What have you had to give up to afford childcare? (Click here to answer)
Scholar. Teacher. Mother. Wife. These lines blur and intersect in my life as a first-generation woman and scholar, who was raised in Chicago on the margin between working and middle class. My mother quit her job as a secretary shortly into her first pregnancy and my father worked two or more jobs as a house painter to pay our bills.
This upbringing narrowed my focus on roles of mothers (and fathers), labor equality, and feminism in a changing world. I attended Illinois Wesleyan University for my undergraduate degree and University of Illinois at Chicago for my Masters in English Education and Ph.D in English with a gender studies concentration.
After nearly a decade researching intensive mothering, globalization’s impact on childcare, and class and race as they impact the mother/nanny relationship, I am focused on shifting the conversation regarding these topics with an eye toward building political will and ultimately changing US policy.
While currently the executive director of IAMAS (Int’l Assoc. of Maternal Action and Scholarship), I have been fortunate enough to be an educator at the high school level (Downers Grove South High School) and then as a lecturer at the University of Illinois at Chicago in gender and women’s studies and currently as an adjunct professor at North Central College. I have served on editorial boards for organizations such as the Journal of Motherhood Initiative and have executed several, multi-day international conferences focused on mothering.
My (in-progress) book tentatively titled The Illusion of Choice: How Culture, Ambivalence, and Neoliberalism Prevent Mothers From Being Even Greater Than They Already Are, covers interviews with nearly 100 U.S. women and addresses inequalities of work, childcare, and motherhood. Her academic publications appear in Palgrave, MaMSIE, Demeter Press and JMI. Dr. Garner has been consulted for or appeared in releases by CBS, Center for Public Integrity, Chicago Tribune, Authority magazine, Fast Company, WGN Radio, and numerous podcasts.
My goal is to enact social change when it comes to the role of childcare and advance the national conversation about mothering.