I’m Excited About: Mama PhD

August 15, 2008 | Blog

It’s a book, a blog, and a t shirt. I realize, sadly, that I’m quite late to the party here– but hey, at least I finally realized there was a party!

Mama(s) PhD are a group of women who seem pretty much like me and my friends, working hard to make it all happen. Their writings reflect a sense of the realness of life. Life, is oh so real. Like today, when I’m working hard with my colleague Doug Harris on our new survey instrument (while sipping lattes at Starbucks b/c their new free wifi is tres cool) and I get a text message from my nanny informing me that my son has pooped 4 times — and it’s only 10:30 am!

Ok…so… what am I to do about that? Respond to said, scary, text? Keep arguing with Doug about how best to measure “work centrality”? (Here’s a measure–How about, if your toddler was pooping a lot but you were at work, would you stay at work?)

I dunno. Me, I texted back– checked in– and kept going. Conor seems to have survived the day.

Now, who wants to get me one of those hot t-shirts??


  1. Reply

    Amy Strecker

    August 15, 2008

    I'm a Mama PhD's kid, and the good news is that we offspring survive! My mom started her PhD about the same time I started puberty -- what a deadly combination. You're smartv to have gotten it done early!

  2. Reply


    August 16, 2008

    I'm delighted you found us! we'll have do to a t-shirt giveaway soon.. keep an eye on our website.
    Caroline, coeditor of Mama, PhD

  3. Reply


    August 19, 2008

    I'm a little put off--as a 4th year female grad student who studies work-family balance as well as educational inequality, I'm very interested in this topic, for personal and research reasons. However, when I clicked over to the Mama PhD blog, the description of the contributors leads me to believe that with the exception of the tenured English prof, none of these women are currently in academia. I too want to know that "blending family life with life in the ivory tower might be possible" but why should I listen to women who aren't doing it?

  4. Reply

    Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab

    August 20, 2008

    Hi Ann,

    You want to know that blending academia & family might be possible? There are dozens of us doing it--and talking about it (me included)-- but there are also plenty of reasons to listen to those for whom it's NOT worked out. Sometimes it's just as important to know what leads to departure as what leads to so-called success.

  5. Reply


    August 22, 2008

    Hi Ann,
    The Mama, PhD contributors blogging at InsideHigherEd.com actually include 3 tenured professors (Libby Gruner, Della Fenster, and Aeron Haynie) and one who left a tenure track position and is now teaching at community college (Tedra Osell, whose bio hasn't been added yet).

    As for contributors to the anthology, more than half of them (26) are currently teaching in higher ed. We wanted the book to represent as fully as possible the wide range of women's experiences in higher education, and so our contributors include those with PhDs and other terminal degrees, those still in progress, mothers of young kids, mothers of grown kids, and those without kids or still undecided. I hope that somewhere in its pages, you'd find a voice or two that speaks to you!
    Caroline Grant
    coeditor, Mama, PhD

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