Something happened yesterday (and more things in the week before it) that made me grateful I had made particular decisions as an academic mom.
Initially I thought my choices as an academic mom were either:
A. Accept that for a few years I won’t be traveling often to conferences, etc. (I couldn’t accept that, this being left out of conversations in a fast-changing field, but it did help me conceive of things like Virtually Connecting and DigPedCairo which have been beneficial to others as well)
B. Accept that for some time, that I would have to leave my child behind to go to conferences (in the end, what I have been doing is going for one day to events in nearby countries and coming back the same day – because I don’t wanna leave my child longer than this).
C. Find ways to make it financially viable to travel with child AND husband/mom (to support in baby-sitting). This worked out for me at #Altc last year because we had a reason to be in the UK around the same time as the conference. I still only attended the one day.
But the real choices weren’t the ones above. The real choice I made was between being candid about my situation as an academic mom or hiding it.
I say this because I now realize that having written and spoken about this widely, internally and externally, it has made it easier for others to understand and accommodate me in different ways. By trying to come here. By accepting my virtual participation. By inviting Virtually Connecting. By funding one-day travel that looks very weird on the outside. By being flexible on when my sessions are scheduled to fit either timezones or travel dates.
Someone yesterday (an administrator who is also a friend) told me he was asked whether it made sense to fund my travel for just one day. And he told me that he responded, “She’s a mom”.
I was so touched by this. Regardless of the outcome.