Becoming a mom is one of the most wonderful things that have ever happened to me, and I had a long and exhausting path to it, so I am grateful for it every day. But that does not mean i am not frustrated by how it impacts my life and my career.
The thing is, it’s often not my child who’s standing in my way, but the patriarchal society that doesn’t allow me the space to grow as a person while being a young mom.
As someone recently said in an email – academic conferences that don’t have childcare facilities automatically discriminate against young moms like me. The options for a young mom are all equally difficult:
1. Go alone to the conf, leave kids behind. This requires “favors” from partners, parents, or payment to nannies. Not to mention the worry and endless guilt (as if we didn’t constantly feel it anyway)
2. Go to conference with another caregiver e.g. Dad, grandma, nanny. That’s cool if you can afford it and the other person can take time off from work, and is willing to do it for you. Both my mom and my husband came with me to my PhD thesis defense so I wouldn’t have to leave my then-two-year-old (couldn’t have left her anyway, she was still breastfeeding; didn’t have the strength or heart to wean her while i was stressing over finishing my dissertation).
3. Not go anywhere. Remain frustrated. Stay “behind” on our careers, and suck it up.
What does it mean that some academic conferences have childcare options as routine while others do not?
What do you think?
There is a heck of a lot more terrible injustice that happens to women every day. But this one has a simple (ish) solution. I am starting a #NoMomLeftBehind movement and happy to extend to NoWomanLeftBehind (because i was a valuable person before i became a mom, too, and patriarchal society also managed to restrict me).