Post I wish I had time to write: Scientific meetings and motherhood

Feb 24 2015 Published by under Conferences, scholarly communication

I was reading Potnia's new post on meetings - why to go to them - and nodding my head vigorously (ouch) and connecting that to the part of the dissertation I'm writing now on tweeting meetings and the research over the years on how scientific meetings work and contribute...

and I got very sad. I'm a real extrovert and a magpie of all sorts of different kinds of research, but I can't justify spending my limited time reading articles that aren't pretty directly relevant to my job or my dissertation. When I went to bunches of meetings, I could soak a million little tidbits up, meet the people doing the work, browse lots of posters and talk to their authors. It's really a very efficient way to see what's up with a field.

and now... I haven't been to a conference since I was in my first trimester with my twins 🙁   Sure, I've listened in to some webinars and followed some tweets. It's not enough.

Would childcare at a venue help?  I don't know... I'd still have to get them there, I'd have to trust the childcare (what if I got there and checked them out and didn't like what I saw?), and I'm paying for childcare at home even when I go and money is super tight now with my income being the only one in our household for more than a year.  I thought about bringing my sister along and then we could see the sights together outside of hours. My work would pay my travel and my room and so I'd just have to pay her travel and everyone's food. But I can't really even swing that right now....


So yeah... at least there's twitter. The post I'd like to write actually cites references and what not.

And I'm only the 10 millionth person to have this issue this year so I  know I'm not a special snowflake but that doesn't mean I can't still bitch about it.

4 responses so far

  • […] is so important to go to meetings to hear new ideas and stay creative. In response, Christina Lis wrote how incredibly difficult and expensive this is when you have children. I couldn't agree more after not having gone to meetings (other than our local neuroscience […]

  • Joe Hourcle says:

    It might not've been a science conference, but I seem to recall that you were at an ASIS&T conference shortly after having given birth. (I haven't seen you in a while, so I don't know if that was twins, or if they came later).

    I remember seeing a stroller at my first ASIS&T conference (Austin), which I think is where I met you, right after I ran into the IRB problems at UMD. I can't remember the name of the person, but I recall that she had some significant papers that were published under her maiden name, but she was going by her huband's name. (as I found out after the meeting that the two names were for the same person).

    I also seem to remember hearing that there was child care available at a conference that I was at fairly recently ... it might've been the 'Childcare Grants' from the AAS. They've stripped the info out of the meeting I was at, but they still have info from two meetings ago : . In case they take that down, it said "Childcare grants are available for up to $250 per family for those that wish to bring children to the meeting. Parents are responsible for making arrangements for childcare. To apply for a childcare grant please fill out the Childcare Grant Application. If requests exceed available funding, preference will be given to those in the early stages of their careers."

    • Christina Pikas says:

      Sorry for the slow response - we're not getting e-mailed updates. So I saw you at a conference when I was in my first trimester with the twins 2011 - New Orleans - and then after they were born in Baltimore. That was the year of the big flood. In Baltimore, my mother in law came over and took care of them and I pumped in a storage room. Lovely!

      I think you're thinking of Fisher. She was Pettigrew.

      The childcare grant that AAS has would be awesome. $250 would really help.

      I do think science conferences are actually more accommodating than LIS ones. SLA has a hard and fast rule about the minimum age for people to be allowed into the expo area.