Skip to main content

Shame about being a mother and an academic


A recent pseudonymous article in The Chronicle of Higher Education brings to light a theme that I've heard from academic mothers in the Writing Club. They struggle with a feeling of shame, starting in graduate school, when they have to "admit" that they are parents. This feeling of shame is not necessarily brought on by the particular person or situation that they are dealing with at the moment, but by the attitude that they feel is rampant in academia, towards any non-scholarly activity in academia. For example, one person wrote, "I once APOLOGIZED to my advisor (when I had my first child) for being a mom in academia."

This gets back to the theme I've been writing about lately; that of finding balance in academia. If the appropriate amount of balance existed, then it should be possible for half of the human race to participate equally in academia while raising a family. While not feeling ashamed.

Comments

  1. I don't feel ashamed for being a mum in academia - but I do feel torn. I have to put the family first, and I can't just apply for jobs wherever they come up. That results in my having already mentally resigned myself to hanging onto the day-job and hoping to find odd "extra" lecturing opportunities rather than try to change career at the age of 50. According to UK legislation, my applications can't be age-discriminated. However, my commonsense tells me that someone young and zippy is more likely to get any job that comes up.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

"ABD" -- what does it really mean?

I thought I knew what the definition of ABD was. It was exactly the same as defined here in Carnegie Mellon's University Doctoral Candidate Policies for All But Dissertation (ABD) : After the completion of all formal degree requirements other than the completion of and approval of the doctoral dissertation and the public final examination, doctoral candidates shall be regarded as All But Dissertation(ABD). I have, though, occasionally run into the term ABD being used as a somewhat disparaging designation for one who fulfills the formal degree requirements of the Ph.D. but never finishes the dissertation, and then quits the program. Most recently, I saw it in What They Didn' t Teach You in Graduate School: 199 Helpful Hints for Success in Your Academic Career , by Paul Gray and David E. Drew. Number 9 of their helpful hints is one that I strongly agree with: "Remember that a Ph.D. is primarily an indication of survivorship." They go on to say, "You stuck w

The Second Holiday Writing Challenge for Academics

Here's a little boost for those who need a little kickstart to write over the holidays.  I first offered a Holiday Writing Challenge  back in 2005, so I'd say it's about time to do it again. Here's what you do: Post in the comment section: what you'd like to work on (if anything) over the holidays, and the maximum amount of time you'd like to spend on it daily . Please keep this time limit reasonable and low unless you're under huge deadline pressure -- in which case you don't need this challenge in order to get something done! Whether you're a professor or a grad student, make sure you get a copy of the Dissertation Toolkit.  These tools will give you more information and tips for productive and creative writing.  For those of you who have had trouble making yourself write, you may want to start with VERY short writing goals . Even 5 or 10 minutes will be enough to get you jumpstarted.  Don't go more than 25 or 30 minutes withou

Academic Exhaustion Syndrome: Four Recovery Strategies

The semester’s over. If you’re anything like the academics I coach, you feel like death warmed over.  Those last stacks of grading got done on sheer will, determination and fumes. And this is before considering your writing deadlines, committee responsibilities, and other demands.  You are suffering from Academic Exhaustion Syndrome.  Academic Exhaustion Syndrome (an advanced, more scholarly state of burn out) is a state of emotional, and physical exhaustion caused by prolonged stress, ending with grading, over the course of the semester and academic year. As the stress continues, you begin to lose interest and motivation to work, you have fantasies of standing up and screaming in the middle of a meeting, and you wonder what temporary loss of reality testing made you decide to become an academic.  This dreaded Syndrome can: Reduce your productivity and saps your energy Make you irritable and have thoughts of strangling an undergraduate Make you feel like you have nothing more to g