A student blog as part of the Doctoral Exchange Series organised by the Doctoral College.
We are PhD students in the Department of Education who have experienced difficulties in balancing life as a parent and being a postgrad student. We also have realised that these challenges are not always recognised but should be acknowledged. By acknowledging these challenges, parents who want to embark on the PhD journey and current PhD students can acquire the tools and skills to balance them.
During the parenting as a postgrad workshop, we shared our stories and the challenges we have faced in our personal and professional journeys. Our audience also shared the difficulties of everyday life and how our life is enriched by being a parent.
Some of the challenges we mentioned were:
- Financial security
- Isolation at work
- Access to childcare
- Lack of understanding from family and friends
- Managing our expectations
- Uncertainty about the future
- And many more according to our personal/family situation
Also, we discussed some valuable tips and tools such as:
- Creating a support network
- Finding your productive slots
- Outsmart your brain, know what to do when: Full brain activity, Half brain activity, or No brain activity
- Developing time management skills
- Establishing a routine
- Being flexible and realistic
- Planning & planning, and having be prepared to go off plan and re-plan
- Knowing yourself and your family
- Clear communication with family
- Involving partner and family
- When working with your children in the house, find resources that they can do independently
- Creating meal plans
- Creating to-do-lists
- Using tools like shared calendar, Alexa reminders etc to help
- Let the flexibility work for you
- Always enjoy the journey
- And being kind to ourselves; we are doing a wonderful job playing both roles
Get involved beyond the session
For future discussions we have set up a TEAMS on Microsoft teams for PhD Parents. Feel free to join and we can discuss and share ideas there. It is open for all postgraduate parents: https://bit.ly/Parentingasapostgrad
About Doctoral Exchange
This blog was written as part of the Doctoral Exchange Series, a round-table discussion series for doctoral researchers to share experiences and ideas in a peer-to-peer environment. All topics are student-led. The programme can be found online on the Doctoral Exchange webpage. If you are interested in facilitating a session then please email firstname.lastname@example.org.