in Redbook Magazine: time to put math and moms in the same equation has been featured as a Hot Blog in the May 2010 issue of Redbook Magazine - now available at the newsstands. Page 158, a big picture and one small paragraph... Redbook says that it is about time we put moms and math in the same equation!

Here is a full version of my Q&A with Redbook:

Redbook question: What inspired you to start a blog about the intersection of motherhood and math?

TheMathMom answer: I started writing my stories when I realized that most of my girlfriends do not share my passion for this subject, my perception of math as a reliable adviser in almost any life situation, a weapon of defense, a playful toy and a key to the future of our kids. One of my girlfriends, a Harvard graduate, encouraged me to share my stories, saying that she does not want to transfer her own math phobia to her daughters. TheMathMom's website illuminates and demystifies mathematics, showing that we all use it daily, we are much better at it than we think and we can have even more fun by applying it consciously. Understanding the universality and usefulness of math, we can present math to our kids as a candy through fun puzzles, encouragement, our own excitement and positive stereotyping. There are soccer moms and hockey mom, very similarly every mom can be a Math mom.

Redbook question: Can you give one or two of your favorite examples of how moms can use math to make their daily lives easier?

TheMathMom answer:
Example 1:
A year ago I was in a Manhattan store that advertised a 30% discount on top of 50% off. At the register I contemplated whether I should insist on the specific order of the discounts: is 30% after 50% be the same as 50% after 30%? And will these discounts together be same as 80% off? When you start figuring out the math, you realize that the order of the discounts does NOT matter.
Here is why:
30% off means that you pay 70% or 0.7 of the price
50% off means you pay 0.5 of the price
30% off after 50% is 0.7 x 0.5
50% after 30% off is 0.5 x 0.7
0.7 x 0.5 = 0.5 x 0.7 = 0.35 or 35% of the price, getting a 65% off
As you see these two discounts together will give you only 65% off, and not 80%. Still, 65% looks like a great deal.

Example 2:
Many of us have to figure out whether the financial aspect and logistics of working with two or three school age kids makes sense. Here is a modest estimation of the approximate amount of time kids will be off during a calendar year that should be taken into account:
3 kids x 6 sick days per year per child on average +
10 early closing days at school +
3 snow days +
4 holidays not observed by your company +
70 vacation days (summer + mid year)
= 105 days when children supervision is required

It is great to be prepared for all these days emotionally, financially and strategically. To know in advance what we are getting ourselves into before the school year starts. Is your work flexible enough to allow it? Can you afford hiring someone to take care of the kids for you? Finding, scheduling and paying for vacation camps and babysitters. Realistic planning can make our lives much less stressful.

Check out this useful kitchen advice from TheMathMom: You put a dirty plate in, you take a clean plate out. And you repeat it all around.


  1. Good examples, its true we need to know how to do things the math way. The interview was very interesting and calculations even more interesting, moms do need to learn and apply math in real life.

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