Skip to main content

Good mother, good academic?

I wrote this four years ago. The struggle remains the same, so yes, publish. And god, I so want to be over this dilemma.

2016. Yesterday I was proofreading my manuscript at home when the Little Big Boss came over crying. I had to put my pen down and console her. She didn't want to leave my lap so we compromised. We put her play doh on the table and I tried to work while she played. It went smoothly -- for about five minutes! Haha!

The Artist in Residence is familiar with this scene. Starting when she was eight years old, she had to come along with me to academic conferences. She'd stay in her chair reading, or drawing and writing in her notebooks. People praised her and commented on how she was remarkably well-behaved. I had no idea just how remarkable her ability to sit still and focus was, until the Little Big Boss came along. With this one, sitting together quietly for a stretch of time is a much bigger challenge. The things that kept the Artist content at conferences were pens and paper. Easy. The things that absorb the Boss completely are water, sand, pebbles, and soap suds. Not so easy.

Is it possible to be a good academic and a good mother? I recently encountered this question on NPR.

I have no answers. And neither did psychologist Tania Lombrozo. A lot of what she said made sense to me though.

This fictional creature [ is a cultural and historical anomaly. Today's mothers actually spend more time with their children, on average, than mothers of the mid-'60s. Moreover, humans are cooperative breeders. Being raised by mom and mom alone is not a "natural" condition, nor one we should reasonably aspire to.
Equally fictitious is the "ideal worker." Sociologist Mary Blair-Loy characterizes the supporting cultural ideology as one that "defines the career as a calling or vocation that deserves single-minded allegiance and gives meaning and purpose to life." The ideal worker is always available, unconstrained by obligations beyond the workplace. It follows that the ideal worker is not a caregiver and, certainly, not an ideal mother.

All I know is that it's a struggle every damn day. Sometimes I'm saddled with guilt over lost time with the girls. Sometimes I feel frustrated when I have to set aside work for family. Either way, it's hard to let go. (And to think I speak from a position of privilege with a capital P.)

Every now and then something makes being torn seem worthwhile. I guess.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Lola of Maipon

It's all too easy to fall asleep under the blanket of everyday life and to smother dreams with the mundane things I surround myself with. But once in a while, along comes a sparkling vision that jolts me out of my daily sleep and reminds me of the existence of convictions and worlds so different from my own. "Our beloved LOLA of Guinubatan, Maipon, Albay is the last true messenger of God. So, let us follow her holy teachings so that we will gain TRUE SALVATION without sufferings and without death." In another story I, the intrepid heroine, the adventurer seduced by mysteries, the pilgrim in search of truth, would follow them back to Guinubatan from Session Road, thirsting to see and hear their Lola for myself. However, it's all too easy -- much safer! -- to fall back asleep under the blanket of everyday life, and to smother dreams with the mundane things I surround myself with. Then along comes 9 a.m., and really, it's time to down the dregs of coffee at the bott

Cordillera Folktales and Story-telling

It was cold and wet outside on the day of the launching of The Golden Arrow of Mt. Makilkilang and other Cordillera Folktales . But inside Mt. Cloud Bookshop we were warmed by stories read and performed by the Aanak di Kabiligan community theater group. Storytelling on a stormy afternoon. Paco Paco. A Benguet story from the book, published by the Cordillera Green Network. Aanak di Kabiligan means children of the mountains. The theater group was born out of the Cordillera Green Network's eleven years of conducting workshops in which children transform their grandparents' stories into theater productions. Here they perform the title story of the Golden Arrow of Mt. Makilkilang and Other Cordillera Folktales.

The Golden Arrow of Mt. Makilkilang

On June 30, 2013 at 2 PM, Mt. Cloud Bookshop will host the launching of the new children’s book, The Golden Arrow of Mt. Makilkilang and Other Cordillera Folktales . The event is open to the public and will include story-telling and a performance for children by the Aanak di Kabiligan Community Theater Group. After eleven years of telling stories through the Community Theatre, the Cordillera Green Network (CGN) and its theater company, The Aanak di Kabiligan has published a compilation of Cordillera folklore. These stories were the inspiration behind  the CGN's successful environmental education campaign, dubbed as the "Eco-Theatre Caravan", a roving theater community of young Cordillerans, theatre artists and volunteers performing in different communities in the Philippines and prefectures in Japan advocating environmental causes through performance. The book is a collection of folktales from Kalinga, Benguet, Apayao and Mt. Province. These storie