Mama PhD

Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

August 26, 2009 - 3:53pm
As I have written about before, I am in a transition phase in my life. After intensively spending most of my waking (and asleep!) hours over the past 10 years with my kids, my younger daughter has now successfully completed a year of full-time kindergarten, and went back to school a couple days ago as an enthusiastic and independent first grader. My older daughter comfortably flourishes in fifth grade at the school she now knows very well. I have more time to develop myself outside of mothering than I have for a long time. Liberating? Yes!
August 24, 2009 - 8:52pm
I got back to the States just over a week ago. The next morning, my 12-year-old started a week-long day camp and I went back to work. Our last few days in England had been a true vacation, sightseeing in London, and I’m really glad we took the extra days. At the time, though, it had begun to feel almost like a burden—there was a syllabus to write, after all, a talk to give at the faculty colloquy, a daughter to prepare for college. Those three days, though, (almost) internet-free and far from a phone, gave me the break I needed to get back to work this week.
August 23, 2009 - 7:48pm
“Random thoughts” posted an interesting comment to last week’s post, about the difference between thoughtlessness and active malice in our treatment of less-privileged coworkers. “Suzanne” added her belief that academic women “never notice anyone but themselves.”
August 21, 2009 - 9:23am
Calculus, which I begin teaching again on Monday, is the world of the infinitesimal. Rather than asking about changes over a decade, year, or even second, we ask about changes over lengths of time and space that are so small they approach lengths of zero. We can then talk about changes that happen in an instant, or even a point.
August 20, 2009 - 7:30am
Well, I can’t live in denial any longer: the end of my sabbatical is fast approaching. In two weeks I begin teaching four courses, five days a week, chairing a search committee, attending numerous meetings, and re-immersing myself in campus politics.
August 19, 2009 - 8:01am
My household is a bit disrupted this month with a visit from my sister and her family. These get-togethers are rare since they live thousands of miles away in Europe, where my sister and her husband are both professional musicians. We treasure this time when the cousins can spend the days in one long, extended play date, while the grown-ups eat great meals and sample one bottle of wine after another, simply enjoying each other’s company.
August 16, 2009 - 8:00pm
No Woman Is an Island, Part 3 (The last one, I promise): The Privilege of Not Recognizing Privilege A friend responded to my post of last week in a way that took me aback: “You said you were trying to educate yourself about the issues faced by non-academic university employees — but that is what you were!”
August 13, 2009 - 9:51pm
In economics, we draw a graph matching the various prices that a good could be sold at with the quantity of that good that people would be willing to buy at each price and call it a “demand curve.” Sloping down, this demand curve can shift for many different reasons. Some of these reasons include changes in the income of the consumers involved, changes in the prices of substitutes or complementary goods, or changes in popularity of the goods themselves. For example, I suspect that the demand curve for horse-drawn carriages has shifted greatly since the advent of the automobile.
August 12, 2009 - 8:23pm
Middle-aged readers will remember the popular Saturday Night Live sketch of the 1970s and early 80s-- Mr. Bill. Mr. Bill is an animated puppet with a big white head and simply sketched face that changes expression as Mr. Bill encounters disasters, usually embodied by “Mr. Hands” or “Sluggo.” “Oh Nooooo!” Mr. Bill cries in Hurricane Sluggo (2003) as an alligator opens its big jaws and swallows Mr. Bill while he is waiting on a rooftop in a flooded New Orleans.
August 12, 2009 - 7:09am
Last week I went to a lecture by David Montgomery, author of “Dirt: the Erosion of Civilizations”. I didn’t expect the lecture to effect me quite as much as it did (I mean, what do you expect from a talk about dirt?). But I have now added a new problem to my list of serious (and interrelated) environmental worries: -- Climate disruption --Fisheries collapse/ocean destruction --Habitat and species loss --Environmental toxins

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