One aspect of being the away-parent is that you miss all the important meetings. The parents of the Number One Son’s class had meetings with Mrs Teacher last week. Naturally, I got the report from Archaeologist Husband the same day, but felt my current unpowerment in the situation. Number One Son’s meeting was extra long due to the assessment of his current development. He is firmly behind all the others across the field, but since he seems otherwise happy and balanced – at least at home – this may pass. In Finland the rule of thumb is that the differences in development can be wide until about seven or eight, but naturally, Number One Son has his speech difficulties to overcome, too.
At the same time the slight uneasiness resulting from my employment situation is starting to creep in. I am half-way through my contract and I am just one in the vast mass of postdoctoral researchers, employed or ‘free’, who are chasing the diminishing resources. I can do some applications, but I also have to keep my eye on the ball: there are certain things I definitely have to do this year – job next winter or not. Publish and perish in the academic world basically makes the difference for people like me between my family having food on the table for one more year - or not. The whole point of being a Skype Mom is to provide for the family – something that men have done for a long time. Naturally, there is the academic side of it, but the only way to explain being away to myself, to my family and to others is that there is a greater good in this.