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Mama, PHD: Women Write about Motherhood and Academic Life Paperback – May 19 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press (May 19 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813543185
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813543185
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #227,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 15 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
From women who have gone before: balancing the Mama and the PhD June 30 2008
By Merrie - Published on
Format: Paperback
In today's world, a Mama, PhD, is (at best) an awkward thing to be. The glistening Ivory Tower is a place of the mind, and a place they try to make a disconnected mind. It is the realm of the intellectuals who are not busy with the physical realm. And the realm of motherhood is, firstly, a physical one. Making the two opposite spheres of "All Mind" and "All Body" mesh is an intense juggling act made worse by the academy's continued unfriendliness towards women, and in particular, mamas. If you try to balance both, the academy says, they must be in worlds as separate as the Mind and the Body. Parallel tracks that never, ever cross - and it would really be preferable if you'd just choose between one or the other.

And that's where this book comes in. As the Introduction explains, "With no easy solution for the struggles they encounter, women take a variety of different approaches as they attempt to reconcile family and academy." The essays anthologized are real women sharing their stories of bringing together both hemispheres, the Mama and the PhD; of women who have chosen to put one on hold for the sake of the other, and of women still deciding. They talk candidly of the difficulties and the sacrifices, and share how they've come to terms with their decisions regarding motherhood and the academy. There are stories of women who have not only not chosen, but have brought the two halves of themselves together into a whole. The last section of the book, "Momifesto", shares brighter hopes for change and a new future for the Mama, PhDs. And in the essay with the same title, women considering this balancing act will be encouraged by the compilation of ten things the authors wished they'd known.

In short, "Mama, PhD" is a necessary book for any woman considering, muddling through, or interested in the shaky balance between motherhood and the academy. And yet, while this is geared specifically for those in or through graduate school, many of the themes - balancing work, careers, and children - will ring true for women in the working world as well. It's a book where the authors write honestly of their struggles and consequent decisions, one that will make you better informed about the choices you may face (or have faced), and one that will spark plenty of discussion. But even more, it's one that will leave you encouraged, as you read the stories of those that have gone before.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Not just for PhDs July 27 2008
By Suzanne Kamata - Published on
Format: Paperback
Although I am not an academic, (I teach as an adjunct and have occasional fantasies about becoming a professor), I found this book highly engaging. Who knew that the academy, that last bastion of liberal arts, was so conservative? The writers offer up stories of trying to accomodate both scholarship and motherhood - and occasionally giving up, as well as tips on how to deal with colleagues and antiquated policies regarding maternity leave and childcare, and ideas on how everything could be better. Some of my favorite essays were by the iconoclasts - Elrena Evans on trying to fit in as a feminist Christian while teaching barefoot, Angelica Duran on being a single mother from a low income family and making it work anyhow, and Jennifer Margulis on teaching (or trying to) in Niger.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Food for thought indeed! July 4 2008
By Elizabeth Cody - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I graduated from college with my BA, I never looked back. My mother/career tug of war was solved when I sold my first book three weeks after my daughter was born. I've worked at home ever since. I've certainly read my share of books on the issue of mothers in the workplace, but never one like this. I'm ashamed to admit that the plight of our most highly educated women ascending the ivory tower while endeavoring to begin families of their own had never blipped across my radar. Until now. I devoured essay after essay by these outstanding women, losing myself in their stories. I was astonished to learn the obstacles, the tribulations, and the plethora of unfortunate remarks they encountered and endured. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, but particularly women considering or enjoying a career in the realms of higher education. Well done, Mama PHDs!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
thoughtful and engaging June 30 2008
By Raleigh Zwerin - Published on
Format: Paperback
Mama Phd is an anthology of heartfelt essays written by women. The writers beautifully describe the challenge of balancing family and academic life. This book will resonate with all mamas, working or stay-at-home. I couldn't put it down.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Make it work June 17 2008
By Tara Koup - Published on
Format: Paperback
Mama PHD gives readers a lovely look into motherhood and academics. Written by real women trying to make it all work, the book shows you the struggles and successes that come about when children and courses mix together.