Mama PhD

Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

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.
July 12, 2009 - 8:27pm
“Suzanne” posted a thoughtful response to last week’s column, objecting to my use of the term “victim bashing” to describe ridicule of women whose traditional career-related choices have backfired. I don’t want to put words into Suzanne’s mouth, but the argument, as I understand it, is that referring to such women as victims of their upbringing and our shared culture denies them agency and competence to make their own choices, and thus status as full human beings.
July 9, 2009 - 9:25pm
While on vacation a few weeks ago, we had lunch at a unique restaurant just off the beach in Newport, Rhode Island. It is called “Flo’s Clam Shack”. Founded in the 1930s, the building looks as weathered and wind-beaten as the name implies. While there was no sand on the floor that day, there often is, as people saunter in off the beach to enjoy the seafood. Flo had been one of the first to try frying the tasty clams found off New England, and had thus brought a delicious treat to everyone who lived there.
July 8, 2009 - 9:57pm
On June 28th I found myself picking up my two teenagers in New York City to spend the rest of the summer with me in Chicago. It happened to be the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and a big Gay Pride weekend. My friend, community activist Isabel Grayson, and I decided to take our kids up to Greenwich Village to see the parade.

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