Calling other PhD parents

posted
30-Dec-11, 06:24
edited about 25 seconds later
by Artista
Avatar for Artista
posted about 9 years ago
Haven't posted for a while. Would love to hear from others who are juggling being a mum/dad (I have 3 children), whilst also working full-time on their PhD. Mine's funded, so am feeling under extra pressure.
posted
30-Dec-11, 07:31
edited about 26 seconds later
by Delta
Avatar for Delta
posted about 9 years ago
In the department where I did my PhD many of the mums doing PhDs appeared to pass over parental responsibility to their parents and just focused on their PhDs for the most part.
posted
30-Dec-11, 09:17
by Artista
Avatar for Artista
posted about 9 years ago
Sadly not an option for me: my parents live over 100 miles away, and are in their mid 70's. In the euphoria of accepting a funded place, I overlooked the harsh reality of managing the logistics.
posted
30-Dec-11, 09:23
edited about 17 seconds later
by ady
Avatar for ady
posted about 9 years ago
No real advice Artista except that you have to keep focussed and ensure that you keep all the plates spinning! I did my PhD full time with four children and also did quite a bit of additional work for my department throughout my three years. At the moment I'm working full time whilst prepping for my viva and only this morning was dreaming that maybe, just maybe next Christmas will be the first one in ages when I don't have to study, or even think about study...

It is tough no question about it but most PhD parents are expert project managers and get the job done despite or in spite of their other committments. It's always a bit full on at Christmas when everybody is around, including in-laws (sic), and you yearn for it all to get back to normal. No too long now :-)

There's lots of parents here on the forum and somehow we all seem to muddle through and get it done; you will too (up)
posted
30-Dec-11, 09:29
edited about 11 seconds later
by Delta
Avatar for Delta
posted about 9 years ago
Quote From Artista:

Sadly not an option for me: my parents live over 100 miles away, and are in their mid 70's. In the euphoria of accepting a funded place, I overlooked the harsh reality of managing the logistics.


Actually, you have my complete respect Artista because, in my opinion, you doing what parents should be doing, raising their children in the fullest sense. It horrifies me just how little responsibility some of the people I know or have heard of take for their children.

I hope it all works out for you.
posted
30-Dec-11, 09:41
edited about 15 seconds later
by Artista
Avatar for Artista
posted about 9 years ago
Thanks for your replies. Just been having a bit of a wobble as my supervisors don't seem particularly interested in the fact that 20 weeks per year are completely given over to the childrens' school holidays, plus every morning/evening and every weekend. My OH sees my PhD as a bit of a hobby, and he works insanely long hours too, often 6 days per week, so not much support there.
posted
30-Dec-11, 09:53
edited about 22 seconds later
by Delta
Avatar for Delta
posted about 9 years ago
======= Date Modified 30 Dec 2011 09:53:59 =======
Some of the mums on here are very inspiring and do manage to juggle being a full-time mum (or primary caregiver to their child / children) while doing a PhD and so hopefully they'll give you good advice / tips. Try not to panic as you need your energy for other things!!!
posted
30-Dec-11, 12:53
Avatar for Caterpillar27
posted about 9 years ago
Hi, I am similar to you. I have three children, I am a funded full-time PhD student and I also work alternate weekends. My Hub works long hours and my family aren't really interested in helping with childcare (although I wouldn't really want them to).
Things are difficult, I down tools at 3.30pm when the children finish school so I have to use my evenings for PhD work to fit in a full day. I always worry about being behind, but I just do the best I can in the time I have. I would say have a clear idea of what you want to achieve each day, grab any time you can and do easy jobs like printing, emailing etc when the children are about so that any child free time can be used productively.

Just keep going and good luck ;-)
posted
30-Dec-11, 19:53
by Artista
Avatar for Artista
posted about 9 years ago
That's great advice Caterpillar27, and it's great to know that I'm not alone in these circumstances. More helpful than you could ever know.
posted
31-Dec-11, 12:43
by dunni73
Avatar for dunni73
posted about 9 years ago
Hi Artsista, it is very challenging to study for a PhD whilst also looking after children/family. It can be done as many parents will show but it takes a lot of commitment and compromise. I was studying part-time for six years on my PhD, the first three years were child-free and relatively smooth. The latter three years of my studies coincided with the birth of my eldest followed 12 months later with twins. I am the primary child-care provider as a stay-at-home mum and had just one afternoon a week of child-care that we paid for. I was self-funded for my PhD (fortunately this was saved up in the first three years to pay to completion) but had little funds for childcare. Hubs worked long hours or away so my only study time was evenings 7.30pm til bedtime 11.00pm ish. We had no family around due to several house moves/relocations due to hubs work. I would say it is possible but some compromise needs to be made. If you can work during school hours and supplement with some evening/weekend time then that is fabulous. You will have to try to fit it in where you can around the children, accepting that during periods of illness/upset then your time will be reduced but at other times harmony is restored along with your productivity. I found it to be quite an emotional guilt trip over spending enough time with my children or on my studies! That said I did complete my PhD in the allotted time frame despite some academics having reservations that I could even complete it. It was hard work and very pressured at times but I would also say that I did it for my children, hopefully setting an example for them in the future.
I guess my tips would be: 1. accept compromise over time spent studying/ spent with children - the time will even out
2. keep lists of things to do which aids focussing on your project at short notice
3. do menial tasks when the children are about as this is still very productive
4. keep your desk in 'work' mode ie don't pack things away so you are always ready to start when the opportunity arises
5. have regular supervision (skype in the evenings if necessary)
6. have a pad for jotting down areas for consideration at a later time when children are in bed!
7. remember this is a short phase (3yrs) where you will be busy, after which your children will quickly forget your time studying
8. don't let anyone tell you it is not possible with children!!!
posted
31-Dec-11, 14:46
Avatar for Dalmation
posted about 9 years ago
Do PhD mums with partners find that their partner/spouse takes over most of the household duties? Just curious!

posted
31-Dec-11, 14:55
edited about 3 seconds later
by dunni73
Avatar for dunni73
posted about 9 years ago
Sadly, my hubby didn't take over the household duties. I still did the hoovering, dusting, washing, drying, ironing and on-line grocery shopping whilst looking after the bambinos and studying!
posted
31-Dec-11, 15:04
by Delta
Avatar for Delta
posted about 9 years ago
======= Date Modified 31 Dec 2011 15:04:45 =======
Dunni73, you are one of the inspiring mums I referred to!

Happy New Year!
posted
04-Jan-12, 10:57
edited about 21 seconds later
by Iseult
Avatar for Iseult
posted about 8 years ago
I'm a PhD parent - and before that, an MA parent. When I started the MA, I was part-time and self-funded, and my son hadn't yet started school. Now I'm currently a full-time and funded PhD student, and my son's old enough to walk to school by himself. So things have changed over the years. My experience is that every stage has different challenges, or opportunities.

One thing I've learned, especially going full-time, is to be very clear about what I need to work effectively. 'I need to get this finished by Monday' means, 'I need to get this finished by Monday.' It does not mean, 'I need to get this finished by Monday, so please could you take him out for the day on Saturday? Then I'll have some study time to do this.' My husband is very supportive - he's great - but he's not a mind-reader (anymore than I am).

Another thing I've noticed is how my PhD time is affected by external circumstances. An apparently achievable study plan can be thrown off-kilter by the unexpected, and I think that if you have domestic responsiblities, there often isn't the slack to deal with this, without it impacting adversely on the PhD. This isn't necessarily a long-term problem, if it's just that your child has a minor tummy-bug, and all you have to do is re-arrange a supervision session. But more serious problems - not only domestic problems, but research issues, or other PhD matters - can be a real concern. I had to take a break at one point just to catch-up, which wasn't ideal.
posted
05-Jan-12, 15:27
by Hiccup
Avatar for Hiccup
posted about 8 years ago
I had the letter to offer me a full time funded PhD soon after I discovered I was pregnant. Uni allowed me to defer and juggling with husband as well as a slow start enabled my daughter to start at nursery at 6 months 3 days a week (I then had a day at a weekend). Initially very supportive of the PhD my husband now admits openly that he sees it just as a hobby and with small child at nursery I am the one taking time off with annoying frequncy for stomach bugs or hospital appointments. My daughter has additional medical complications and so I am unable to be flexible about who looks after her, I also have to do a lot of 1-2-1 physio and play therapy with her every day which is quite time consuming.

The situation with housework, cooking and cleaning is that I do it all while my husband plays games and generally relaxes after a day at work. Sigh. It all came to a head over Christmas and in fact I am currently looking at moving to a part time study mode which will totally eat up savings I have but hopefully reduce the pressure. I have started to be frighteningly organised, I downloaded an application onto eth family iPad called home routines - its a bit american but it works, it means whoever is home knows what needs to be done. Once a wek I write food menus and shopping lists, the house ticks over the 3 days I study and then I catch up on a Saturday (I work Sundays). I lay mine and my daughters clothes out each week, I lay the table every night with breakfast things and on work nights then its quick dinners galore. In addition my husband after much nagging has agreed to start working from home a day a week which means he can get daughter from nursery and I get one really long day at work which will give me an extra 2 hours.

I agree with leaving a study area to work at, also when you fnish for the day or session write a note of what you have done and what you want to do next - this one tip has increased my productivity immensely.

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