Higher Education Webinars

Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

October 15, 2009 - 8:34pm
A long time ago, in a college that now seems to be a galaxy far, far away, I started my college career thinking that I was going to major in physics. While I did go on to earn a minor in the subject, it wasn’t long before I realized that I could apply the same math used in physics to study the economy, and I changed my major to economics, going on to earn a Ph.D. in the field. Besides, when I was in high school, I had gone so far as to take out a classic economics textbook from the library and read it, for fun. I guess I should have known that economics would grab me in the end.
October 15, 2009 - 8:10am
In the last couple of months, my husband and I were both “furloughed”: we were each informed by our respective employers that we had to take 5 (in his case) and 8 (in my case) unpaid days off. Of course, like many Americans, we smarted at this financial blow. But we also thought heck, it’s better than being laid off entirely, or watching our co-workers get laid off. However, there was one crucial difference in our respective furloughs: my husband (who works in the private sector) was told to take those days off.
October 12, 2009 - 9:15pm
Dana Campbell came at the new census data on "opting out" last week from a rather different perspective than mine: the perspective of the opter-out, if you will, rather than the opter-in. And I agree with my fellow Mama, PhD that we need more subtle distinctions and more, not less, discussion of the work-family issues that make career "choice" increasingly a chimera.
October 11, 2009 - 9:50pm
Reader Tekbek sent this article from ASEE Prism describing a study that examined students’ reactions to stereotypically “male” and “female” self-presentations. The authors found that male engineering students were less tolerant than other students of what are described as “female-typical speech styles,” in which the speaker admitted to difficulties or mistakes:
October 9, 2009 - 12:38am
This one week when I was ahead of myself and wrote my entry early in the week, and, what do you know, I find myself changing it at the last minute. I was so intrigued by Dana Campbell’s column yesterday talking about what may be the truth behind the idea of well-educated women “opting out” of high-pressure jobs in order to parent that I wanted to write some thoughts in reply to it. She did a great job of summarizing the discussion that started in the Washington Post last week, and went on to suggest some thoughts of her own.
October 8, 2009 - 9:33am
Temperatures are on the rise as funds are sinking fast for college tuition.
October 7, 2009 - 8:42am
An article in the Washington Post last week stirred up the old “Opt-out” argument of Lisa Belkin by bringing in recent census statistics to investigate patterns of at-home parenting.
October 5, 2009 - 9:36pm
I've been going to a lot more meetings this year than I've done in years past — it's a mark of my current position chairing our new First Year Seminar program. There are, it seems, endless meetings on the way to establishing a new academic program: I go from committee meeting to faculty meeting to student interview and back again, usually carrying not only the materials I need to consult in the meeting but also the book I'm about to teach — or have just taught.
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.

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