Mama PhD

Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

January 5, 2009 - 9:40pm
This week my family starts a new chapter, as our daughter moves to San Francisco for the second half of her gap year. The part of me that isn’t consumed with envy (spring in San Francisco!) or anxiety (my baby’s moving away!) is excited for her as she embarks on this new adventure. And for us, too, as we do. Our son will, at least for the next five months, learn what it’s like to be an only child.
January 1, 2009 - 6:31pm
Economists make many assumptions in our efforts to mathematically model the world. Some of these assumptions instantly make sense to everyone. The idea that family members work together so as to maximize the welfare of the family unit is one such example. Other assumptions, however, require more of a leap of faith. For example, we often assume that lending markets are such that people can borrow against future income increases to pay for education.
December 30, 2008 - 10:25pm
The MLA convention in San Francisco this year is spread out over two hotels, one on either side of Market Street, near Union Square and all the good downtown shopping. Conference attendees rushing from one hotel to the other for interviews or panels get quizzical looks from the crush of slow-moving post-holiday shoppers taking advantage of sales; why would you look so tense on a Sunday afternoon when there are such bargains to be found? They are tense because they are hunting for scarce jobs, presenting their research and, perhaps, having their children cared for by strangers.
December 30, 2008 - 2:41pm
The panel titled "Negotiating Family and Graduate Studies", sponsored by the Committee on the Status of Graduate Students in the Profession, ranged far beyond its named topic, as well it should. Graduate students aspire to become professors in higher education, after all, and so it only makes sense to consider how the family issues facing graduate students change -- or not -- when they become faculty. The three presenters offered personal, statistical, and theoretical talks which were by turns enraging, depressing, inspiring and moving.
December 30, 2008 - 6:42am
My first San Francisco MLA, I didn't get any closer to the convention than the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel. I was living in San Francisco and had just been accepted to UC Berkeley's PhD program in Comparative Literature. I wasn’t such an overachiever that I wanted to attend a professional conference before joining the profession, but my sister Libby, a grad student at UCLA (and now one of the Mama, PhD bloggers), was on the market, looking for a job teaching English literature. I offered to babysit for my two year-old niece so that Libby could get some sleep before her interviews.
December 18, 2008 - 8:45pm
We economists have great respect for “markets”, the interaction of buyers and sellers of some good or service. While sometimes, as with the mall, these markets are easy to locate, other times they do not reside in any particular time or place, as is the case of e-bay. For a few days in January each year, these economists who believe so strongly in markets meet in one city at one time to create a visible labor market. I understand from my colleagues in other fields that similar things happen for them, too.
December 17, 2008 - 9:59pm
Inside Higher Ed has done a good job with publicizing the humor and pain surrounding long distance couples and their families.
December 17, 2008 - 4:58am
When I started my new part-time research job at the university early this fall, they got me a new computer. It’s a laptop, and I love it. I have hobbled along on an old dinosaur for years, because as the miser I am, I could not justify buying a new one (especially with just one salary for the family). I now realize how wonderful it is to have access to fast internet and an updated computer – it makes everything so much easier! How quickly the computer world changes, and how easy it is to lose track of new technology.
December 15, 2008 - 9:46pm
I keep a Word document open on my desktop most of the time. It says "IHE blog ideas," and it's a collection of links and phrases that should spark something for a blog entry. This week I notice that I haven't updated it in a while; I don't think anyone's still really interested in Sarah Palin and working mothers, for example, and several of the other links are to articles published a month or more ago, articles (therefore) that I can't really remember.
December 11, 2008 - 9:51pm
Last week was the anniversary of the legal hearing that made our daughter’s adoption official. And so, as much of the world prepares to celebrate the ultimate in unplanned pregnancies, I want to write about something a little different; I want to write about what adoption looks like today, in the United States. For if “The Lattice” is an alternative approach to one’s career, adoption is also an alternative approach to becoming a parent.

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