Higher Education Webinars

Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

October 4, 2009 - 7:59pm
I thought all of the responses to last week’s post were terrific. Differential treatment can be hard to talk about, but several readers managed to write eloquently about their impressions and experiences. All provided food for thought, but I was particularly struck by “Long Distance Mom”’s observation: “After serving as a department chair at two universities, I learned that the "Speak low and slowly, but smile frequently" advice is often a double bind. Faculty, both male and female, seem surprised by critical evaluations from female administrators. Freudian 'mother' issues aside ...
October 1, 2009 - 8:29pm
Ok, so I admit it. I am not a good cook, and, on top of it, I spend a lot of time driving my daughter around to various lessons and even doctor’s appointments. Although I know better, the other day I drove through McDonald’s in an effort to get something resembling dinner in her. I have done the calculations of what the best deal was in order to feed her, and have decided that, at this point in her life, the Happy Meal offered the right size portions for the best price, with options not available otherwise.
September 30, 2009 - 9:29pm
This week I’m teaching Frankenstein in a lower-level women’s literature course. Among the host of meaty issues, we discuss the ways that Mary Shelley’s novel critiques the male scientist’s obsessive and isolating pursuit of knowledge at the expense of family/romantic/community ties. At the novel’s end, Victor Frankenstein counsels the explorer, Captain Walton, to “seek happiness in tranquility, and avoid ambition.”
September 30, 2009 - 8:25am
A radio interview I heard yesterday completely derailed the blog theme I’d planned for this week (I’ll have to save the sex topic for next time). Let’s just say I’ve become a little obsessed with obsessiveness since hearing the program. The interview (from CBC radio’s “The Current”) was titled “Obsessive Work” and featured an ornithologist named Glen Chilton who’s just published a book about his 15 year obsession with tracking down every stuffed specimen of the extinct Labrador duck.
September 28, 2009 - 10:45pm
Once a week or so I leave my house in the morning at the usual time, bag packed, computer stowed—but instead of heading straight to my office I go elsewhere. Specifically, I head to a very public, chain bookstore café — one with free wifi — where I order a cup of coffee, plug in my laptop, and work for a few hours before heading in to my office. The place is hardly welcoming. It’s the opposite of “Cheers,” where “everybody knows your name” — in fact, that’s part of its appeal. I am anonymous here, and I relish the anonymity.
September 27, 2009 - 8:43pm
In a recent article in The Chronicle , Mary Ann Mason discusses ways the deck is stacked against ambitious women. The entire article is worth reading, but this passage, in particular, evoked strong memories and mixed feelings:
September 24, 2009 - 9:47pm
The term “altruism” is used in economics to describe the situation where one person’s well being depends, in part, on the well being of another, perhaps leading to donations of time or money. In contrast, the term “impure altruism” is used, without any sense of judgment on the giver, to describe a situation where the giver improves their own well-being not just from the improved state of the recipient, but also from the act of giving itself.
September 23, 2009 - 9:17pm
There’s no denying it. The school year is in full gear now. Labor Day has passed. October is coming. My heart breaks every year in September at the reality of resuming my twice a month commute to see my kids in Florida. Since my teenagers are starting to think about colleges soon, I recognize how precious the remaining days are for us to share dinner together, or for me to challenge my son about not mowing the grass or my daughter for emptying her closet onto her floor. I already miss these complaints!
September 23, 2009 - 8:47am
My mom grew up on a ranch, and she made sure when my brother and I were old enough, we learned how to ride horses. We both took lessons on a weekly basis for years, between the ages of about 8 and 14. English riding and jumping, trail riding with western saddles, even some bareback – we both loved it. Then I stopped as high school life got too busy and, until a week ago, hadn’t been on a horse since. This semester, I happened to notice an advertisement inviting new members to the university equestrian club (I never knew it existed before!).
September 20, 2009 - 6:48pm
  A recent study of women with postgraduate degrees suggests that black women born after 1950 are increasingly likely — and twice as likely as their white peers — to be unmarried at age 45. The study also found that 45 percent of black academic women born between 1955 and 1960 were childless at age 45, compared with 35 percent of white women born in the same time period.  

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