Mama PhD

Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

March 10, 2013 - 4:15pm
Yesterday Ben told me a funny story about one of his professors. "He sounds like a lot of fun," I commented.
March 7, 2013 - 8:00pm
I recently found myself in a conversation with a fellow faculty member about the idea of “comparative advantage.” This is an economic idea that says that people, and countries, should do what they are best at doing. If a person is best at doing math, they should do that. And if a country is best at raising sheep, they should raise sheep. If everyone does what they are best at, the “Classical Economists” tell us, we can then trade with each other and everyone will be better off.
March 6, 2013 - 8:50pm
The other day, my kids were watching The Cat in the Hat Knows a lot about That, a television show on PBS loosely based on the adventures in the books written by Dr. Seuss.  At the beginning of most episodes, the children in the program ask their moms if they can go on an adventure and then head off after receiving consent. This morning my son remarked that he does not understand why the show wastes time with the children asking for permission since their parents always say yes anyway. Then, my daughter remarked that the mother is so busy trying to get her work done that this is why she sends her off.  I looked up from my laptop (where I, of course, was working  while they watched this show) and remarked, well your mommy is not too busy, right? And they both just said, sometimes.
March 4, 2013 - 8:56pm
Twice a week for the last month or so I have driven to an anonymous looking glass and brick building. Automatic doors slide open to admit me and I mount the stairs to a large open space filled with machines, tables, and various exercise implements. It’s not a regular gym; I’m here for physical therapy. After some months of mysterious, on-again, off-again (mostly on-again) pain in my left arm and shoulder, I received a diagnosis of “frozen shoulder” and a prescription for a course of physical therapy, so I now join athletes, post-operative patients, and a number of other folks who look a lot like me as we go through our various paces, trying to rehabilitate shoulders, knees, and ankles.
March 3, 2013 - 12:27pm
I have been following, with sometimes horrified fascination, the initial trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning. At the same time, I have been reading Pat Barker's Regeneration, which is, among other things, a meditation on the conflict between conscience and patriotic duty among officers serving in World War I.  
February 28, 2013 - 8:15pm
One of the cool aspects of teaching college is that I get to learn things from my students that I would not otherwise learn. My need to learn from them most often occurs because I live in a very different world than they do, especially in regards to my relationship to technology.
February 27, 2013 - 9:20pm
Made you look, huh?  I put “boobs” in the title, knowing that it would draw attention and to make a postmodern point.  Not that I really need to make one, after ‘Mr. Family Guy’, the Academy Awards host, made it for me.
February 26, 2013 - 8:40pm
Please, please, please just let us finance our two kids through college without too much debt.  I’m a biologist, by Zeus, not an economist, not an accountant, not a portfolio manager at an investment firm.  I seem to do fine spending money, but planning for enormous purchases such as college and retirement are way beyond my comfort (and frankly, my interest) level.  Way.
February 24, 2013 - 5:11pm
One element of musical improv that I (and many others) find challenging is rhyming. It is hard enough to express a strong emotion melodically, in regular rhythm, often switching off verses or even lines with a partner, without worrying about how to end the line with a rhyme that actually makes sense and is emotionally consonant with what has gone on before.
February 21, 2013 - 8:38pm
A professor in a course in Labor Economics in graduate school once described the workings of the national conference where job searches were held, outlining behavior that might be seen as illegal in many other contexts. For example, it was not uncommon at the time for schools that were hiring to get together before any interviews began to discuss what salaries would be offered that year to those hired at different ranks. He asked us to try to explain how such behavior could not be seen as collusive price setting behavior, and we were all at a loss for words.

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