Women’s Studies Brown Bag Lunch Seminar “Moms, Dads and Jobs”

Women's Studies Brown Bag Lunch Seminar

Meg Savin

Colgate students are spending more time thinking about the future. Choosing a career path to enter after graduation no longer seems enough. There are now considerations of family, children and the balancing act that will undoubtedly follow.As evidence of this growing concern, many students and several faculty members attended a discussion entitled “Moms, Dads and Jobs” Tuesday afternoon in the Center for Women’s Studies.The nine panelists included members of Colgate’s faculty and administration, seven of whom were women. Traditionally, the question of pursuing a career and simultaneously raise children has been posed to women; however, it is clear that this question is relevant to both sexes today. One faculty member pointed out that she was currently supporting her family financially, while her husband took on the role of a stay-at-home dad. Issues discussed during the hour ranged from advice on finding a family- friendly company to work for, to the added difficulties of raising children in a non-traditional family setting, be it a single-family household or same sex set of parents. “It is possible to have meaningful family and employment components in life,” parent and Director of Counseling and Psychological Services, Mark Thompson said. “[Working in] higher education has allowed for more flexibility. However, there are many career fields where it’s not possible to have this balance. I think it’s important to debunk the myth that you can have it all.” Though speakers on the panel shared success stories of juggling careers with a fulfilling family life, all agreed that compromises are made. In some cases, it means relying on modern day technology to get the job done, while other times, it requires to doing laundry in the middle of the night in order to keep the household running smoothly. The word “guilt” came up again and again in conversation. The speakers explained the inevitable guilt-trip they were forced to confront when they realized that they would not be constantly available to their children. Parent and Director of Community Outreach, Marnie Terhune stressed the importance of enjoying the career that one chooses. “You must love your work. The time you are trading off must be meaningful,” she said. Director of the ALANA Cultural Center and single mom Jamie Nolan spoke of the various “networks of support” that have been helpful to her, including the Hamilton community. “It sounds clich?e, but it really does take a village,” she said. Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Georgia Frank, agreed, praising the Sidekick program that the University has implemented. “People who don’t have children have helped those of us that do, be families,” she said. Terhune gave a brief synopsis at the conclusion of the describing a typical day in her life. From racing to get her kids to school on time to getting to the grocery store, playing board games as a family, and working a full day of at Colgate, this woman has perfected the art of juggling. Despite the crazy schedules and often stressful decisions that must be made in order to have a family and a career simultaneously, those who experience this predicament are often happy to have both opportunities. Director of Alumni Affairs Robin Summers explains that the positives far outweigh the negatives. “Having a child is the most amazing thing I’ve ever done. I think all of us speaking can agree on that,” she said.