• Mama PhD

    Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

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Drama Mama: Nervous

This blog doesn’t count for scholarship. My published essay in Mama PhD doesn’t count for scholarship. My participation in a panel on motherhood and academia later this month? That might count as service, but not scholarship. Unless I take the essays and turn them into a musical (and subsequently get the musical published and produced- on Broadway preferably) there just isn’t any way these issues of motherhood and academia can connect to my discipline. Not conventionally anyway.

October 10, 2008
 

This blog doesn’t count for scholarship. My published essay in Mama PhD doesn’t count for scholarship. My participation in a panel on motherhood and academia later this month? That might count as service, but not scholarship. Unless I take the essays and turn them into a musical (and subsequently get the musical published and produced- on Broadway preferably) there just isn’t any way these issues of motherhood and academia can connect to my discipline. Not conventionally anyway. This side of my work has always been more a labor of love than one that could add length and strength to my CV.

So although I was thrilled to be accepted for the anthology and feel very proud of my contribution to it, I must admit I was a little freaked out when a colleague from my university called and asked if I’d like to be a part of a panel on the book. Don’t get me wrong, I am excited and I think it will be a great topic to discuss, but there is this worry. We all know this worry. The worry that if this becomes a topic of conversation, an “issue” – that somehow my bosses, my deans, my department will all know. That I have “issues”. Work issues, home issues, balance issues. That this whole magic curtain thing is a sham and I am about to expose the short silly little wizard.

I am concerned because I just got here and I don’t want to be labeled. At my last institution, they warned me about speaking out this way because it would seem like I was asking for “special privileges”, speaking out about being a mother and how it affects tenure and promotion. I know this is a different situation and from everything I’ve seen here they are amazingly supportive but somehow that doesn’t allay my anxiety. I have heard the most successful moms in academia are the ones that lie – the ones that say they have to grade papers when they actually have to pick up their kid from day care. I haven’t had to lie here but I also haven’t always been particularly public outside my department. I suppose someone who actually writes a blog can’t really claim to be a private person.

But I can safely say only a handful of my colleagues seem to really read this blog so I still felt relatively anonymous. I sort of kept the whole thing under wraps on purpose. I was trying to be careful, be cautious, be discreet – with my “issue”. To be clear, my son is not the “issue”. My ability to balance successfully, that’s the issue. And now all my dirty diaper/cap&gown laundry will be on display. In panel form. Yikes. So yeah – I’m a little nervous.

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