There’s a flexibility myth in academia. It goes like this: Academic mothers have it much better than other professional mothers because of their flexible schedule—a luxury women in business, journalism, law, and medicine don’t enjoy—which allows them to set their own hours, and chart their individual paths to success.
It’s not a myth; it’s the truth. I just talked to a woman who is a lawyer at a big firm. She has a 4-year-old and she’s 6 months pregnant. And she has to fly out of state for work yet again next week. This is on top of having to be at the office 10 hours a day no matter what.
Compared to this, my schedule that only requires me to be on campus 2 non-negotiable days a week and only between September and May is a miracle. Yes, I get paid 5 times less than the lawyer. But for me that doesn’t matter. I can spend tons of time with Klara, and it’s very important at times like right now when she’s going through a vulnerable period. It isn’t easy but if I had took be out of the house every day for any job, I’d be a wreck.
I have no idea why academics so love to pity themselves and can’t recognize obvious advantages. Or at least not try to deny them.