Mama PhD

Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

January 21, 2009 - 1:07am
Last Tuesday my 7-year-old came home from school and proudly showed off his new library book about a super-hero who wears nothing but a cape and tighty-whitey underwear (I won’t mention the name lest it be quoted as an endorsement. Just ask any 7-year-old or parent of elementary-aged children if you’re not sure what I mean. A clue: he’s addressed as “Captain.”). The books in this series are full of potty humor—perfect for second graders—but a little too much for parents.
January 19, 2009 - 9:46pm
I’m teaching a new course this semester, and it’s one that requires me to stretch quite a bit beyond my normal boundaries, beyond what Gerald Graff recently called “coursecentrism” on this very site. A couple of years ago, I was part of an ad hoc committee that examined how we introduce students to the English major and decided to change it.
January 15, 2009 - 9:50pm
Once, when I was in high school, I entered a public speaking contest. I think there were four entries, and I came in third, after two people who spoke about the 1969 lunar landing. At one point in my speech, I looked out at the room of teenagers and a few adults and asked a question. In a voice squeaking with stage fright, I posed to the audience “in about thirty years, someone will be sworn in as president of the United States of America. I ask you today; why shouldn’t it be one of us?”
January 14, 2009 - 10:37pm
By lucky coincidence one of my closest friends is on sabbatical at the same time as I. Although we joked that we would spend the year together skiing in the Alps and drinking wine, she is spending much of the year with her partner in another state, while my husband’s job keeps me here.
January 14, 2009 - 4:47am
A graduate student I know at a well-respected public university had a baby last year. This spring her husband’s job requires him to work in a different state from her for several months. She recently decided that that she could not accept a spring semester teaching assistantship because, with her husband gone, she cannot accommodate the workload into her increased childcare responsibilities. Without a teaching position, she finds herself without tuition remission.
January 12, 2009 - 9:43pm
Someone just asked me to participate in a panel discussion on “balancing teaching and research” (this in the context of a series on “Managing the Challenges of the Tenure Process for Women Faculty”) and my first reaction was to say no. Not because I’m too busy (though I am), or because it’s someone else’s turn (though it might be), but because I was afraid I wouldn’t have any credibility on the subject.
January 11, 2009 - 9:42pm
Can't find a job? Don't go to grad school. The economy's tanking! Should I give up looking for a job and just go to graduate school?
January 8, 2009 - 8:53pm
There is a commercial for some over the counter medicine that talks about “Dr. Mom.” Already being “Dr. Mom”, in the sense of “Mama, Ph.D.”, it is interesting to stop and realize that we are as mothers also asked to assemble information and make decisions on medical issues on a daily basis. From the initial weighing-in of an infant that is given in percentiles to the lawyer voice at the end of many drug commercials, we quickly realize that taking care of a family’s health is no simple matter. To do this often requires a working knowledge of statistics as they relate to medical issues.
January 7, 2009 - 9:34pm
Well, it is interviewing time and, for many of us, it means that we have moved beyond the phone interview stage and are now facing an on-campus interview. Perhaps this interview will be in Hawaii? Perhaps in D.C. or some other place far away from your current home? Perhaps your partner has just started a local business and doesn’t feel like moving 5 hours away? Perhaps your son loves his baseball coach and his grades have finally improved?
January 7, 2009 - 4:37am
The first days of a new year always fill me with a numbing sense of dread that is deeply rooted and hard to shake. It has nothing to do with the farewell to an old year or to the holiday festivities; it has everything to do with farewell to family and loved ones. The days after New Year celebrations were for several years the time when my husband and I said good-bye to one another after spending Christmases with each other at our parents’ homes.

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