The last time I wrote in this space was November 2016. I think that pretty much sums up why I disappeared for two years.
Unfortunately, things seem darker in the world now and God forgive us for the damage we cause others and this planet because of our idolatry to violence, money, and whiteness.
As for me personally: I got my PhD, I learned I was pregnant the day before I walked across that stage, I left my job because childcare is too expensive, and I had a baby boy.
For better or worse I’m a stay-at-home mom now. Something I NEVER thought I would be.
Here’s why I’m back…
Since I graduated a little over a year ago, I have had three job offers…yet I’m jobless. My job search has been just one of many assaults from my peers with the message that I am not welcome–not because I’m a woman, or progressive, or have little experience, but because I have two very young children. In case you think I’m projecting, my firing from the third job was directly because I was pregnant. They didn’t even try to hide it.
I can’t say I wasn’t warned.
I had no less than 3 female professors approach me during my doctoral work to tell me never to tell anyone I was pregnant or had children “until your youngest is 7” (said one). Running around in my circles had naively persuaded me that those times were over…especially in progressive spaces. Don’t convince yourself that they are different. They’re not.
Even during the writing process I saw no less than three male colleagues put their families aside for “a few months” in order to finish. Yet I was constantly being told that I was being selfish or a bad mother for taking my weekends to write instead of being with my baby. Those three colleagues? All have tenure track jobs. I, on the other hand, have been taken off of one committee, two panels, one “think tank”, and have been fired from a job due to pregnancy/children.
But even if I COULD get a job (even an adjunct position), I have come to the realization that I’ve been sold a lot of smoke and mirrors.
Here’s what you’re going to hear regularly if you’re in academics: schools and departments are shrinking (if not closing all together), tenure track positions no longer really exist, get adjuncting jobs (as much as you can) and MAYBE one of them will hire you in some capacity, your adjunct position (if you can even get one) will pay you about $2,000 for a semester of work (trust me, it’s an INSANE amount of work), to barely have a livable wage (that only pays once the semester is over–try coming up with rent on that schedule) you need to piece together about 10-15 adjunct jobs a school year (most of them in geographical locations very far apart), offer to teach for free, you won’t actually get to teach or write on your topic very much if you get a position, etc.
I’ve been brainwashed into thinking this is not only ok, but my dream fulfilled.
What am I doing this for? Why keep begging a community that doesn’t want me and abuses their workforce to let me in?
That’s why I’m back here.
We’ve been told there’s only one way to succeed and be a scholar…but that one way isn’t really attainable anymore. It’s almost impossible to get, but you are inferior and flawed if you don’t get it.
The problem with brainwashing is that no amount of reality or positive thinking corrects everything (especially in your wider community), but I’m going to try anyway.
I have nothing left to lose.
Here. In this space. I am going to try to create something new and unique to me and my voice. I want to show that PhDs are malleable and valuable outside of the one path. I want to show other academic mothers that they don’t have to stay in a toxic, misogynistic working space. We can still publish, contribute, network, and be valuable members of the academy without that one path.
I hope this works. But I know it’ll be an awesome ride of it doesn’t.
I thank you, my amazing dialogue partners, for helping me create and think and grow.
Welcome and welcome back!