Higher Education Webinars

Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

March 7, 2010 - 7:35pm
I sometimes feel unqualified to write this column. I work with clients who teach, but aside from the occasional speaking engagement, I have not been personally involved with academia for over 15 years. So what I have to say may be outmoded. If so, I count on you to set me straight.I have three graduate degrees from two universities: a master’s in drama therapy from New York University and both a master’s in clinical/school psychology and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Adelphi. In all three programs, there were two cardinal rules of scholarship:
March 4, 2010 - 8:25pm
You may have seen what math folks call “Venn Diagrams”. These illustrate sets and subsets using circles that may or may not intersect. For example, a graph illustrating all college students may be shown as a large box, with a (very) small circle in it representing college students who go to Ursuline College. I found myself thinking of this way of portraying the world when I recently found myself with not just a broken leg but also a broken arm.
March 4, 2010 - 1:10pm
Last night I attended a meeting of fiery radicals intent on reforming society at the most basic level: moms at my daughter’s elementary school who want healthier school lunches. (Interestingly, no fathers attended, although there was one precocious 12-year old young man.) We met for the reason many parents are meeting around the country: we are appalled at what our children are fed at school. For example, today’s breakfast is “French toast sandwich” while the lunch is “cheesy chicken bake,” or mac ’n cheese, each served with breadsticks.
March 3, 2010 - 3:48am
The Olympics have just left town. Although we’re collectively gearing up for the Paralympics in a couple of weeks, the big crowds are gone. Classes were suspended at universities and community colleges in the region ostensibly to allow students the opportunity to volunteer at the Olympics. However, the primary reason for the two-week break in the middle of the term was transportation gridlock, cancellation of bus routes and the need to turn university parking lots into park-and-rides for Olympic events.
March 1, 2010 - 9:11pm
When my son was about three we took him out to a restaurant where kids were welcome. He sat in a high chair with a tray, and we put things on it for him to eat. I can't remember exactly what it was that he was so intent on, but I do remember him chasing a piece of food around the tray with his fork, trying — and failing — to spear it. "I got it, I got it, I got it!" he chanted. Then, almost without taking a breath — "I need help!"
February 28, 2010 - 4:19pm
Last week, our family traveled to Ireland for my son’s winter break from school. While there, we visited a pub known for traditional Irish music. There are no scheduled performances; musicians just show up with their instruments and sit in a circle and play and sing.
February 24, 2010 - 9:49pm
I hesitated to write on this topic because of the pain all of the affected families feel right now, including Amy Bishop’s. Unlike Libby Gruner’s reaction to the Bishop case -- “how unusual…for a woman on the tenure-track to have that many children” (perhaps my second thought…) -- my first reaction came after hearing that Bishop had shot her chair as well as other faculty members at a department meeting. (I’ve served as department chair at two universities for over a decade).
February 21, 2010 - 6:23pm
Thanks to everyone who commented on last week’s post. As always, every comment made me think. I’m especially grateful to those who pointed out the fallacy of my assertion that the world is more dangerous (for middle-class children) than previously, because it made me think a lot. Obviously, I should have done some research before I mindlessly repeated that myth.
February 17, 2010 - 9:24pm
I called in sick today for the first time in 18 years of teaching (not counting when I had emergency surgery). If I had an exam scheduled, or student reports, I would have crawled in to work, no matter how crappy I was feeling. As an academic with a relatively flexible schedule, I’ve always tried to get sick on my non-teaching days, or on holidays. But as I sat at my desk grading papers at a snail’s pace, getting increasingly bad-tempered, it hit me that I was feeling, well, sick. Yet the idea of cancelling classes horrifies me.
February 17, 2010 - 8:33am
At the beginning of November I blogged about our first meeting of the SS-MD-BC (second Sunday mother-daughter book club) my daughter and her friends started. I very much appreciated your comments (my new year’s resolution is to be better about responding to blog comments). Since there was interest in hearing more about our selections, I thought I’d catch you up on the books the girls have chosen since then.


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