This blog post gives some interesting personal insights into the experiences of being a parent who is doing a PhD. The author wished to remain anonymous, however feel free to add your comments on the bottom of the page. Can you relate to any of her experiences?
I am first year PhD student at the University of Manchester. I am also the mother of a 12 month old little girl who has started to crawl and stand up. As a PhD student/partner/mother/friend/daughter/(insert whatever else applies), managing time, and thoughts, during the day, can be quite overwhelming and very tiring. Yet little, everyday things like a close group of fellow PhD students, a supportive partner or a nice cup of coffee, make the process friendlier and less overwhelming. It is these apparently small things which make completing my PhD a seemingly possible task. One day at a time – even though I continuously think I should be reading and writing instead of doing anything else at all. I publish this entry to share my thought processes during the day.
I should be writing.
I have to buy milk.
Am I really answering my research question?
I forgot to give her the vitamins.
Is my research question any good?
I must remember to give her the vitamins.
I write it down. Right next to ‘return interlibrary loan.’
And then I coordinate with my partner so he picks her up at the nursery and I can go to the conference and definitely stay for the drinks. I am tired and maybe I should just skip the conference. Or maybe just skip the drinks. I really want to go. Especially to the drinks. But I also just want to get into bed early tonight.
Parenting is not easy while being a student. But then again, what is easy? Things seem easier when you get up in the morning and see your daughter smiling; or when you see her stand up on her own. Things seem easier when, for once, you see her taking her vitamins with a smile and not after hours of crying. Yoghurt does miracles. Things seem easier when you print out your work and think some parts of it are not that bad. It is more difficult to sit at your desk and get the work done. Or to not forget to give her the vitamins. At the end of the day, when you went to the conference, and stayed for more than enough drinks, your partner gave her the vitamins, you bought milk and you made it to bed – later than you wanted, but you made it!- then things seem less difficult.
I should be writing.
(Image by Jodie Martin at http://jazzlinguist.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/thesis-writing-doodles.html)