Wednesday, February 27, 2013


It took me a long time to really feel comfortable in my new skin of being an academic and a parent. At my last post doc, I would feel apologetic about interrupting a skype session to put Epsilon back to sleep, or about only being available to meet in the evenings after his bed time.

I've always known that I shouldn't be apologetic. I've heard all the rhetoric about not explaining that I can't attend for family reasons, and just being point blank about having other appointments. Knowing doesn't imply feeling. I tried to follow all the "don't apologize for procreating" rules and watched what I said to colleagues, but that didn't change the fact that I felt apologetic.

I'm realizing that this is changing. I don't know if this is because I am changing, or I am interacting with a different set of colleagues, or something else completely. I feel no guilt saying I am available from 8:30-4 pm and 7-10 pm, knowing full well that chunks of this period are unthinkably early, or dinner time for my colleagues.

Last night, Epsilon came out of his bedroom and curled up asleep in my lap while I was mid meeting. It was nice being able to excuse myself, turn of the bedroom light and continue the conversation in hushed tones. It was even nicer when my colleague apologized for eating while skyping, I was able to give a rejoinder about snoring three year olds. Much of the credit goes to how comfortable I feel with this colleague, but I think I could now do this for people I keep a more arms length relationship with.

I think for me, confidence is not marked by when I can confidently excuse myself from an obligation without giving a reasons, but when I CAN be honest about what my life looks like, even in a mildly hostile environment.

I'm not all the way there, but it's good to see that I'm making progress.

*Epsilon is 3, and I'm just writing this post. 

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