• Mama PhD

    Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.


Math Geek Mom: Going Places

A different take on Uber.


September 29, 2016

I admit that I am not always the typical Math professor. As my students will tell you, I tend to do things in my classroom that are a little “off the wall.” Once, I dressed up in my black academic robe to “preside” over a trial put on by my students to determine who invented Calculus, Newton or Leibniz. And when we study the frieze groups in Abstract Algebra, I have the students dance out the possibilities. A much calmer approach is used in Calculus when I describe velocity and acceleration by moving across the front of the classroom at various speeds. It is this last topic that has been on my mind recently, as I think of the effort I put into transporting my daughter around town.

As my daughter grows up, but still does not have her own driver’s license, I am finding myself driving her around more than I used to. This is often the case, although, I must admit, some of her friends’ parents pitch in on the driving at times, even as I pick them up on a quite regular basis. Although more common recently, it is actually something that began when she was an infant. After searching with a discerning eye, we found an excellent daycare that was a twenty minute drive for me in the wrong direction. Never mind, being a teacher, I knew that finding the right care (and eventually the right school) was very important. Choosing a high school near our home provided the only break for the miles on my car.

 I found myself thinking of this when I saw a cartoon in our local newspaper last week. Showing two young people, one commented that he is going to call a car service to pick him up. The other asks if that service is “Uber.” In response, the first gives an all too common description; instead of “Uber”, it is “Mother.”

I don’t really mind driving my daughter around, as it allows me some time alone with her, and lets me know where she is, and with whom. Indeed, once she gets her driver’s license, I intend on reversing the duties. After more than twenty five years of taking my anti-seizure medicine, some of the side effects are starting to affect my health. I intend to put her to work some summer as I switch to one of the newer medicines that has fewer side effects. Then she will see what it is to drive someone around. Who knows, she might actually begin to appreciate the driving that we now do for her.

I guess that, with all the driving I do, it is ironic that my husband is on the board of directors for a transportation service that caters to the elderly and disabled. Indeed, we discovered the service when I broke some bones several years ago, and needed a way to get around town that did not involve driving. But for now, with a leg that is healed, it is me that is the driver for our child. Do you, my readers, sometimes also feel like you drive for a car service?



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