List-keepers and other carrier bag stories: Academic mothers' (in)visible labor during the COVID-19 pandemic


Beginning in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted familiar rhythms of work and life when academic women from the United States sheltered-in-place in their homes. The pandemic brought forth challenges which accentuated that caregiving with little or no support disproportionately affected mothers' abilities to navigate their new lives inside the home, where work and caregiving abruptly collided. This article takes on the (in)visible labor of academic mothers during this time-the labor mothers saw and viscerally experienced, yet that which was often unseen/unexperienced by others. Using Ursula K. Le Guin's Carrier Bag Theory as a conceptual framework, the authors engage with interviews of 54 academic mothers through a feminist-narrative lens. They craft stories of carrying (in)visible labor, isolation, simultaneity, and list-keeping as they navigate the mundaneness of everyday pandemic home/work/life. Through unrelenting responsibilities and expectations, they each find ways to carry it all, as they carry on.

Academic mothers, COVID-19, Labor, Invisible, Feminism, Narrative research, Pandemic, PARENTS, Women's Studies
Guyotte, K. W., Melchior, S., Coogler, C. H., & Shelton, S. A. (2023). List-keepers and other carrier bag stories: Academic mothers’ (in)visible labor during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Women’s Studies International Forum (Vol. 98, p. 102755). Elsevier BV.