The Parent Track
Timing, Balance, and Choice in Academia
The Parent Track provides an in-depth understanding of parenting in academia, from diverse perspectives—gender, age, race/ethnicity, marital status, sexual orientation—and at different phases of a parent’s academic career. This collection not only arrives at a comprehensive understanding of parenthood and academia; it reveals the shifting ideologies surrounding the challenges of negotiating work and family balance in this context. Earlier research on parenting has documented the ways in which women and men experience, and subsequently negotiate, their roles as parents in the context of the workplace and the home. Particular attention has been paid to the negotiation of familial and childcare responsibilities, the division of labour, the availability of family-friendly policies, social constructions of motherhood and fatherhood, power relations, and gender roles and inequality. Studies on the experience of parenthood within the context of academia, however, have lacked diversity and failed to provide qualitative accounts from scholars of all genders at varying points in their academic careers who have, or are planning to have, children. This book addresses that gap.
The Parent Track is a generous, kind-hearted invitation to join the ongoing conversations that academics have about the strains, challenges, and triumphs that parenting brings to a scholarly life. By turns funny, sad, vulnerable, impassioned, and, perhaps above all, compassionate, the contributors to this volume offer readers personal and professional insights that we benefit from hearing. I encourage you to listen to this book’s meditations on what happens when parenting and academia collide. – Kit Dobson, Mount Royal University, author of Transnational Canadas (WLU Press, 2009)
"If finding work-life balance in academia is, at the best of times, a stretch, then finding work-life balance as caregivers to both classrooms and children seems a near-impossibility. The essays in this collection walk the line between realism and despair, and I found myself nodding in recognition at some of the impossible demands that both family and academia place on us as individuals. I laughed at the rueful self-deprecation of the authors as they acknowledge their own failures to walk those lines well. I felt the pull of the academy’s imperative to produce alongside the affective pull of my home and the people in it. And yet, somehow, these essays brought both comfort and hope. Reading them felt both affirming and galvanizing." – Erin Wunker, Acadia University, author of Notes from a Feminist Killjoy: Essays on Everyday Life (2016)