caring, Reflection, Teaching

Academic/Carer

Selfie of me smiling against a white wallLast year I posted a brief update which told readers that I had survived the first year of my lectureship, launched a new BA (Hons) in History and become a carer. I gave some brief details of the situation I found myself in, but the changes to our lives were too raw for me to really want to explore them in public through blogging.

Here I am over another year later. This is my third academic year of trying to balance my career in academia and my role as a carer. Our lives are still changing, and this seems to be the only constant. The last year has seen my partner get significantly worse, losing the ability to walk unaided and a chunk more of his independence. His care needs have grown, and I remain his sole carer. We do not yet know if and when his symptoms will stabilise.

As I am sure many of you can imagine, this change and its many meanings have preoccupied much of my thoughts in recent months. The practicalities have taken up almost as much time. In the rest, I am a full-time permanent history lecturer, Course Director of a new degree programme that is trying to get established as well as trying to do the myriad other things that make up academic life.

Since the end of teaching last summer I have taken some time to reflect on the last two years. I am aware that I have come across lots of writing on academia and parenthood, a bit on caring for elderly family. I have seen less on academia and caring for an adult who has become disabled. What I have come across are lots of assumptions about what this is like. I am going to post some blogs which talk about my experiences. I want to add these to our ongoing discussions of academia as a career and the ways in which it intersects with our other identities. My experiences are not definitive, and my views are my own. Yet, I expect there is some familiarity in what I say to those who care and work.

In my posts I am working through some thoughts. It’s my process to think and write concurrently. I welcome questions, comments and your own stories of caring. First new post coming in a few days but until then, I’m going to do my best to rest up and shake this virus.