Mama PhD

Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

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.
July 23, 2009 - 5:22am
Summer is when we expose our kids (particularly our city kids) to nature, gardening and camping gear. My teenagers already get “environmental” assignments during the school year, but when summer comes, they get to live them out. Those “green” talks from Mom or those tests at school are set aside for combating slugs on our backyard lettuce or tasting the differences between faucet water in Chicago and northern Wisconsin.
July 22, 2009 - 8:21am
I found the recent Wall Street Journal article about family-work balance blogs surprising. After all, in my own family my husband and I frequently check in with one another and analyze how we’re both feeling about the family-work juggle. We’re both guilty of being pretty intent on our navels much of the time. But we find that we haven’t just made static choices about how to divide our work and family lives.
July 20, 2009 - 9:16pm
Blogs are boring. Did you know? No less an authority than the Wall Street Journal has decreed it so; indeed, work-life balance blogs, like this one, are particularly boring. At least, that seemed to be where the above-referenced article began, with a side-swipe at the entire concept of a “national conversation” (especially one about something so potentially trivial, and certainly so elusive, as work-life balance).
July 19, 2009 - 7:54pm
Dear Susan, I just came across your blog, and I am excited to find women discussing the stresses of balancing graduate school and motherhood. Campuses are so geared towards the traditional aged students, that we older gals fall through the cracks.
July 16, 2009 - 9:25pm
When I was in graduate school, one of our teachers suggested to those of us planning to go on to teach college that we should “never do algebra in public”. For some reason, that bit of advice has stuck with me over the years, even becoming a mantra among my math majors here at Ursuline College. Whenever I am confronted with a difficult problem that I have not previously worked out, I find myself sidestepping the issue by saying that I don’t want to “do algebra in public.”
July 16, 2009 - 8:09am
My daughter is at the age where she likes to hear stories about my childhood. “Tell me a story about little Aeron and little Deirdre,” she begs. They all begin in the same way: “Once upon a time, in a town called Buffalo, New York, there were two sisters…” I tell her about the Christmas when my father surprised me with grown-up platform shoes, when I barfed all over my sister after Thanksgiving, and of the mean tricks I played on friends. Anecdotes turn into fairy tales. I shorten and modify them to be entertaining but not frightening.
July 15, 2009 - 3:24pm
My husband and I got a babysitter a couple nights ago and we went for a walk around a popular Washington stated vacation destination for wealthy boaters: Roche Harbor. This resort is on the other side of San Juan Island from the Friday Harbor Marine Biology Labs, where we’re spending our summer. Walking around, we appreciated a new addition this year to the resort grounds: a series of signs indicating and annotating landmarks with historical value: “The Lime Kiln”, “The Chapel”, “The Workers’ cottages”.
July 13, 2009 - 9:07pm
It's a commonplace to joke about the linguistic divisions between the English and Americans. We may share a language, American TV and movies may own the globe, and computers may make instantaneous communication throughout the English-speaking world possible, but we still have trouble, sometimes, making ourselves understood to each other. I find myself saying “pardon?” just as often as I hear it from shopkeepers and telephone service folks myself—it's particularly hard to make yourself understood over the phone, I find, absent body language and gesture.

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