Mama PhD

Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

August 10, 2009 - 10:08pm
My piece last week struck a nerve, it seems, among some childless academics and with at least one person who didn’t comment as a teacher, but as someone working a more nine to five position. The big divide, as this commenter noted, is not really between the parents and those without children, but between folks with flexible work schedules and those without.
August 9, 2009 - 9:57pm
Since the incident I wrote about last week, in which I failed to stand up for my fellow women, I have tried to become more sensitive to the fact that no matter how victimized I feel I am, I, in turn, am usually standing on the backs of other women who have an even harder time.
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.

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