A representative moment

I am at a conference in Central America right now while my kids hang out with Grandma and Papa back in Tennessee. Things here are going really well. In particular, I am elated over how well-received my talks have been and how many exciting contacts I’ve made in my field. It seems to me that people in this organization are unusually open, friendly, and supportive. It has been a week full of new ideas and new friends.

After a long day jam packed with workshops, presentations, and meetings, I finally got a break long enough to FaceTime with my kids. I’ve had a great week and talking to the kids was delightful, yet for some reason, when the call was over, I felt overcome with emotion and had to just sit there and let myself cry for a few seconds, maybe the count of 10. Then I went to the bathroom, cleaned up my face, and went to the next event.

Granted, I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve, so I am no stranger to a power-cry between activities. (Who’s with me? I can’t be the only one out there that expresses every single emotion, can I?)

That moment somehow felt representative of my work-life imbalance. No matter where I am or how well things are going, there’s always something pulling me in another direction. Sometimes I need a break to really experience the depth of that conflict before I dust myself off and get back to work.

I’ve had a few conversations with other academic moms here. From what I can tell, we are all in the same boat.


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