First time away from the girl

June 23, 2011

Tomorrow I head out for my first work conference since Dot was born. It’s the American Libraries Association conference, and it’s in New Orleans, and I used to quite like attending these things. This year however, I’m discovering new facets of work travel.

1. The professional, official take:

It’s an opportunity for professional development, continuing education, and networking.

2. The fun take:

It’s an opportunity to pick up galleys and arcs of upcoming books, find out what colleagues are doing in their libraries, say hello to people I hardly ever get to see, and eat delicious food in New Orleans.

3. The exasperated mom take:

It’s three entire nights with a bathroom all to myself. I’m going to shave my legs and paint my toenails and wear clean clothes.

4. The incipient anxiety attack take:

Oh, my god. How can I leave Dot? Oh, my god. What the hell was I thinking? I’m going to burst into tears every time I see a small child, and goodness knows I’ve already done enough of that. She’s still nursing. She will miss me. N will never get her to sleep. She’ll feel like I’ve abandoned her and it will completely wreck her self-esteem, and I’ll come home to find the two people I love most in the world looking at me all hollow-eyed and accusing – You left us. How could you leave us? And that’s if they’re both still alive when I get home. Oh, my god. What if something happens to them? What if Dot ends up in the hospital and I’m two time zones away? For that matter, what if my plane crashes? What the hell was I thinking? (Repeat, ad nauseam.)

Wish me luck. And, if you have a moment, tell me it will be okay. I don’t mind if you lie.


  1. Oh Erica, I feel for you! I had my first night away from Angus just a month or so ago, and I wont lie, it was tough. Just one night, but two full days so this will be so much harder for you. And at least for us, we were going away for a wedding, nothing work related. I also had Simon with me, so had to just trust that he’d be ok with Nannie while I was gone. And he was (though she did end up in the bed with him). The only other thing was, he’d recently weaned so I didn’t have to worry about depriving him of his precious boobies.
    Ok, so all that to say this will be hard, and I have no real advice! I hope it goes quickly. Do make the most of the solo bathroom privileges though!

  2. Good food and people you don’t get to see often sounds good.
    Bed to yourself and no middle of the night wake up call sounds good too.
    That last one, no so much. It will be fine.
    The first time I left Kathleen overnight was to have Elizabeth. Three nights away was very strange, though I got to see her briefly each day.

  3. Well, I have no direct experience with this but I think you will manage to get through it. Can you use Skype? That might help a bit. Good luck.

  4. Good luck to you. Hope it’s heavy on the good part and low on the anxiety.

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