I am a first-year doctoral student who works at an elementary school six hours a day and I also have two children. Sometimes I have to sit the whole night studying for a due paper or post. I need some advice as to how to balance life with work and school, and also receive enough sleep?
I'll be thankful.
There's always going to be a trade off when juggling work and study, I'm afraid. Unfortunately your job isn't of the sort where one can use flexibility to your advantage (e.g. take annual leave
Can you outsource (either to a partner/family member or paying someone) any domestic duties you have responsibility for to buy yourself some more time? Can you get ahead during school holidays so as to ease the pressure during term time? Does your commute allow you time to read or at least think ahead for whatever you need to achieve that evening?
Do build into your schedule time for rest and at least one evening off per week. If you keep at it all the time eventually you become less effective unless you have a break from it.
Thank you so much for all your kind messages! You gave me a strong mental support. Unfortunately, my spouse is not so flexible and believes that family should be my first priority. He wasn't happy with my decision to start studying at the doctoral level and believed it would end in my neglecting my twelve-year-old who is in a sensitive age and needs attention and control. That makes my job harder. Whenever I study during a weekend, he gets nervous and thinks I do not pay attention to them. I am very successful in my studies and do not want to give up. Just doing my best to make a balance between everything!
Thank you so much for your compassionate response! I will try to act according to your advice, but please also be aware that my husband does it out of his strong love for the kids and his constant worries for their future. He doesn't want to be selfish and helps me when he is home, but his job is a way that he has to be mostly out of home, so he says if both of us be inconsiderate of the children, they may become lazy and not progress as successfully as they should. That is what makes the situation complicated for me. He is a devoted father and puts children as priority in life. The difference is in our views about ways that children will succeed,
Sounds like manipulation to me: a nice guilt trip. What are you supposed to do, wait until they leave home? But maybe they need your support in case they need anything whilst they are at uni, so no PhD for you then. And then they might have kids of their own and then your time will be allocated for that and it may just go on forever...
This is an absolutely new idea to me. I had never looked at it from this angle. He had suggested that he can leave his job and stay home if I really insist on my studies, but I was worried about our expenses. He earns the better income for the family. I was worried about my tuition, as well, if he stayed home! Plus, I would feel guilty for exploiting him if he would do so! I don't know. This looks like a paradox to me. Where is the limit of selfishness and self-devotion?
My two pence of advice: there is no rule, but there is what works for you and your family. From what you describe it appears that your relationship is imbalanced in his favor. There are many relationships like this and ultimately, if you are both happy with your arrangements it shouldn't be an issue for anybody else.
The point though is that you feel under pressure and find difficult to cope with the current workload. So, I think that you need to talk frankly with your husband about why your study is so important to you and find common grounds on which you can re-calibrate your relationship in a way that works better for you and is fair to both.
It is possible that your husband feels threatened by your newly acquired independence and the fact that you are going to spend more time away from the family. We can discuss forever whether this is right or wrong - we don't know anything about them! - the only thing that will lead to a balanced solution is dialogue.
I also find it a huge challenge to balance the needs of my family and the demands of my PhD so you have my sympathy. Is your PhD part time? If so perhaps you should consider whether you might be better applying for a full time bursaried PhD and reducing your working hours. You would have to start from scratch again but you could treat it as a job which might work in better with the family.
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