A long due update

by Lilia Efimova on May 5, 2011

It’s hard starting after a break – there are way too many stories to tell and way too many thoughts that came in between. So I start somewhere.

I had a burnout – going on and off after my PhD defense and not very obvious behind the usual “not feeling normal” during my pregnancy. But eventually it came to the surface and things are slowly getting better. Between other things that means less time online (and mainly lurking :) and much more time making things with my hands (rather then typing and talking :).

And, of course, we had Anna. With her all the background thinking and feeling about “work, us and our kids” surfaced again. Only this time I didn’t have an excuse of having a PhD to finish, so I had to deal with it, making choices that I had to make to stay true to myself (like extending my maternity leave to the maximum possible).

And, with Alexander approaching school age, it was also a time to rethink all thoughts I had about learning and education from a very personal perspective. It’s much easier to think and write about learning as what it could be or learning as “this is how I want to learn”, but practicing what you preach when it comes to your own kids is far more difficult. Especially since you easily bump into lots of real constraints of the society you belong to.

The process is still on the way, but a few things are clear so far:

- I’m leaving work. I’m pretty sure I want to be active professionally, but I have to figure out a different way to do it. (Some say that a burnout is a signal that something is out of balance pretty badly :)

- Time to reinvent life to fit our kids there. Not as inconvinience or as a a well-fenced part, but as an integral part of how things work. In a short term that means being a mother more than everything else and focusing on the local physical world more than paying attention to the global network.

- Unschooling as a shortcut name for educational trajectory we find important for our kids and figuring out what does it mean in practice. May be a bit cryptic right now, but there is lots in the pipeline and I just have to figure out how to put it into words. Funny to think that I started this blog from an “edublogging” angle, then moved to all other topics, but now it feels that I’ll be back where I started very soon.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Peter Albion May 6, 2011 at 11:42

It’s great to see you back. Dealing with kids is a great joy but very consuming. As a grandparent of 9 (father of 3) I understand that very well. I’ll look forward to following your journey through the education of your children but I’m sure they will have a great advantage with you as mother.

2 Carl Bärstad May 9, 2011 at 2:13

Hi Lilia!

My name is Carl Bärstad and I am currently writing my thesis for the center of Innovation at Lund University where I investigate if Research Blogs is the future of Science Communication. I am currently reading your dissertation Passion at Work and couldn’t help but check out this blog. I’m sorry if this comment does not directly relate to your post but I guess commenting on it is a way for me to get your attention =).

My thesis is based on my project Sparkling Science (www.sparklingscience.com), which aims to increase research transparency and make academic knowledge more accessible to society. I am a true believer in the power of science and learning to change the world for the better. I guess my own pursuit of new knowledge and my passion for learning new things corresponds very much to your own (from reading your dissertation), which is why I’m writing on your blog. My favorite quote, which in a way summarizes my own values, is the following by Leonardo Da Vinci:

“Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets”.

Did I get your attention? =)
Maybe you could help me promote my project sparklingscience.com by tweeting or blogging about it a little? Or by uploading a link to your blog on our supporter wall (which you can do at our website)? I hope we can stay in touch in the future!

Kind Regards
/Carl Bärstad (Student at Lund University)

3 Esther June 2, 2011 at 10:49

Hi Lilia,

Hemelvaartsdag is a good day to spend time to respond to your blog posting from some time ago. Good to see you back again blogging, but sorry to hear that you had a burnout. As I read your posting, I think you have been learning a lot from it, but the hard way. I wish you all the best with finding your new work-life balance, and hope to see your blog starting again.

Best wishes, Esther

4 Nancy White June 3, 2011 at 12:39

While I’ve not been communicative, I’ve been thinking about y’all… I can’t wait to see how this path unfolds for y’all. I expect it to be both beautiful and full of learning.

5 Derek July 15, 2011 at 2:25

I really don’t like the term work/life it implies when you are working you are not ‘living’. There is something muchbetter than our current prevalent attitudes.

May you go well figuring out your path. Kids are important. A burnout is not the end – Derek

6 Barbara Dieu July 20, 2011 at 12:26

“Unschooling as a shortcut name for educational trajectory we find important for our kids and figuring out what does it mean in practice.”
I’m looking forward to reading about this reflection in and on action one day. In the meantime, just live and enjoy your kids and family fully in the local physical without regrets. Time flies too quickly!

7 Bridget August 28, 2011 at 9:33

Hello Lilia,

My name is Bridget and I am currently a student at the Universtiy of Southern California studying Geological Sciences. I’m so impressed that you worked so hard to get a phD and have a family in the midst of all this academia. It must be extremely difficult, but I know that I want to get a phD one day and also try to have a family. Both of those things wont happen for a long time, but I know this must be so difficult for you.
I have two older sisters who recently had children. One of my sisters went back to work and the other one does not plan on going back to work. From what I’ve seen and heard from them, motherhood is a full time job. Do not feel bad about extending a maternity leave or focusing on motherhood. Fostering a life is incredibly important, because your children are the world’s future. You will have more time to work later. Keep working hard to balance the priorities in your life!

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