Our plane landed at Gatwick airport on July 7, the day the bombs went off, and the four of us made our way through the mass of bedraggled travelers and machine gun-toting police to the airport bus. The bus ride took longer than the flight, as we painfully inched our way around the great city past massive electronic signs proclaiming “LONDON IS CLOSED.” Finally we arrived in Oxford, where I attended a conference on the “new feminism” and the varieties of Christian motherhood.
Fatigued and a bit worried about our children, I spent the bus ride contemplating the ironies of the conference. How many mothers have time or energy to attend conferences and give papers analyzing the maternal experience? Most conferences I have attended are distinctly inhospitable to tired mothers and their children. At least for the span of the conference, one is supposed to be a professional, on one’s best game, all fired up and ready to pounce on problematic assumptions.