I have found many posts in the blog wide world of scientists blurring the line between career and family, and I believe it is the right message to send. A well rounded individual should not forfeit one aspect of their well being over others. Moreover, life is complicated and most of the time beyond one's control. It would be enlightening for students to see that even with a complicated life, their professors still manage to get the work done (and by the deadlines).
I never kept my personal life a secret, and maybe I have paid a high price for that sometimes. However, I hope that I'm setting a good example to the students in my building with the little merging of personal/professional things I do on a regular basis...
- I gave seminars & journal club while sporting very large pregnancy bellies. Work was a welcome distraction and I worked as long as I could health-wise. I even showed off my hard-to-find maternity labcoat. I attended seminars regularly, even the ones in nearby buildings. I cherished the smiles and chuckled with the "I thought you'd have popped by now" comments.
- I'm the one who brings her kids to lab & department social gatherings unless they explicitly say no children. We take our kids everywhere and that is why we hear so many people say they are well behaved. However, I once took a baby to a dinner with an invited speaker, which was a bit of a distraction when you are trying to talk science. (Somehow the fact that the baby is there makes people want to talk about family instead... all barriers break loose...)
- I'm the one pushing the stroller and totting an almost 3 year old into the department on a Saturday to do little things in lab that will make my week run smoother. If you ask me where their Dada is I'll tell you I'm giving him a 3 hour window to clean the house without distractions.
- I have walked around the department every day for almost a year with the black bag and a heavy duty, bright orange, 10 ft extension cord. If you ask me what I'm doing, I'll tell you it's my milk pump, that I am heading for the ladies room with the couch and that I need the cord because the outlet is at the other side of the room.