Mama PhD

Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

June 22, 2009 - 9:28pm
We leave for a six-week stay in England next Monday. In between now and then I have to finish my annual review, write a book review, hold a workshop on a novel for YA librarians, convene a committee meeting, and pack. I think I have a couple of personal appointments in there as well — haircut? Dermatologist? I trust to my google calendar to pop up a reminder in enough time for me to get where I need to be. Then there’s the figuring out our travel part, and the planning my summer course part. I’m shelving those for the moment while I work on the more pressing matters.
June 21, 2009 - 9:44pm
I am a 55-year-old woman with a Ph.D. in economic history, 6 books and quite a few scholarly articles on international economics and human rights issues. The bulk of my work focuses on current policies. I have procured grants from major foundations and my university as well as corporations. I have worked at two think tanks that went under, and now I work essentially as an adjunct. I have tried for the last 3 years to get a job at a school of international affairs at the associate level, but in the end they never hire me. Any advice?
June 18, 2009 - 9:43pm
You may have heard the comment that the “three best things about teaching are June, July and August”. Those of us who are actually teachers know this is not exactly true. For some of us, the summer just presents an opportunity to earn some additional income, or, as in my case, to also maintain my department’s presence on campus and in the community by offering summer courses. For most, it is truly only two months long, as our contracts extend from mid-August to mid-June, and we are back to work long before September actually arrives.
June 18, 2009 - 8:39am
Although I became a mother late in life, two girls have been teaching me about parenting for the past several years: the 15 year old girl I mentor and my 16 year old step-daughter. Of course, mentoring and (non-custodial) step-mothering is not the same as parenting. It is much less intense and you do not make important decisions in that girl’s life. However, I know from my own experience as a step-daughter that step-mothers and mentors can have profound, lasting effects.
June 17, 2009 - 12:08pm
With the end of the semester, we packed up our household and headed out to the other side of the country to visit my parents in southern California. We’re staying for two and a half weeks. My whole family always looks forward to these visits tremendously, since, being so far away we see each other rarely. But the first couple days I never enjoy.
June 15, 2009 - 9:27pm
It’s that time of year—lots of things winding down, a few more starting. It’s been a month since my school year ended, but Nick’s last day of school is tomorrow. He’s ready — and so are we all. The end of the school year has been taken up with tests, projects, and the occasional field trip, and it’s starting to feel as if they’re just marking time. So tomorrow is the last day, and then he has the rest of the week free before a one-week summer camp that provides his transition to our summer in England.
June 14, 2009 - 8:50pm
When I was growing up, practically everyone I knew watched a TV show called “Bewitched,” about a beautiful young witch, Samantha, who marries a mortal and has to hide her powers to fit into the role of suburban housewife her husband requires her to fill. The show’s message, that it’s necessary for a woman to make herself smaller and more ordinary so as not to threaten her husband, was discomfiting.
June 11, 2009 - 9:35pm
When I was in college, a fellow student once told several of us about a boy she used to know. Apparently this boy experienced some difficulties in learning to write, and was also quite smitten with her. He once wrote her a love note in very broken English, the best he could do. The boy realized that he was not writing correctly, and at the end of the note, closed it by saying “all these mistakes are just trying to say ‘I love you.’” I have thought of that often, as I go through life and make mistake after mistake, trying to get it right but not managing to quite do things correctly.
June 10, 2009 - 9:19pm
3 disasters connected to Kansas I’ve watched happen recently: 1. What’s the Matter with Kansas?
June 8, 2009 - 9:49pm
Did you hear the news? Over-parenting is over. So decree the arbiters of lifestyle trends — or, at least, Lisa Belkin, who has been writing about parenting in the New York Times for the better part of this decade.

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