Monthly Archives: May 2010

Leave of absence or let’s call it a sabbatical…

Last night, after I tucked my boys into bed, after I read them one extra story than usual, after I kissed them all over and came back and kissed koala and teddy and penguin and moosey because "they love mama too" and after I put on the boys' favourite lullaby CD (because you DON'T want to hear me sing… it is anything but soothing to an innocent child's ears), I closed the door to their bedroom. And then CRASH: The now familiar smack of guilt and dread. Now, you have to understand that my baseline emotional state is at least 30% guilt no matter where I am and what I'm doing. After all, I hadn't come home early enough to make the home-cooked meal I had intended; instead I passed on the duty of reheating last night's leftovers to my nanny. I hadn't picked up the kids' vitamins for 3 days running now, preferring to get home in time to play with them a little before bedtime. I also had left work too early to finish what was due last week; finishing the job would have meant missing bathtime.

But the guilty feelings coupled with dread that were mounting now as I closed my boys' door were about this dear blog. I have been writing in this space for over a year now and I have honestly LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the experience. I would never have predicted how much I would get from writing the blog and so much of it has had to do with you, your comments, your questions, your emails, your support. But in the last month or so, the feeling that I have been neglecting this space — and letting myself down in the process — has become a tad too much to bear. So I need to take an "official" break, one that will allow me to return when I have more time, energy and motivation to write about the things that really excite me and that might interest you.

I also wanted to let you know that there's a damn good reason I need this break: I'm moving! EVERYTHING! My family, my job, my life… to another freaking CONTINENT!  I've accepted a position as a full professor in the developmental psychopathology program at a university in the Netherlands. It is a HUGE transition, but a very exciting opportunity (mixed with a lot of sadness for leaving my parents and brother and his family back in Toronto). Marc and I are in the throes of trying to figure out some of the most basic details like how one gets a driver's license and bank account in a country that we don't speak the language. (Ugh… don't get me started on the Dutch language… Suffice it to say that my Rosetta Stone tutorials are not exactly catapulting me to fluency). So, the basic math is that the time after my boys go to sleep, the time that I used to spend researching and writing blog entries, has been eaten up entirely by house selling and hunting, frantic google-mapping ancient little towns that I can't pronounce, preparing boatloads of paperwork for our immigration, and so on. 

But here's the thing, I couldn't just take this break without telling you how much I have loved writing this blog and how much I've appreciated your many, MANY insights and thoughtful discourse along the way. I started this space thinking I was going to "disseminate developmental science to real parents in the trenches" and I've come out realizing that I have actually learned more than I've taught. Your comments and emails in the last year have energized my program of research in a way I never would have anticipated and you've inspired new ideas that I can't wait to pursue in the next phase of my career. But most importantly, somehow writing this blog has contributed to a renewed sense of purpose and I think I finally get why. In this space, in the themes and discussions and questions that emerged, I was able to pull together what I'm most moved by: my fascination and love for my children (as well as the heap of frustrations, of course) and my passion for science. I can't tell you how rare it is that I get to explore these parts seamlessly and resonate with others all the while! THAT'S what I'm going to try to do more over the next few years: In this space, when I return, but also in my everyday work and play in the next phase of our life.

I'm not sure when I'll be back… it may be as long as September if things get as crazy as I expect (our move is planned for the end of August). But if you become a fan of this site on Facebook or sign up for the RSS thingy, then you'll know when to come back and check up on me. I really hope you DO come back.

Happy summer, everyone!