Higher Education Webinars

Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

April 14, 2010 - 10:04pm
Last week a colleague and I gave a talk to new faculty on work-life balance. It is part of series of forums for first year tenure-track faculty sponsored by our Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning. While I was flattered to be asked, I was also a bit nervous. Like most of us, my ability to juggle work and life varies from day to day. Yet I was also shy to admit that there are times when I am, gasp, not working. Academia fosters a culture of workaholism, and folks who challenge this hegemony are often labeled less serious. “Competitive martyrdom,” a friend calls it.
April 13, 2010 - 9:06pm
I’m a mom, who has prioritized full-time parenting, and I stand in the sidelines of academia. This can be painful, I am no longer considered an expert in my field; the traditional route is pretty well closed and it’s unclear how to balance my work passions from home, blah, blah, blah; I’ve written about this before.
April 12, 2010 - 10:29pm
Sometimes I think it's a good thing I'm not wealthy*. Not that I can't imagine all kinds of good things to do with lots of money, of course, from traveling to donating to paying for the kids' college to…
April 11, 2010 - 6:33pm
I don’t think it’s coincidental that recent posts to this blog have focused on the importance of self-care even in the face of others’ needs, the longing for vacation and the need to find and pursue one's passion. April can, indeed, be the cruelest mo
April 8, 2010 - 8:17pm
I have written before about my philosophy of learning math. I tell my students that one needs to do math wrong first, before one can figure out how to do it right. This, after all, is the logic of doing homework. Homework gives students a chance to mull over problems and possibly go down blind alleys, only to eventually learn how to solve a problem in a way that works. I have also seen such a theory applied to many areas in life. It is often the case that we need to make our own mistakes so as to learn how not to make those same mistakes again.
April 8, 2010 - 4:34am
Geez. There ain’t no denying it. Forty-five is middle-aged. Actually it’s beyond middle-aged. I’ll be darn lucky to make it to ninety (or to pay off my mortgages by then). Still, I count my blessings for making it this far, and I bought tickets to an appropriate birthday play as a reward.
April 7, 2010 - 8:53am
Recently a friend of mine, a fellow PhD/stay-at-home mom, told me that she’d taken the day off. I was puzzled since I was sure she was no longer taking on research contracts. What did she mean, she’d taken the day off? It took me a second to get it. She meant, of course, that she’d not done errands, laundry, volunteer work, writing, editing, shuttling kids, or any of the myriad chores she needed to do. In those precious hours while her children were in school she read a novel, just for fun and just to give herself a break. I was impressed.
April 5, 2010 - 8:59pm
It's Nick's spring break week this week. The weather is gorgeous — spring has catapulted us overnight into summer, and the flowers seem to be vying with each other to display their showiest effects. It's almost too hot out, but after a long, hard winter it's hard to complain about that. We had a lovely Easter celebration over the weekend — friends, food and wine were all abundant, and everyone seemed relaxed and happy.But. (There's always a "but," isn't there?)
April 4, 2010 - 5:08pm
I have been reading Libby Gruner’s recent “advising” columns with interest, both because I wish I’d had someone like her to advise me when I was a floundering undergraduate, and because my son is (knock wood) about to finish the tenth grade, and we’re starting to talk about future plans in ways that are more fo
April 1, 2010 - 7:55am
I’ve never considered myself an administrator. I’m a teacher first, a scholar second, and committee member/service provider third. I doubt that very many professors begin their careers intending to become chairs, deans or college presidents. After all, the duties of an administrator — dealing with paperwork, making pragmatic decisions, being politic and worrying about the fiscal well-being of the institution — is quite different from the isolated pursuit of truth that most of us sign up for.

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