Aeron Haynie became a mother the year after she received tenure at the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay (and exactly one day after she turned 40). Formerly chair of English, she is now on sabbatical and relishes each day.
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September 3, 2008
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.
August 27, 2008
Watching the Democratic National Convention this week, I was struck by the convention’s focus on mothers’ legacies, particularly in Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton’s superb speeches. Clinton’s statement -- “My mother was born before women could vote. But in this election my daughter got to vote for her mother for president” -- highlights the incredible transition that took place in my own mother’s (and grandmother’s) lifetimes.
August 21, 2008
Yesterday I met with the new chair of my department to tie up loose ends, hand over some paperwork, and give him whatever advice I could. I felt a bit like I do when I leave town and my husband takes care of our daughter: part of me hopes it goes well, but a selfish part of me hopes something goes wrong so he will see how hard it is. Like parenting, it is hard to really prepare someone for what’s involved in chairing a department. Neither endeavor looks that taxing on paper.
August 13, 2008
Lately, I’ve been enjoying long walks with a good friend and colleague on our city’s arboretum trails. Years ago, we started walking together a couple of times a week at the end of the day. These walks were a great way to vent our frustrations about departmental politics, share teaching moments, and touch base with each other about our lives. I learned about the challenges faced by small departments and long-distance academic couples while she empathized with the death of my father and my new marriage.
July 30, 2008
This fall our school district will implement a four-year-old kindergarten program. I was pleased to hear this because my daughter just turned four and for once I seemed to be at the right place at the right time. Things got even better when her daycare was selected as one of the sites for this free program. As far as I was concerned, this meant that she would be staying where she is very happy but the county would pay for the mornings, four days a week. What perfect timing, I thought, since I’ll be on a full-year sabbatical at reduced pay this coming year.
July 23, 2008
Summers in Green Bay, Wisconsin are a magical time, especially if you have small children. My four year old daughter and I walk down our quiet, tree-lined street to a well-maintained playground and turquoise wading pool where my daughter splashes happily for hours. Around noon a large white truck distributes free lunches –- a sandwich, milk, carrot sticks and a cookie, typically –- to all children under 18. A five minute drive away is a local amusement park that charges no entrance fee, and where a ride on the carousel or Ferris wheel only costs 50 cents.
July 16, 2008
This is an excerpt from the essay, "Motherhood After Tenure: Confessions of a Late Bloomer" published in Mama, PhD: Women Write about Motherhood and Academic Life, Rutgers University Press, 2008.