This has been one of those academic 'perfect storm' weeks in terms of having a huge number of events occur in the same week, sometimes at the same time. At one point today, I realized I needed to be in two different places on campus at the same time. I have not had breakfast or lunch for days. Adding to what would have been an insanely busy week anyway, my husband has been out of town most of the week, our daughter was in a school play, I organized a 2-day workshop, and I am hosting two international visitors. I leave town this weekend, soon after my husband returns, and I am not yet ready for that trip or for the 2 trips that will follow it in quick succession. Add to that some teaching, meetings, deadlines, students, the undergrad class I am taking.. You get the idea. It's actually been a fun week, albeit hectic.
I've been doing just fine, mostly, and even worked things out so that I could have several dinners with the visitors (thanks to help from babysitters). Tonight, however, The School Play was taking place in the evening, so I arranged for four of my grad students to have dinner with the visitors, one of whom is leaving tomorrow. This afternoon, a postdoc (not one of mine) criticized me in front of a group of faculty and students for not having dinner with the departing guest on the last night of his visit. This postdoc is from the same country as the visitor, and on that basis felt compelled to point out my apparently rude behavior. Perhaps I was violating some etiquette rule in that country, but my visitor was aware of why I wasn't dining with him tonight -- we had dinner together last night, and spent some time talking about our families -- and he was looking forward to spending time with the students. My grad students are perfectly capable of entertaining a visitor. They are doing exciting research, and are friendly, interesting people.
I explained to the concerned postdoc that my daughter was in a school play this evening, but I got the feeling that this only partly excused me. The "mommy card" is not an ace, by any means.
8 months ago