Mama PhD

Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

September 7, 2008 - 8:33pm
I'm having a bit of a conflict with my supervisor, and I don't know who to ask about it because he's the department chair, and I figure that it's probably not really all that professional to discuss this with anyone I know on the faculty here.
September 5, 2008 - 5:06am
My son’s daycare teacher confided in me that she is also a single mom. It gives me great hope. Not just because she seems like an altogether wonderful person, but also because I have met her grown children – and they are great. In a country that makes you second guess every choice you make as a parent, being a hardworking single parent can be like holding a little folding umbrella in a torrential downpour of doubt. I am by no means suggesting that one parent could ever be superior to two parents; I am merely suggesting that perhaps one parent can be successful despite the odds.
September 3, 2008 - 8:55pm
This week’s Chronicle of Higher Education contains an essay by Roger H. Martin, a former college president who spent a year as a freshman at St. John’s College in Maryland. Unlike Rebekah Nathan’s recent book, My Freshman Year, Martin, 61, did not go undercover in order to study undergraduates. Yet both experiments point out how radically our perspectives change when we become the students. However, professors are used to the intellectual climate of a classroom.
September 3, 2008 - 8:59am
My baby started kindergarten last week. Well, she’s actually five, and very ready for kindergarten, but she’s my youngest. I’ve been anticipating this for months now, with some trepidation. I haven’t so much been worried about her experience; I know the school and the teachers and I know she’ll enjoy it once she settles in. But I’ve had the creeping feeling of increasing pressure as I advance towards a time when it feels harder to call myself a full-time mom.
September 1, 2008 - 8:22pm
Only two weeks ago I confidently announced that "it's not a race," that I'd be able to keep my head above water, my feet on the ground, my mind in the game . . . OK, I didn't really employ all those cliches, but I watched a lot of Olympic coverage and they snuck in there. In any event, all the pre-semester planning made it seem as if I'd get right back into the swing of the semester, and still have time for myself.
August 29, 2008 - 5:00am
Hurrah for the IT department! I never thought I would say that about any IT department anywhere. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy technology and try to learn as much as I can about it. Mostly I try to learn new innovative ways technology can be used in my classroom. I am currently exploring using Facebook and Skype to have virtual meetings with students, video conferencing for team taught classes and the unique applications of blogs and wikis. It’s all very exciting! Yet, in my past – there have been times where (at my last institution) IT and I have been, well, at odds.
August 27, 2008 - 9:50pm
There is always an ebb and flow of parenthood, but at this time of year, as the kids all start back to school, I personally feel more of the ebb of life, rather than the flow. I hate packing school lunches for my kids. Unfortunately they usually do not like hot lunches at their school, and I am not all that fond of Lunchables with all their packaging. But I struggle to think of a variety of food to include each day – healthy, well-balanced food within each child’s repertoire of acceptable.
August 27, 2008 - 8:26am
Watching the Democratic National Convention this week, I was struck by the convention’s focus on mothers’ legacies, particularly in Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton’s superb speeches. Clinton’s statement -- “My mother was born before women could vote. But in this election my daughter got to vote for her mother for president” -- highlights the incredible transition that took place in my own mother’s (and grandmother’s) lifetimes.
August 25, 2008 - 10:18pm
I read a piece in the Chronicle last week about being a parent and an adjunct. Maybe you saw it: "It's All in the Bag," by Corinne Bennet. You see, her nice, professional-looking handbag also works as a diaper bag, but she's in fact unable to bring together her dual lives as parent and part-time professor quite so neatly.
August 22, 2008 - 5:03am
I’ve just had two weeks of faculty orientation activities and I am so tired I can’t see straight. Between the introductions and receptions and workshops on balancing scholarship and pedagogy, I have had little time to chip away at these little things known as syllabi. Classes start next week. I had a plan to get everything done. It has not been altogether successful. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love all the orienting I have had the luxury of enjoying lately – it’s just the balancing thing already seems to be getting the best of me.

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