Mama PhD

Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

August 6, 2009 - 9:13pm
I guess we made the “big time” when this blog was criticized by the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago. It said that the topic of “work-life” balance was silly, and that the conversations taking place here are better suited to women sharing coffee over a kitchen table. Now that we have gained the attention of the “Diary of the American Dream”, I want to make a small suggestion. I propose that we, collectively, arrive at a better word to describe ourselves besides “blog”.
August 5, 2009 - 3:49pm
With summer vacation comes a flurry of activities to keep children occupied. We’re blessed in our community with all kinds of day camps, sports venues, and art classes through the city’s parks and recreation department. The problem: few of them are in walking distance. A few things appropriate for my son’s age are close by, but activities for my four-year-old daughter require a drive. And aside from our little patio wading pool and hose, there are no swimming pools or spray parks we can walk to when it gets hot.
August 3, 2009 - 9:09pm
Traveling and teaching in England this summer I've had a remarkable release from childcare responsibilities. Part of it is that my kids are older now — my 19-year-old daughter requires almost no additional care (though she's happy to have someone else buy her lunch!), while my son, who just turned 12, can certainly stay home alone for an hour or two without anxiety. Part of it is that my husband is along with me, and has no other formal responsibilities of his own, so he is picking up all the slack.
August 2, 2009 - 8:21pm
I interned at a VA medical center in the early 1990s. In some ways, the experience was a glimpse into the future: funds recently allocated to assist veterans of the first Gulf war had allowed the VA system access to state-of-the-art equipment and training opportunities and the ability to hire first-rate clinicians. In other ways, though, the place was a throwback to the 1950s, when all of the patients and doctors were male, and sexist jokes and attitudes were de rigueur.
July 30, 2009 - 8:41pm
There is a concept in economics called “indifference curves”. These are a graphical picture of combinations of goods that would leave the consumer indifferent between the different combinations. Are two apples and one orange just as good to you as two oranges and one apple? If so, these points can be combined on a graph to form an indifference curve, along with other combinations that also leave the consumer just as happy, or indifferent, among the various outcomes. The result is a graph of lines, similar to those found on a map depicting altitude or weather patterns.
July 29, 2009 - 11:15pm
As I plan the upcoming semester’s courses, I contemplate the oft-emailed articles about the “millennial generation” students. I’m skeptical of these generational generalizations, particularly since they seem to elide the great differences between students (such as economics). Nonetheless, I find intriguing the claim that the new generation of students like to work in teams. I regularly assign group projects, with mixed success.
July 29, 2009 - 7:35am
Weekend evenings in July a professional team of actors perform a Shakespeare play on a stage plunked in the middle of a beautiful field on San Juan Island. Sunday night my husband and I planned to go with a couple we know from graduate school, but our friends were a little wary – this was only the second night ever that they had left their two-year-old daughter with a sitter. The plan was for us to go ahead and stake out a good spot with a blanket; they would get their daughter to sleep (early) and a graduate student settled in to watch her, and meet us there.
July 27, 2009 - 9:37pm
Somewhere in my blog reading over the last few weeks I ran across a link to a brief piece in Double XX, the Slate.com “women's blog” that reported on a study of the effect of professors' politics on their students. Perhaps unsurprisingly to anyone who has taught college in the last twenty years, the researchers discovered little if any effect.
July 26, 2009 - 7:29pm
I came late to this party — I was away when Naomi Schaeffer Riley’s article came out, and when I caught up I felt that Scott and Caroline (in the comments on the WSJ site) and Libby, Liz, and Rosemarie (here on the blog) had nailed it; I had nothing to add. But I find I do want to add a few thoughts.
July 23, 2009 - 9:07pm
A friend from college is spending the year in Rome, on sabbatical with his family, writing two books. Despite the desire to visit them there, to see Rome as no tourist can ever see it, and to introduce my daughter to world travel and the larger world, we did not visit them during the year. This is because the year they chose to spend in Rome was the year that the economy showed difficult times, and we could not, practically speaking, manage to make the trip.

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