Higher Education Webinars

Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

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. 
September 17, 2009 - 9:42pm
One of the first things I learned upon becoming a mom was that I needed to be much smarter than I am. I needed to become my child’s advocate in many arenas, and some of these were areas that I had no knowledge of. For example, I needed to become, in many ways, my daughter’s primary care physician, looking out for her health as I assembled the information presented by doctors of different specialties. For the job of being my daughter’s advocate, I often found myself relying on sources ranging from books to the internet to my wonderful colleagues.
September 16, 2009 - 8:24am
Health care is on the minds of Canadians these days, just as it is at the forefront of discussions in the United States. However, our fight is by comparison much easier than that which U.S. citizens face. We’re simply trying to keep our existing universal coverage strong and well funded since cuts to health care are the first things politicians go for when there are budget shortfalls. Here in Canada most of my friends and I used to take for granted our universal health coverage, but increasingly with the U.S.
September 14, 2009 - 10:04pm
Updates from my daughter, now in her second week of college, come in the form of facebook status updates and text messages. We’ve talked a couple of times as well, but we’re certainly not having the daily phone conversations that some of my friends and colleagues have reported as the norm between college kids and their parents. This doesn’t really surprise me: we’re text people, in our house, vastly preferring to compose our thoughts in words on paper (pixels on screen?) before we send them out into the world.

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