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"Mama PhD" by Elrena Evans and Caroline Grant

Wednesday, December 1, 2010 - 5:17pm
Mama PhD

Book Trailer

Here's what MotherTalk reviewers are saying about Mama PhD:

Bluemilk says, "By the time you finish Mama PhD you will know one thing with absolute certainty, the patriarchy is an extraordinarily wasteful way of organising society! Because what country, and certainly what university can afford to squander human capital in such a fashion - to obstruct, deny, and ultimately chase highly educated and talented women from out of its ranks?"

Compost Happens says, "The contributors to Mama, PhD write with clarity and passion. Essays are easy to follow, and despite (or perhaps due to) the advanced degrees of the writers, easy to understand. Emotions are never far below the surface; readers will feel the pain and the divisiveness the writers encounter."

Wavybrains says, “I loved that a wide range of disiplines, ages, geography, and experiences are represented by the essays. The women representing the sciences, psychology, economics, and history add a depth to the conversation, one that I’m not sure could be achieved in a book of MFA’s and English PhD’s. Consequently, I would make this book a must-read and a must-gift for any woman contemplating or living with a graduate degree.”

Peter’s Cross Station says, “And I feel torn about it. I would have felt guilty doing the writing and now I feel guilty because I didn’t.  Enter the book that speaks to all of that and more.  If I can’t join them, I can at least nod frantically in agreement and sympathy as I read about mothers who feel they have to keep pregnancies a secret and pretend their children don’t exist to maintain the respect of their colleagues.”

PCOS Baby says, “It was a very open, sometimes brutally frank, look at the academy and essentially how it fails women who want to also have a family. And yes, some of the contributors talk about how it also fails men who want to have a family—but they also make the point that men are not responsible for the physical demands of both pregnancy, birth, and nursing a baby.  Many of the essays made me feel very…well, vindicated in my career choice is probably the best way to say it.”

Life in the Hundred-Acre Wood says, “In many ways, reading this book is a little like going back in time: It seems that the most astute and learned members of our society — who can cure diseases, quote hundreds of years of literature, and theorize about math equations ten pages long - don’t know how to treat mothers in academia. And that while terms like parental leave, flexible schedules, and on-site daycare, are slowly becoming a part of the conversation at some work places, they are a foreign language at many of our most progressive academic institutions.”

Here We Go Again says, “I did like getting a glimpse into the women’s personal lives. I’ve always enjoyed personal stories, about people’s jobs and families. This is probably why I like blogging and blog reading so much. It was interesting to read about the different ways that these women found to deal with newborns and dissertations at the same time.”

21st Centuty Mom says, “I’ll be sending this book to my oldest daughter soon with instructions to send it to her little sister when she’s done. I hope they draw the same message from the book as did I. The world really can be your oyster as long as you can manage your time and your detractors and focus on your goals.”

ReadingWritingLiving says, “I gave birth to my second child a week after waddling across a hot stage to receive my master’s degree in writing. Many of my classmates were on to doctoral programs, but I felt I was at the end of my particular line.  So it was with a mixture of envy, regret and relief that I read this collection; reading of the intense sacrifices of mixing a life of academy + family.”

Black Belt Mama says, “At times, these essays enraged me… women who are mothers, the world’s best multi-taskers, are made to feel like failures because they choose to procreate.  At times these essays inspired me…hearing the tales of those who have done it, who have laughed in the face of these archaic institutions and said, ’screw you!’  At times, it just made me sad that there even has to be this discussion.”

Fictionary says, “This anthology voices stories of academic women choosing to have, not have, or delay children. The essays in this anthology will speak to and offer support for any woman attempting to combine work and family, and will make recommendations on how to make the academy a more family-friendly workplace.”

Crunchy Granola says, “They were definitely compelling, though. I read quickly, learning about the different ways institutions create barriers for mothers advancing in their careers, or make it easier for those with children to advance. These are eloquent accounts of what choices women have made to accommodate their kids and careers.”

They Grow in Your Heart says, “And it’s funny, because the day Mama PhD arrived, I had spend three pointless hours at a meeting at the university where my superior taught me how to use email.  Yep.  Email.  Three hours away from home, away from my daughter for no purpose.  Needless to say, I feel a deep kinship to many of the essayists who submitted to Mama PhD.”

Third Culture Mama says, “We, professors included, never discussed motherhod beyond our right to be defined as more than just mothers or potential mothers, to be defined beyond the family unit.  Of course I didn’t notice any of the latter until I got pregnant. Mama, PhD hit so close to home.”

Mama(e) in Translation says, “I felt mightily comforted to read about the experiences of the three authors, Susan Bassow, Dana Campbell, and Liz Stockwell, and I can’t wait to participate in the website and resource for NTA (nontraditional academic) parents that they are planning to set up!”

Review Planet says, “That’s why I’m in love with the new book Mama, Ph.D. It’s a collection of stories from academic mamas who lay bare their souls about the hard times, the good parts, the special challenges (pumping in a maintenance closet — and then the dean walks in!), and why it’s all worthwhile. I think it’s also a good casebook of the situation today in many departments, and I hope that it will be used by someone or somegroup to start making changes. I hope.”

Writing in the Mountains says, “In reading this book, it is painfully clear that something needs to be done to close the inequality gap and open up opportunities for fair pay, support in childcare and plain respect.”

Everyday Stranger says, “Like the women in the book, I often feel as though I have a choice - my attention to my kids or my attention to where I’m going. Sometimes it’s easy to focus on both. Other times - like when the pox came - not so much. I’m aware that as a woman and a mother, I’m now stagnating in my career. In fact, I’m not just stagnating, I’m moving downward in the black hole in our organization.”

Lastly, Viva La Feminista says, “That said, most of the essays are hopeful. Mama PhDs who thought that the flexible schedule of an academic would make motherhood easier than for someone with a 9-5 job but soon realized that the pressure to write a book and change diapers was far different. Mama PhDs who worried endlessly that the time they spent away from their children and the travel required made them bad mamas only to have their children tell them otherwise.”

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