The experience of being a working mother, Phd student and activist is one of being half there. Involved but not really at the heart of things.
The obvious exemption is being a mother (there is no half way on that one).
I am director of The Advocacy initiative, but in 2.5 days a week I know I am not at every event I should be, don’t read everything, and certainly am not as ‘in the know’ as someone working full time. I am a PhD student but I can never throw myself into it completely, it is not possible to wallow in interesting side tracks or attend interesting but not really related conferences. As an activist I do as much as I can, but it is never enough, I am not as involved as I would like to be. As a primary school parent I go to the odd drinks evening, volunteer to work at the summer fair, and try to make the playground meet ups, but I am not one of the ‘in-crowd’.
On many levels it does not sit well with me, I like being involved – I take on ‘ownership’, but I am having to accept that actually being a part of something is good, being involved is enough.
Its not about settling for being good enough (though sometimes of course it is!), it is about doing my best but finding the confidence to realise that my best does not have to include being in the thick of it.