Professor Gibson
Thought Bubbles

Take Your Daughter to Work

It is a teacher workday, or as I call it, take your daughter to work day. When you are a professor, you need to be present for class even when it is personally inconvenient. The show goes on and you find a way to teach through it. I try to center myself before every class, push aside life and find a way to be truly present for my students. Try centering yourself with a three-year-old following your every move. On these days, my center looks more like the eye of a storm. I often find myself trying to manage what I perceive to be chaos bouncing down the halls as we walk from class to class.

Why are these days filled with fear, guilt, and shame? I am good at my job. I am a successful professional, a published author, and an award-winning filmmaker. I am an excellent mother. And yet, I fear these days. I am guilty that I am not home more with her. I am ashamed of my situation as my work-life balance is on display for all to see. Where do these feelings come from? There is a subculture that tells me I am a bad mother for working (or better yet, wanting to work). There is another subculture that tells me I need to leave my life at home and work harder than everyone else to prove my worth as a woman.

I may not be able to stop these perceptions or feelings, but what I can control is the voice in my head that fills me with fear, guilt, and shame. So today, as I take my daughter to work, I’ll be telling myself a new narrative. It is important that my daughter sees my strength in the classroom. It is important that my students understand I have a life beyond the classroom. It is important that my colleagues know the realities of this season in my life. My class will go on with the minor distraction of a three-year-old. Today’s class comes with an additional lesson in the importance of work-life balance.