Here is my response:
I'm sure you will get plenty of responses to the Sour Leprechaun, but I couldn't resist putting in my own two cents. He has tried to counter most of the typical arguments to his point, but as I read his post, I thought about some of the other similar posts that have told us all to 'quit our whining' because we have the best jobs in the universe. Most of the time, I agree- I love my job and wouldn't want to do anything else (well, most days). However, he has lost sight of the point of this blog- it a place to vent about our students, since they get to vent about us all over the web (MySpace, Facebook, the site that shall rename nameless). Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but I can't recall reading any 'quit your whining' posts that were written by women. They seem to come from tenured, male (I would guess white) faculty, who are never called 'Mrs. Smith' by their students or had their credentials challenged because they are foreign or have dark skin. I would also suspect that the 'quit your whining' crowd are married to women who are not academics. Maybe these white, male faculty have never felt discriminated against by the administration (or department chair) because of their gender or race, but they should consider that there are others who have more crap to deal with because they are not white men.
Then, today Mommy/Prof had a comment on this Chronicle First Person column. I commented over there that "I was at a lunch the other day, when a fellow academic woman noted that she didn't know any female academics with more than two kids."
I just wanted to bring all of these things together because there are some important themes, here. As I'm sure all of the newer mom blogger-academics can attest- it is really hard having a baby on the tenure track. Now, I can't claim to know this in the same way that these women do, because my daughter was born during my PhD (a week after I defended my dissertation proposal). I had my own struggles with this timing, but I never had to go teach a class when she was a baby, or pump breastmilk in my office, or even put her daycare until she was almost two. I know that many academic fathers are much more involved with their kids than dads a generation ago, but I think that a greater burden still falls on the mothers- especially when they are infants and moms are still nursing. I can sympathize with the man in the Chronicle column on some level- and he does sound very involved in his family life and taking care of his kids. However, like many male academics, I would bet that his wife still takes on the majority of domestic and childcare duties- and that is fine, if that is the arrangement that they have made as a family- I am NOT criticizing that situation. I just wanted to touch on the idea that women academics with children have different struggles than male academics with children. Do any of you have experiences with this? Are there any dads that would beg to differ? I am in a dual-academic marriage and know how things are for us (and I am not suggesting they are bad, or anything, btw!), but I would be curious to hear other points of view- especially in view of these links I've posted above. Have we really made strides in gender equality in academe? I would say "no", but would love to hear from others.