So I attended a pedagogy workshop this week and I brought Minnow along. For those not keeping track, she’s now almost 18 months old and still going strong with the nursing (>= 2 x/day, >=2x/night). When I signed up for the workshop, I’d intended her to stay with my mom in Midwest, but in the end she came with me instead. The workshop organizers have been fantastically accommodating, and I want to give a shout-out to the other participants who have been super-friendly and helpful. (Especially, Kim. Thanks!)
But I still feel like a trouble maker. There are plenty of other moms here. Some with kids half of Minnow’s age. And none of those babies are here. I’m the only one who had to miss a plenary session because of a talkative toddler. And I felt like I was making excuses for her presence even with the other moms (sick caregiver, food intolerances, etc.) Why do I feel like I have to justify her presence? Why do *I* feel like the bad mommy for dragging her along *and* the bad professional for having here here?
On the meta-level:
Is there some way that even small workshops can provide childcare? What happens to single moms? How are the left-behind babies and daddies coping? What sort of flexibility and accommodation are other couples making in order to facilitate the child-free attendance of the other mommies here? How do we make the whole business of professional travel and scientific meetings more family-friendly?