Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mommy's high heels

This is Zoe's favorite book. I bought it directly from the author when Zoe was just a baby so it even has a little handwritten greeting inside "To Zoe with cupcake kisses". It has provided references to Zoe's world since she was old enough to realize that I go somewhere else when I'm not with her: I go to work. I went back to work when she was 4 months, a generous maternity leave in the US where we lived at the time (however, it was obviously without pay) but a very short maternity leave from a Scandinavian perspective. To me this was ideal, I would do it exactly the same way again if I got the choice. The book has provided Zoe with the logical perception that when I put on my high heels (okay, more likely high boots here in the cold Stockholm winter) it is because I have to go to work. When I take them off I have been to work. When I wear flats it is a Zoe day (=weekend).

Recently though we have started talking more specifically about my work. Zoe has been with me to work. She jokingly asks if she can go with me to work in the morning. ("Zoe not daycare, Zoe go mommy work") Today we were especially in a hurry because I overslept a bit, hitting the snooze button for half an hour without really realizing, and I had a funding proposal deadline in the afternoon. Zoe was not corroborating and kept repeating that she didn't want to go to daycare. It doesn't always work just rushing her and in my attempt to practice positive parenting, I try to reason with her rather than ordering her. But how do you explain a funding proposal to a two and a half year old? I went down on my knees and looked straight at her. Then I told her that I had a lot of letters to write to ask some people for money. This money would mean that Zoe could go and visit grandma more often and that we could travel for example to see her friend Milly in Paris. Essentially, this is exactly what research funding will enable me to: I will be able to travel to see co-workers, often dropping Zoe off in Copenhagen, and research funding will enable me to go to conferences, for example in Paris. It will also help me get research students but there seemed to be no direct benefit for Zoe. She thought about it for a moment. Then she said "Ohhhhkay mommy. Zoe go daycare". And so I put on my high heels and managed to submit my funding proposal later in the afternoon.

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