Sciencewomen

I am a parent-blogger

Kate, our lovely host for the December edition of Scientiae has decreed that the theme is “transcending the debate.” Here’s my (late) entry. Look for the carnival up around the 3rd.

Much of what I’ve been blogging about lately has not particularly been about science or about women in science or about women at all. Sleep issues, daycare dilemmas, family-friendly cars, etc. are hardly the terrain I was writing about when I launched this blog 2.5 years ago. But they occupy a lot of my mental space today.

Since moving to Scienceblogs.com, the number of male commenters on this blog has increased significantly. I could attribute this solely to the majority male readership of the uber-domain, but email conversations with several of my new readers suggest that this is not so. Men seem to be reading this blog because at least some of what I talk about applies to their lives too.

There are fathers out there who worry about the trade-off between working long hours and spending time with their kids. There are fathers out there who agonize about putting their children in daycare. There are male academics who worry that their colleagues won’t think they are serious about their work if they leave early in the afternoon to go to a soccer game. There are men who get up at 4 am every day so that they can be “done” with work by noon, their wives can go to work, and their babies can be home with a parent all day.

These are the men that we need to enlist, recruit, support, and make visible. These are the men who have modern attitudes towards careers, parenting, children, and women. We need more men like them. If women scientists really want to break free of decades of discrimination and adverse attitudes in our careers and at home, then we should accept the support of all those who are willing to help and who share our goals.

Comments

  1. #1 Andrea Grant
    December 1, 2007

    Brilliant. Wow. This really made my day–it’s something I’ve been trying to formulate but haven’t really articulated very well–I get nuts when “women in science” things turn into “dealing with kids” things as though fathers weren’t part of the picture! Thanks!

  2. #2 Harry Abernathy
    December 1, 2007

    What an excellent post. I’m one of those men who worked odd, sleep-deprived hours so that our son wouldn’t have to go into daycare his first year. And putting him in daycare at 16 months so that I could hunker down and finish my PhD while my wife worked was one of the most heart-wrenching experiences of my life (I’ll admit it: I cried in the daycare center the first day).

    While most of my male coworkers seem to respect the choices I have made, I find it funny when they say, “Wow, I couldn’t do what you do.” Yet, at the same time, they expect their wives to do it (if they’re a two-income family). I think every husband should have to shoulder the burden of raising his child, if only to gain a better appreciation of what most women (and all single working mothers) have been put upon by society to do!

  3. #3 Ewan
    December 1, 2007

    I confess to having given sciencewoman a hard time (in private email) about an occasion or two when I thought that she was failing to completely recognise that we (where ‘we’ is academic male parents, and specifically those with primary childcare responsibility) face challenges alongside or diverse from those faced by our female colleagues.

    So now I get to give public praise for explicitly noting such. Vivat! Thanks!

    [Ewan, trying frantically to meet assorted deadlines while still running JA day at kindergarten yesterday...]

  4. #4 Field Notes
    December 1, 2007

    As always, eloquent.

    That’s why I love reading your blog.

    Hip hip hooray for the good men out there who are dads not cads. I am a firm believer they are out there, just waiting to be recognized.

    If I am ever fortunate enough to be a mom, I know my guy will be one of those dads. I hope a miracle happens and he gets the job; he’d certainly be good at it :-)

  5. #5 doc-in-training
    December 2, 2007

    It’s just frustrating that there seems to be way more “Wow, I couldn’t do what you do” kind of dads. What’s your problem?!! But to those dads who have the right attitudes towards careers, parenting, children, and women, two thumbs up from me. You’re awesome.

  6. #6 PhysioProf
    December 2, 2007

    “These are the men that we need to enlist, recruit, support, and make visible. These are the men who have modern attitudes towards careers, parenting, children, and women. We need more men like them. If women scientists really want to break free of decades of discrimination and adverse attitudes in our careers and at home, then we should accept the support of all those who are willing to help and who share our goals.”

    There are also men who do not have children themselves, but who still are willing to help and share your goals. They do this because it is right.

  7. #7 sciencegirl
    December 2, 2007

    Hooray for the men who know what is important in life and are not afraid to pull their share!!

  8. #8 ScienceWoman
    December 2, 2007

    Yes, Ewan, you helped inspire this post. Thank you for that.

    There are also men who do not have children themselves, but who still are willing to help and share your goals. They do this because it is right.

    Physioprof, you have a great point!

  9. #9 physics*chick
    December 3, 2007

    Here, here!

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