made me more confident, more considerate and more careful, too.

    Rock on sister! And your little baby girl is lucky to have a mom with such a fun job. Enjoy the ride.

  4. Kari,

    Being a mom has made me more fearless, more efficient and less freaked out by poop, pee, snot, blood and vomit.

    Working on MB you had a leg up on that.

    I think being a mom has made me more confident, more considerate and more careful, too.

    Rock on sister! And your little baby girl is lucky to have a mom with such a fun job. Enjoy the ride.

  5. “Possibly handle poop”? Coming from a dad of two, that’s a definite, not a possibility. It’s just that you won’t be getting paid for it in cash.

  6. “Possibly handle poop”? Coming from a dad of two, that’s a definite, not a possibility. It’s just that you won’t be getting paid for it in cash.

  7. Hi Kari,

    I am a huge fan! Thanks for posting on GeekMom! I am now a fan of this website!!

  8. Hi Kari,

    I am a huge fan! Thanks for posting on GeekMom! I am now a fan of this website!!

  9. Kari, don’t you handle poop EVERY day now? :D Congrats on the new little one!

  10. Kari, don’t you handle poop EVERY day now? :D Congrats on the new little one!

  11. Icelander

    I think it’s important that we bust the myth that becoming a parent fundamentally changes who you are and what you enjoy. High school sex ed classes have scared too many people who would otherwise be awesome parents into thinking that it would be the end of their lives to have kids.

    People can still do awesome things after they have kids! Thanks to Kari for showing everyone how true this is.

    • anonymous

      With all due respect, Icelander, we don’t need to encourage more people to have kids. There are already enough people on this planet, and lots of people reproducing who have no business doing so. And people, especially women, like myself who don’t want kids get enough pressure as it is.

      Kari is great, and I’m sure she’ll do a fine job with Stella Ruby, but, please, we certainly don’t need to convince people to have more children.

      • Don’t be a douche about icelanders comment.. He was simply pointing out that some sex ed class’s make people freak out.. Which can lead to bad things.. Get off your high chair!

  12. Icelander

    I think it’s important that we bust the myth that becoming a parent fundamentally changes who you are and what you enjoy. High school sex ed classes have scared too many people who would otherwise be awesome parents into thinking that it would be the end of their lives to have kids.

    People can still do awesome things after they have kids! Thanks to Kari for showing everyone how true this is.

    • anonymous

      With all due respect, Icelander, we don’t need to encourage more people to have kids. There are already enough people on this planet, and lots of people reproducing who have no business doing so. And people, especially women, like myself who don’t want kids get enough pressure as it is.

      Kari is great, and I’m sure she’ll do a fine job with Stella Ruby, but, please, we certainly don’t need to convince people to have more children.

      • Don’t be a douche about icelanders comment.. He was simply pointing out that some sex ed class’s make people freak out.. Which can lead to bad things.. Get off your high chair!

  13. Hey Kari Congrats on the new mini!! Can’t wait to see you on the new season hope Stella can make a mini cameo!! Get out there and show all us mom’s how it’s done!!

  14. Hey Kari Congrats on the new mini!! Can’t wait to see you on the new season hope Stella can make a mini cameo!! Get out there and show all us mom’s how it’s done!!

  15. Kari,

    As a young woman who is wondering if its possible to have children, do what you love, and be able to balance both while maintaining your sense of self

    Thanks!
    =)

  16. Kari,

    As a young woman who is wondering if its possible to have children, do what you love, and be able to balance both while maintaining your sense of self

    Thanks!
    =)

  17. So you missed out on the transplantation of personality too?

    Allthough i love spending time with the kid, i also like the stuff i used to like. Something that comfuses people. I’m happy to see that keeping the ‘me’ and passing on the “new and improved” stepford version, is just normal.

  18. So you missed out on the transplantation of personality too?

    Allthough i love spending time with the kid, i also like the stuff i used to like. Something that comfuses people. I’m happy to see that keeping the ‘me’ and passing on the “new and improved” stepford version, is just normal.

  19. Nice to know that you will still be as crazy as the rest of the crew. Hey guys, never change, OK? Best.Show.Ever

  20. Nice to know that you will still be as crazy as the rest of the crew. Hey guys, never change, OK? Best.Show.Ever

  21. Kay

    Love the show. And congrats on your mini!

    I’ve always been terribly confused by moms who become convinced that their lives will get smaller when they have kids. If that’s true, why do it?! My goodness. Sure, some aspects of life become much more focused, but I’ve found that plenty of moms (and dads) do things they never would have done before they had kids. It’s almost as if we keep growing up in spite of being ‘full grown’ – amazing!

    Great post, Kari!

  22. Kay

    Love the show. And congrats on your mini!

    I’ve always been terribly confused by moms who become convinced that their lives will get smaller when they have kids. If that’s true, why do it?! My goodness. Sure, some aspects of life become much more focused, but I’ve found that plenty of moms (and dads) do things they never would have done before they had kids. It’s almost as if we keep growing up in spite of being ‘full grown’ – amazing!

    Great post, Kari!

  23. Cassie

    Hey Kari —

    My mom was a powder monkey for an explosives crew and had other adventurous jobs. It was great for my sisters and I to know we could do anything — my mom was a living example.

    Stay safe for your baby — but otherwise, enjoy!

  24. Cassie

    Hey Kari —

    My mom was a powder monkey for an explosives crew and had other adventurous jobs. It was great for my sisters and I to know we could do anything — my mom was a living example.

    Stay safe for your baby — but otherwise, enjoy!

  25. Hey Kari. I love Mythbusters, my husband, son(even though he’s only 4 months old), and I watch almost everyday! being a new mom is a lot of work, but very fun. And it pays off when that little baby looks up at you and smiles. Congrats on your baby =]

  26. Hey Kari. I love Mythbusters, my husband, son(even though he’s only 4 months old), and I watch almost everyday! being a new mom is a lot of work, but very fun. And it pays off when that little baby looks up at you and smiles. Congrats on your baby =]

  27. Maybe poop? No, you get constant poop.

    I don’t understand those people who hit the magic milestone and turned into boring grownups. Maybe when I turn 50.

  28. Maybe poop? No, you get constant poop.

    I don’t understand those people who hit the magic milestone and turned into boring grownups. Maybe when I turn 50.

  29. Jordan Evans

    So when does your daughter get to shoot a .50 cal? That picture alone is enough to assure your child that they have an awesome mom. Don’t worry I’m sure they will still be embarrassed by you plenty.

  30. Jordan Evans

    So when does your daughter get to shoot a .50 cal? That picture alone is enough to assure your child that they have an awesome mom. Don’t worry I’m sure they will still be embarrassed by you plenty.

  31. Anthony

    You rock, Kari! as a new parent myself, I agree it certainly does make you happier to be yourself. Its like all the pieces suddenly fit beautifully together. Rock on girl and I’ll see you tonight at 7.30 on my local TV station :)

  32. Anthony

    You rock, Kari! as a new parent myself, I agree it certainly does make you happier to be yourself. Its like all the pieces suddenly fit beautifully together. Rock on girl and I’ll see you tonight at 7.30 on my local TV station :)

  33. [...] Kari Byron – From MythBuster to Mom | GeekMom | Wired.comMeet, watch video and see pictures of Kari Byron of Discovery Channel’s series MythBusters. Read Kari Byron’s bio on the official Mythbusters fansite. [...]

  34. [...] Kari Byron – From MythBuster to Mom | GeekMom | Wired.comMeet, watch video and see pictures of Kari Byron of Discovery Channel’s series MythBusters. Read Kari Byron’s bio on the official Mythbusters fansite. [...]

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