Posts tagged ‘mama phd’

“The Juggle” — How Mom Writers Balance Parenthood & Writing/Book Promotion

On September 11th, I’ll be one of the guests on Christina Katz’s Twitter #platformchat! I’ll be talking with author and mother-daughter book club consultant, Cindy Hudson about “‘The Juggle’ — How Mom Writers Balance Parenthood & Writing/Book Promotion.”

Here are the details from Christina’s website:

Time: 11:00 – noon PT (noon – 1:00 MT, 1:00 – 2:00 CT, & 2:00 – 3:00 ET).

Anyone with a Twitter account can participate. I recommend using and plugging in our hashtag, #platformchat, to follow and participate in the chat. Once you have a Twitter account, you can use your Twitter ID and password to get a Tweetchat account very quickly.
I hope you will bring your questions on this topic and join the discussion!

Here’s a little more about our guests:

[trimming the paragraph about me since I think visitors here know who I am]

Cindy Hudson (@momdtrbookclub) is a mother-daughter book club consultant, journalist, writer, and editor. She is the author of Book By Book, The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs. She has more than twenty years experience as a marketing and public relations professional, and has founded two mother-daughter book clubs of her own. Visit her online at and

#platformchat moderators are:

Christina Katz is the author of Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Build an Author Platform and Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids (both for Writer’s Digest Books). A platform development coach and consultant, she teaches writing career development, hosts the Northwest Author Series, and is the publisher of several e-zines including Writers on the Rise. Christina blogs at The Writer Mama Riffs and Get Known Before the Book Deal, and speaks at MFA programs, literary events, and conferences around the country. Follow Christina on Twitter at @thewritermama.

Meryl K. Evans is the author of Brilliant Outlook Pocketbook, co-author of Adapting to Web Standards: CSS and Ajax for Big Sites and contributor to many others. The long-time blogger and gamer has written and edited for a bunch of places online and off. A native Texan, she lives a heartbeat north of Dallas in Plano, Texas with her husband and three kiddos. Though born in silence, she tries to show that deaf people are just like everyone else. Follow Meryl on Twitter at @merylkevans.

Please tune in on the 11th and contribute to the discussion!

The Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway with Mama, PhD!

My friend and fellow mama-writer, one of the most savvy internet book marketing women I know, Christina Katz, is once again running her Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway where she gives away one book or magazine subscription every day in September. On September 25th, I’m delighted that Mama, PhD will be included in a trio of anthologies edited by Literary Mama editors Shari MacDonald Strong and Amy Hudock.

Our books — Mama, PhD: Women Write About Motherhood and Academic Life; The Maternal Is Political: Women Writers at the Intersection of Motherhood and Social Change; and Literary Mama: Reading for the Maternally Inclined–will be up for giveaway on September 25th. To see a complete list of what you can win, visit Christina’s Writer Mama blog. You can enter every day if you want, so bookmark her site and visit again and again. Good luck!

Book Review/Giveaway–Who’s Your Mama: The Unsung Voices of Women and Mothers

The hardest aspect of editing Mama, PhD was not editing the selections, nor working with the publisher to fine-tune essays, nor copyediting, nor even coordinating all of this work with a coeditor living 3,000 miles away who had two (now three!) kids of her own. No, I think really the hardest part was actually getting the essays. We sent out a call for submissions to our friends, and asked them to send it to their friends; we published it on list-servs and websites and broadcast it as widely as we knew how. It wound up in places that we didn’t even know existed, like the Women and Crime mailing list. But still, many of the essays came from women of similar backgrounds and in similar disciplines as ourselves. For Mama, PhD this wasn’t a deal-breaker: the collection winds up accurately reflecting the diversity of women in higher education. Still, I know there are more stories out there that we didn’t manage to uncover, and I’ll always wonder how we might have found them.

Yvonne Bynoe, who edited Who’s Your Mama: The Unsung Voices of Women and Mothers, found an amazingly diverse group of women to contribute to her anthology. The women are different races and ethnicities; they are single, widowed, divorced and partnered, gay and straight, mothers and childless, at home with their kids and working outside the home. The women are not all professional writers, but they contribute deeply-felt stories which are powerfully told.

Mary Warren Foulk’s piece, “Which One’s the Mother?”, beautifully traces her complicated road to lesbian motherhood, and I loved Kathy Bricetti’s sweet essay, “The Baby Bank,” about going with her partner to a sperm bank, way back in 1992.

Christine Murphy is resisting friends’ and family pressure to jump on the “baby train” in “Mommy Maybe…” — and wondering if she’s making the right choice. Liz Prato writes poignantly of her decision not to have children in “Is Life Without Kids Worth Living?” With a mother who died at fifty-eight and two aunts who passed away in their forties, she feels that “knowing the parent-child relationship can come to such an abrupt end has shut down our desire to have kids.”

In “The Mother I Always Wanted,” Robin Templeton describes how her pregnancy makes her finally confront the reality of her own troubled mother; sitting on an airplane on the way back home, she writes, “I fanned myself with the laminated safety instructions, closed my eyes and a neon warning scrolled behind them like an interruption from the Emergency Broadcast System: Beep. This is a test. Beep. You are your mother’s chid. Beep. Your baby will be raised by a woman raised by your mother.”

Eileen Flanagan also addresses the legacy of difficult mothering in her essay, “A Pellet of Poison: I Don’t Want to Feed Racism to My Children the Way My Mother Fed It to Me.” Untangling what she was taught from what she wants to teach her children, she searches out slave narratives, abolitionist histories, novels and songs; she writes, “In the realm of race, I can also face the heat of my family history, sweating out whatever I’ve absorbed and teaching my children to do the same. Stories are like saunas that can help draw the poison out of us.”

And I loved Lisa Chiu’s essay “Ching Chong!” which hopes her son won’t hear the playground taunt that haunted her childhood: “Nico’s classmates haven’t yet asked him where he’s from. But when they do ask–and they will–I hope he will answer the question with clarity and confidence. I hope he will respond in a way that educates people, informing them not just of his own cultural background but of a world that is multi-hued, complex, and complicated.

“It took me years to come up with my own succinct answer to the question, replying that I’m a second-generation Taiwanese American woman who was born in Canada and raised in Cleveland. It took a long time for me to learn how to define myself. Now, it is time for me to guide my son along his cultural identity journey. I know where we’re from. And I’m gaining clarity in knowing where we’re going.”

I like these essays for asking good questions rather than presuming to have all the answers. These are women in the midst of journeys, and it’s interesting to follow along with their thinking.

Want to read this book? Leave me a comment by Saturday, May 30th, and I’ll choose someone at random to receive my advance galley.

Celebrate Mother’s Day with Motherlode!

My fabulous writing group, The Motherlode Writers, is reading at Book Passage on Sunday and we’d love for you to join us!

Motherlode is a Berkeley-based community of mother-writers. We work in a wide variety of genres, including essay, memoir, poetry, and fiction. Our work has been published in print and online outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Literary Mama, a variety of anthologies, and numerous other journals, blogs and ‘zines. Our recent books include Sybil Lockhart’s Mother in the Middle: A Biologist’s Story of Caring for Parent and Child (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 2009); Sophia Raday’s Love in Condition Yellow: A Memoir of an Unlikely Marriage (Beacon Press, 2009); and Caroline Grant’s Mama, PhD: Women Write about Motherhood and Academic Life (Rutgers University Press, 2008). Readers also include Marian Berges, Ursula Ferreira, Rebecca Kaminsky and Sarah Kilts.

Bring the kids and join us on Mother’s Day for a celebration of motherhood and writing!

Sunday May 10th 2 – 3 p.m.
Book Passage
51 Tamal Vista Blvd.
Corte Madera, CA 94925
(415) 927-0960

In other news…

I once tried to write an essay in which I compared my writing to the proverbially ignored third child, but the analogy didn’t seem to hold up and I shelved the piece. And now it’s out of date; I can’t claim that my writing isn’t getting much attention, and I’m grateful for that. But now this blog is becoming that third child — the independent oldest, left alone for long periods while I tend to its younger blog siblings.

At Learning to Eat, I’ve been giving my muffin tin a workout, and offer recipes for blueberry, banana, and vegan banana muffins, as well as pizza. Browse around and you’ll find a balanced meal or two (and the drink to accompany them).

At Mama, PhD, I’ve been invited to participate in a reading at UC Riverside, and posted a video of our recent event at the University of Richmond. So go check them out and I’ll try to update here over the weekend.

Countdown to AWP

Ten months of planning (thankfully quite intermittent)

Nine Literary Mama editors and Mama, PhD contributors I’m looking forward to meeting, talking to, sharing meals with, and getting to know much better

Eight panels I could attend each day, if I have the energy

Seven lunches and dinners without children

Six-plus years of mothering with only a couple nights away

Five writers on the Literary Mama panel: A Model of Grassroots Literary Community Building.

Four nights away, for the first time ever

Three guys I’m going to miss

Two flights alone

One big milestone

Recent Writing

I’ve been busy this December, with a good week’s vacation in snowy Connecticut with my entire family (some pictures here) followed by three days at the annual Modern Language Association convention, reporting on the proceedings for Inside Higher Ed. You can read those articles here:

MLA Realities: Then and Now

The Quest for Balance and Support

Caring for Children and Their Parents

In the midst of all that, I watched an incredible documentary about how a group of Muslim and Christian women worked together to end Liberia’s fourteen-year civil war. Here’s an excerpt:

Ben and his friend were in the bedroom playing war. Because they are the kinds of boys they are, the game involved Legos and negotiation of the rules but very little discernible war play. Still, because I am the kind of mom I am, I suggested some other more friendly narratives in which to involve their Legos. Then three year-old Eli, who had been listening attentively to all sides of the conversation, shouted out his peace plan:

“All war, go home! Have dinner! Go to sleep!”

We laughed (me a bit ruefully) at Eli’s naiveté, but when I saw the new documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell (Gini Reticker, 2008) I reconsidered Eli’s approach.

You can read the rest of the column over at Literary Mama.

Mama, PhD Event at UCA

Cross-posted at Mama, PhD...

In my essay for Mama, PhD, “The Bags I Carried,” I describe a couple of the outrageous things people said to me when I was a pregnant faculty member at Stanford, and how isolated I felt, despite my very supportive chair, Andrea Lunsford, and the generally friendly atmosphere of the campus. Outrageous and isolating tend to make for better narrative than the calm waters of pleasant interactions!

But one of the people who made my life at Stanford especially collegial was Mary Ruth Marotte, who taught in the writing program with me, and happened also to be pregnant (she with twins). We talked about her dissertation project on images of pregnancy and childbirth (coming soon from Demeter Press), about the ups and downs of our classes, and about our hopes to continue teaching and writing after our children were born.

We’ve taken different paths in the past 7 years, but I’m not surprised that we still have a lot to talk about, and I’m delighted with the response to the symposium Mary Ruth just led at UCA with her colleague, Paige Reynolds, and Mama, PhD contributor Aeron Haynie. A write-up in the local newspaper reports:

Professors and students at the University of Central Arkansas tackled a tough subject Monday, questioning ways women are often forced to choose between raising children and pursuing an academic route.

Focusing on the book, Mama PhD: Women Write about Motherhood and Academic Life, the group presented the view that it is possible though difficult to do both.

The idea for the conference came from two English professors, Mary Ruth Marotte and Paige Reynolds, two tenure-track women who also raise children of their own.

Marotte said Mama PhD took a good look at how even 21st-century women are finding it hard to focus on both the academic world and their family.

“That’s what the book does so brilliantly, to give voices to women who often feel silent,” she said.

You can read the rest of the article at the Log Cabin Democrat. Thanks to all who participated in the event!

Calling all Ohio Area PhDs…

Calling all Stay-At-Home Doctorates!

We are exploring opportunities for stay-at-home Parents Holding Doctorates (PHD) to use their training and expertise in creative ways.

Monday October 13, 2008 7:00-8:00 pm


Wednesday October 15, 2008 1:00-2:00 pm

Museum of Biological Diversity
1315 Kinnear Road
Columbus, OH 43215

For more information, please contact
Joan Herbers herbers.4 AT osu DOT edu
Donna Wenzel dwwenzel AT msn DOT com

A Profile!

Last spring, when I was visiting Libby in Richmond, I had the chance to sit down with Elrena and Libby’s colleague Terry Dolson for a long talk about mothering, graduate work, and the different paths that brought Elrena and me together to create Mama, PhD. Somehow, Terry managed to whittle the conversation down to a readable couple pages, and the result is at LiteraryMama today.

Terry starts by talking about her experience as a pregnant woman in a graduate program in English, and comments:

Was it naiveté that convinced me then that the complex path to combining motherhood and academia were mapped already? No one told me it was; no one talked about it at all. Not talking about it allows for assumptions about “how it’s always been” to go unquestioned. In a comment on a recent article, one male academic seriously described academia as “a gentlemanly profession.” Thank goodness that Elrena Evans and Caroline Grant’s book, Mama, PhD: Women Write About Motherhood and Academic Life, begins to outline a new path. This collection of essays by women trying to navigate the “gentlemanly field” of academia may be the first step toward addressing the “ivory ceiling.” I spoke with Caroline and Elrena at a coffee shop near my campus to learn what inspired this essay collection.

Click on over to LiteraryMama to read the rest!