When in Rome, Eat Chocolate and Data

Have you ever wondered what children of academics do for fun? I have your answer. It’s a bit alarming. You’ll want to sit down for this.

A few weeks ago I was invited to be a part of a panel at our university (my partner and I both teach there) for the Delta Phi Epsilon Professional Foreign Service Pi Chapter Sorority. Clearly, it was fancy. They wanted me to talk about “intercultural communication” since I spent some time living and teaching in Brazil. The other professors on the panel were fancy, too.  It turned out to be a lively conversation which concluded in me making a public rant against our family policies in this country versus other societies in which I’ve lived. They gave me a brief soapbox, so I took it. The room was full of smart, earnest young women who raised the roof when I lectured on what it really means to be a working mom in a country that is often offended by public breast feeding.  They were shocked to learn that as a high school teacher in a public school I didn’t have maternity leave. And if my kids got sick, I went without pay. And that my salary exactly equaled the monthly cost of health insurance and childcare. I was unleashed. In my defense they’d asked why more women didn’t seek public office in our country. I suggested it may have to do with our policies toward families i.e. birth control, childcare, etc. I suggested that my struggles were minimal compared to a woman without an education, a job, healthcare, and an equal partner. Whew.

As a thank you for not actually baring my chest and nursing a child in front of them, the sorority gave me a beautiful pen set and a coffee mug from AU filled with chocolate. Like a good working woman, I was hiding my children outside the door to the lecture hall. My talk concluded at 7:30 p.m. and my partner had to teach at 8:00 so we were doing the childcare shuffle. You’d think Piper and Sissy would be proud of their mom, right? Raising awareness and fighting for their feminist futures, right? Nope. They saw the chocolate and clobbered me.

When we got home, they did what normal kids do: they ate the chocolate.

But then, they began sorting and collecting data.

Piper did the sorting and the eating. Sissy took notes. The children of academics know good data when they see it. So, of course, the next logical step was to prepare a presentation.  You have to share your results with other academics, you see. A power point presentation is a must.

Once the research was concluded and the data was collected, they moved on to making meaning out of all of this chocolate. Piper continued to eat the data.

And now you know what the children of academics do for fun and why you don’t ask their mommy a question unless you really want to know the answer.