Higher Education Webinars

Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

September 15, 2008 - 10:10pm
I'm teaching Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein in one of my classes right now, and somehow it's striking a different chord this week than it usually does. Perhaps it's because one of the commenters last week used the term "career suicide," which is one of those phrases that come up when folks talk about balancing academic careers with parenting.
September 15, 2008 - 4:56am
Okay, first up, people, ASK ME QUESTIONS. I'm kind of bad about remembering to write this column on Friday, which no doubt tries my editor's patience, but it doesn't help when I have NO QUESTIONS to answer.
September 12, 2008 - 4:12pm
“Take a stand!” I urged a freshman in a conference during office hours just this morning. “Your paper is wishy-washy. You readers want you to have an opinion and support it with evidence from your research!” “But,” she pleaded, “What if I have mixed feelings?” I urged her to try to quantify her mixed feelings as a percentage and go with the side that’s higher. “But what if it’s fifty-fifty?” Well. Then you go with your gut and support the side that feels right this morning.
September 10, 2008 - 9:39pm
This is the second week of my sabbatical and already I have a sinking feeling that I’m not accomplishing enough.
September 10, 2008 - 5:42am
The patch of woods outside my front door is in trouble. After we moved into our neighborhood four years ago, my husband and I, along with several other community members lobbied hard for an elementary school to serve our growing population. Be careful what you wish for, I guess. Last spring the school district announced plans to build a new elementary school in our community, but we learned that the playing field for the school will cut right through our favorite patch of forest.
September 8, 2008 - 9:46pm
I've been saving links* to the Sarah Palin coverage for the last week and a half, but I'm still feeling a bit stymied as to how to link the coverage of the vice presidential nominee to Mama, PhD. Yet it's clear that this nomination -- far more than Hillary Clinton's run for the presidency, or Geraldine Ferraro's earlier nomination for Vice President--has put the so-called "mommy wars" front and center in the national debate.
September 7, 2008 - 8:33pm
I'm having a bit of a conflict with my supervisor, and I don't know who to ask about it because he's the department chair, and I figure that it's probably not really all that professional to discuss this with anyone I know on the faculty here.
September 5, 2008 - 5:06am
My son’s daycare teacher confided in me that she is also a single mom. It gives me great hope. Not just because she seems like an altogether wonderful person, but also because I have met her grown children – and they are great. In a country that makes you second guess every choice you make as a parent, being a hardworking single parent can be like holding a little folding umbrella in a torrential downpour of doubt. I am by no means suggesting that one parent could ever be superior to two parents; I am merely suggesting that perhaps one parent can be successful despite the odds.
September 3, 2008 - 8:55pm
This week’s Chronicle of Higher Education contains an essay by Roger H. Martin, a former college president who spent a year as a freshman at St. John’s College in Maryland. Unlike Rebekah Nathan’s recent book, My Freshman Year, Martin, 61, did not go undercover in order to study undergraduates. Yet both experiments point out how radically our perspectives change when we become the students. However, professors are used to the intellectual climate of a classroom.
September 3, 2008 - 8:59am
My baby started kindergarten last week. Well, she’s actually five, and very ready for kindergarten, but she’s my youngest. I’ve been anticipating this for months now, with some trepidation. I haven’t so much been worried about her experience; I know the school and the teachers and I know she’ll enjoy it once she settles in. But I’ve had the creeping feeling of increasing pressure as I advance towards a time when it feels harder to call myself a full-time mom.

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