I recently moved back to live with my parents because my scholarship ran out but I am still writing up my PhD-due to submit in December.
I feel like family just don't get that I'm busy or even have a job. I work from home a couple of days a week cos my uni is a 90 minute drive away. I'm constantly being asked to babysit my nephews,recently my sister asked if I could get home early from a conference that was a 2 hour drive away to babysit. My family are going out on socials and I'm being asked to make sure dinner is cooked for them etc. I have refused a couple of things my Mum and sister asked me to do, but all that happens is that they ignore me and so I end up doing them anyway.
Does anyone ever experience the same lack of understanding from people? If you think I'm being selfish or unfair feel free to tell me. But I am struggling to make people see just how hard this is, as well as actually make time to just work and focus on me? This was so much easier when I lived alone!
Yeh I get it a bit... sometimes there is an incredulous silence if I say "sorry I missed your call, I was working", or "don't forget I work on weekdays...". It is a bit annoying that some people don't think the PhD is work when you can be working your butt off for like 60 hours a week.
I started my PhD in 2011 and my son was born in 2012, so I was looking after him throughout my PhD. I think, to be fair, that if you are living with your family and are not paying them rent or food, at least you have to help out when you can. I dont know how old you are but as an adult, there's no way you can simply live off the back of others and not give anything back. If you dont like, you can always move out.
My advice is to sit down with your family and try to work out a routine so that you can plan ahead; for me, I found that knowing that I had a limited time to write really helped me to focus on writing a certain amounts of words every afternoon. Besides, I felt really lonely as a PhD student so being with my son really helped me.
I don't live with my folks, but I definitely recognise the feeling that other people don't understand what you're doing with your time. My mum assumes that when I'm not at uni I'm doing nothing (I'm at uni about once every three weeks, for supervision!). I would find it very difficult to go back to living with my folks - I have responsibilities in my own home, but I think there is a difference between that and the expectations of your wider family.
I understand people not understanding that you actually have to work despite not needing to be somewhere at 9 am on Monday morning. I get asked to do things that my 'working' siblings wouldn't be expected to do.
I say no sometimes, there was an example of it just this weekend. I don't think my Mum understood, I think she thought I was just being a bit selfish and uncaring... that's a bit frustrating, because in final year it does take a bit of a 'push' and i feel I have to prioritise my PHD or it won't be done in time/to the standard it needs to be.
That being said, I did spend two days helping my sister this week , as she really needed my help with something. So i think just being a decent human being doesn't have to go out the window. helping others , when they really need it, is good for us psychologically.
However I don't think i would tolerate a situation where I was being asked to do a inordinate amount of things ALL the time. I think it might be useful to sit down with family and explain to them your needs, and that you appreciate their support, but say your willing to contribute in small way to family, but there needs to boundaries on this 'help'.. and so maybe tell your sister you will babysit once a week, and tell your folks you will cook family dinner 2 nights a week and contribute to chores.
I feel its not really fair comparison for person who choose to have kid and gets to reap rewards of having said kid, to assume 'just because she did it with those responsibilities (that she chose), you should be general dogsbody to your family.it seems like they could just cut you slack any god forbid support you for these last few months
Definitely. My dad is an academic and supervises PhD students, and after 4 years still doesn't get why I won't pick up his calls during business hours...
My friends who are not PhD students definitely struggle with the idea that I'm really busy, e.g. going away for the weekend and I agree when someone says "I wish I didn't have to go back to work tomorrow"... "but you're not working tomorrow!".
I think I've finally trained my husband around this (lol), but we had a lot of fights earlier in the year while renovating our new home (sidenote: do NOT do that in the final year of your PhD!) and he would ask me run errands during working hours to buy things. I get it, it's a lot easier for me to take 'leave' from my work to go to the bathroom fittings store than someone who has a proper job and has to formally take leave, but that doesn't mean my time is less valuable or scarce... actually, this year, my time has been way more valuable and scarce! But yes, I think we're getting there, because last week when I was working from home and there was a little crisis at home that took 30mins to resolve, he apologised for it taking up my time, even though in this case it wasn't something he'd asked me to do.
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