Our daughters have different personalities and being self employed I often felt as if I was cheating one or the other by being in my office at home and not in the living room with them. As they grew up, their needs changed and things settled out to our house being a place open to all their teenage friends who seemed to need the security of a home environment that was both neutral and safe, but not indifferent.

As kids grow they seem to need to shed the history of relationships or behavioral miss-steps that can trap them in the negative expectations of others. Guess I’m saying being supportive and trusting can sometimes substitute for being “there” always. The nature and knowledge of caring travels with the child and can sustain them when parents are away. But strong needs can arise without warning and to not recognize our primary obligation to our kids and NOT our careers is to not understand us as humans.

Not understanding the “chemistry” of parenting and the resulting push and pull on early career academics–or any committed person really–cheats all of us of their contributions. That makes this a social issue and not “just” personal.