Autoethnographies are an effective methodology for investigating mothering in the academy as they can allow researchers to explore their individual experiences of work/life balance struggles to shed light into wider social issues, such as academia’s accelerated time. This autoethnography includes five vignettes that describe the challenges of mothering in the academy. These vignettes depict some of the issues faced by mothers working on insecure academic contracts, the impact of accelerated academic time on mothering and the value of finding a supportive community of women to find new stories about motherhood in academia. Such windows into female academics struggles for work/life balance can offer insight into new ways to imagine academic time, as well as the need to uncover alternative perspectives to academic work that enables expansive, relational and creative knowledge making approaches. Stories of motherhood can illustrate the equanimity cultivated through balancing mothering with academic work and can reveal the richness of play, flexibility and fluidity acquired as mothers occupy the liminal spaces between their caregiving and academic work. Finally, greater exposure to the stories of mothers in academia can help the broader academic community to imagine alternative temporal orders that accommodate more pleasurable and meaningful work.


Motherhood, Autoethnography, Work/Life Balance, Temporality, Relationality

Author Bio(s)

Joanne Yoo is a senior lecturer at the School of Education at the University of Technology Sydney She has worked extensively across a wide range of subjects in the primary and secondary teacher education programs. Joanne’s research interests include developing collaborative teaching partnerships, teaching as an embodied practice, action research and arts-based research methodologies, such as narrative inquiry and autoethnography. Please direct correspondence to joanne.yoo@uts.edu.au.

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