Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.
June 2, 2008 - 10:23pm
In my bio for this blog, I mention "two children, one of whom should be heading off to college in the fall." The verb is deliberately ambiguous: when I wrote the bio, we were not yet sure if her plans for the fall would be approved by the college of her choice. As of this writing, however, I can be more certain: my daughter will not, in fact, be heading off for college in the fall.
June 1, 2008 - 10:16pm
A professional mom named “Abigail” wrote me in the throes of deciding whether to leave her corporate career for an academic one. Here’s a piece of her letter:
May 29, 2008 - 9:42pm
Wikipedia states: In general usage, complexity often tends to be used to characterize something with many parts in intricate arrangement. Random House, Webster’s and Dictionary.com all state similar definitions of complexity and intricacy as “maze-like”, “akin to a labyrinth” and “having many interrelated parts or facets; entangled or involved.” An article in the 2008 Encyclopedia Britannica calls the study of complexity “exciting and evolving.” If that doesn’t describe the giddy world of teaching and mothering – I don’t know what else would.
May 29, 2008 - 5:51am
Let me clear up any misconception. I am a tenured faculty member at a celebrated liberal arts institution who will soon come up for promotion to full professor.
May 28, 2008 - 5:20am
I have a friend who’s coming up for tenure at a major research university this summer. He calls it his dream job. The good news is, it doesn’t look like he will have any trouble getting tenure. Just a few months ago, his wife received tenure at a small liberal arts school. Her dream job. The only trouble is, the two schools are separated by, oh, 500 miles or so. Most weeks during the academic year my friend flies up for a three-day weekend to be with them (yes, them – oh, did I forget to mention they have a 2 year old daughter?)
May 27, 2008 - 5:33am
I've probably spent more time than I should over this Memorial Day weekend at the IHE site, reading and re-reading Scott Jaschik's piece, "Does Academe Hinder Parenthood?" and, especially, the comments on the piece. (Almost 30 of them, at last count.) Jaschik's piece confirmed my sense, derived purely from "anecdata," that academics--and academic women, especially--tend to have smaller families than other professionals.
May 23, 2008 - 4:47am
Super Nanny was cancelled tonight – replaced by Lost. As if pretty, stranded people battling unknown forces could replace my crack like addiction to Super Nanny. The woman is a Domestic Goddess. She has all the answers. What do I do about my son's constant whining? His inability to stay in his own bed? His obsession with pink socks? Super Nanny is the consummate hero. She flies into a chaotic home with her lists and chore boards and jars of shiny "privilege" marbles just waiting to be confiscated.
May 22, 2008 - 8:04am
On a recent Saturday, right in the middle of our weekly cleaning spree, an acquaintance called to invite my eight-year-old son over to play. She also suggested that I come along and relax in the garden "while the boys play." "I'm sorry," I replied, "I'm leaving the country next Friday and I am trying to get things in order before I leave." As soon as the last syllable left my mouth I regretted it. TMI. (Too Much Information.) I knew it.
May 21, 2008 - 8:07am
Each year some 57,000 newly awarded PhD’s enter the job market – way too many for all to find positions at desirable (or even less-than-desirable) colleges and universities. Is the time spent working toward a doctoral degree wasted if the PhD is unable to, or chooses not to land a top-notch academic job? No -- absolutely not. I contend that earning a PhD is a totally selfish pursuit. A graduate student works very diligently, inspired by profound personal interest, to discover or create something new, conduct a novel experiment, or uncover a great mystery.
May 19, 2008 - 9:51pm
It happens every year around this time: I lose an entire month. I start looking forward to May in about February, which is at least two weeks longer than it should be. In the gray gloom of mid-semester, May seems an impossible promise, almost a full month of good weather and unscheduled days. Finals, honors theses, and graduation will fly by, leaving me with an empty desk and a computer file full of ideas. As an academic parent I especially to look forward to May, when I'm out of school but the kids aren't: I plan all kinds of unlikely projects for those open weeks.