I have more or less taken off the last three years from my PhD program in Sociology and paid work. I moved from the upper East Coast to the lower East Coast with my kids and husband when he took a tenure-track job at a liberal arts college in Florida. While my two oldest children were toddlers and babies in Brooklyn, NY, my husband and I did a tag team approach to parenting. We both were working and pursuing PhDs, we passed babies, meal plans, and verbal record of diaper changes at the door. One was off to teach or write or go to class while the other was picking up with play dates, grocery shopping and booger wiping.
When we got to Florida, that all changed. My coursework was complete. So, I found myself parenting young children full-time and without a paid job for the first time in my adult life. My co-parent was suddenly involved in the all-encompassing pursuit of tenure. And four months after we moved cross country to a town in which we knew no one, my mother fell ill and was given just two years to live. The impetus to shower and talk big ideas with adults evaporated in a mountain of laundry, grief, and good intentions. A long-desired third child was born in the midst of my mother's health decline, making for a bittersweet time of celebrating new life while my mother struggled to take each breath hundreds of miles away.
As my kids get older and the youngest starts preschool, I am slowly making my way back. I find I have never let go of my sociological lenses. (Actually, I've never not had them. But that's a different story.) I am that annoying parent at the playground spouting statistics or latest research on schooling, race, recess, homework, gender, politics, everything.
I'm Ashley. I'm a mom who is the primary caregiver of my children. I also am a sociologist. I think of myself as The Stay-at-Home Sociologist.