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PhD Student Mamas Tackling 2008

post #1 of 165
Thread Starter 
Are you working on a doctorate while also being a mama? This is the place for you. Please join us by sharing the following-- and if you post it in RED, I'll try to add it to this page!

Name: (screen or real)
Age:
Children and birthdays:
Academic Area:
Stage of Degree:
Goal for 2008:
Geographical Location: (if you are comfortable sharing)


I will go first:

Name: "Aletheia"
Age: 30 years old
Children and birthdays: 1 DS, 8.26.06
Academic Area: Philosophy (probably Ancient Greek- Aristotle)
Stage of Degree: limbo between coursework and comps
Goal for 2008: to finish my comps and submit my proposal
Geographical Location: Portland, OR

Welcome! I look forward to building a peer group here to help keep me motivated and accountable!

Name: (screen or real): Swim
Age: 28
Children and birthdays: dd, 10-07
Academic Area: anthro
Stage of Degree: abd
Goal for 2008: finish all interviews and transcribing, analyze data, publish at least one article, present one paper, start writing the dissertation
Geographical Location: (if you are comfortable sharing): midwest

Name: (screen or real): EVC
Age: 33
Children and birthdays: DD, Born October 2005
Academic Area:Slavic Linguistics
Stage of Degree: third year
Goal for 2008: maintaining my sanity
Geographical Location: (if you are comfortable sharing): California

Name: (screen or real): Heather
Age: 29
Children and birthdays: dc, due late July/early August!
Academic Area: linguistics
Stage of Degree: done with coursework, and wanting to start my comps...but with what, I don't know.
Goal for 2008: Get a comp or two started, as well as a finished book review.
Geographical Location: (if you are comfortable sharing): New England

Name: "Snowyowl"
Age: I'll be turning 36 in a few weeks.
Children and birthdays: 1 daughter, 10 years old
Academic Area: English
Stage of Degree: Comps (passed my first one last month, studying for my next one)
Goal for 2008: finish my comps, present at a couple of conferences over the summer, have my proposal accepted by September, start writing the diss
Geographical Location: Canada

Name: Kritto
Age: 25
Children and birthdays: DD, turned 1 last week!
Academic Area: biology (pollination)
Stage of Degree: stalled at the data analysis stage
Goal for 2008: analyze, write and defend!
Geographical Location: Utah

Name: (screen or real): Elisabeth
Age: 30
Children and birthdays: ds 11.27.02, dd 4.9.04, ds 7.13.06
Academic Area: Integrative Medicine
Stage of Degree: The beginning-just a few months in!
Goal for 2008: fully manage coursework as well as our life (dh and I are self employed and homeschoolers-yikes!)
Geographical Location: (if you are comfortable sharing): New England

Name: (screen or real): erinjacobs
Age: 31
Children and birthdays: none yet
Academic Area: Astronomy
Stage of Degree: Applications (looking to start in fall 2008)
Goal for 2008: Acceptance, Decision, Move, and start coursework
Geographical Location: now-South, next year-????

Name: Sara (Petersmamma)
Age: 28
Children and birthdays: ds, 3/05
Academic Area: evolutionary biology
Stage of Degree: ABD!
Goal for 2008: Finish writing and Defend in May!
Geographical Location: TX

Name: Heather (mchalehm)
Age: 27
Children and birthdays: daughter, Mary, 9/1/06; bun in oven, due July
Academic Area: British literature
Stage of Degree: ABD...sigh
Goal for 2008: finish my dissertation and defend it before the babe is born.
Geographical Location: MD

Name: Julie (dogmom327)
Age: 29
Children and birthdays: Ian (dob: 6/24/07)
Academic Area: Business Management (Major area: Strategic Management, Minor area: Economic Sociology)
Stage of Degree: Candidate
Goal for 2008: Defend my proposal
Geographical Location: Portland, OR

Name: gradmama
Age: 30
Children and birthdays: Dd13, Dd11 (almost 12), Dd10
Academic Area: sociology
Stage of Degree: 2nd quarter PhD program (have to get MA first so I'm really just starting)
Goal for 2008: get through first year, propose MA project and maybe start doing interviews?
Geographical Location: (if you are comfortable sharing): CA

Name: Pharmamma
Age: 30
Children and birthdays: 1 son age 9 (12/14/98)
Academic Area: Dr. of Pharmacy
Stage of Degree: 2nd year out of 4 (or 5)
Goal for 2008: Pass all my classes and stay sane.
Geographical Location: Oregon

Name: DariusMom
Age: 37
Children and birthdays: DS, 5 -- 8 Dec, 2002
Academic Area: History
Stage of Degree: ABD. Hoping/Praying to be finished this summer!
Goal for 2008: Phinishing!!!!
Geographical Location: (if you are comfortable sharing): Netherlands

Name: Inanna
Age: 37 ( how's this for a crazy, late bloomer??)
Children and birthdays: DS (Nov 2006)
Academic Area: Women, Agriculture and the Right to Food
Stage of Degree: Planning to *start* my Master's coursework in fall of 2009 or 2010 (I'd like time with a 2nd babe before starting - if I can talk DH, who will be the SAHD while I'm in school, into it)
Goal for 2008: Research, write and present conference paper in June; start applying for scholarships by November
Geographical Location: (if you are comfortable sharing): CO for now, but grad school planned for Stuttgart, Germany

Name: (screen or real): nabigus
Age: 32
Children and birthdays: ds, 8/05
Academic Area: sociology
Stage of Degree: ABD, writing!
Goal for 2008: uh, get a job. maybe even a good one.
Geographical Location: (if you are comfortable sharing): NY

Name: Tithonia
Age: 28
Children and birthdays: DD, 7/07
Academic Area: Philosophy
Stage of Degree: done with coursework, working on dissertation proposal
Goal for 2008: a Really Good dissertation proposal (ha! ha!) and hopefully comps
Geographical Location: Iowa, soon to be southern Illinois

Name: Alison
Age: 31
Children and birthdays: DS 7/03 and DS2 2/06
Academic Area: Social Epidemiology
Stage of Degree: Finishing up coursework
Geographical Location: Boston

Name: Amy
Age: 34
Children and birthdays: Brynn, 12/05
Academic Area: Neural Linguistics (language disorders resulting from neurological degeneration)
Stage of Degree: preparing for quals
Geographical Location: Indiana
post #2 of 165
Thread Starter 
Saved just in case there are a whole lot of us out there...
post #3 of 165
Hi!

Name: (screen or real): Swim
Age: 28
Children and birthdays: dd, 10-07
Academic Area: anthro
Stage of Degree: abd
Goal for 2008: finish all interviews and transcribing, analyze data, publish at least one article, present one paper, start writing the dissertation
Geographical Location: (if you are comfortable sharing): midwest
post #4 of 165
Name: (screen or real): EVC
Age: 33
Children and birthdays: DD, Born October 2005
Academic Area:Slavic Linguistics
Stage of Degree: third year
Goal for 2008: maintaining my sanity
Geographical Location: (if you are comfortable sharing): California
post #5 of 165
Sounds like a good group for me!

Name: (screen or real): Heather
Age: 29
Children and birthdays: dc, due late July/early August!
Academic Area: linguistics
Stage of Degree: done with coursework, and wanting to start my comps...but with what, I don't know.
Goal for 2008: Get a comp or two started, as well as a finished book review.
Geographical Location: (if you are comfortable sharing): New England
post #6 of 165
Name: "Snowyowl"
Age: I'll be turning 36 in a few weeks.
Children and birthdays: 1 daughter, 10 years old
Academic Area: English
Stage of Degree: Comps (passed my first one last month, studying for my next one)
Goal for 2008: finish my comps, present at a couple of conferences over the summer, have my proposal accepted by September, start writing the diss
Geographical Location: Canada
post #7 of 165
Any chance a lurking MS Student mama can join in?

Name: Kritto
Age: 25
Children and birthdays: DD, turned 1 last week!
Academic Area: biology (pollination)
Stage of Degree: stalled at the data analysis stage
Goal for 2008: analyze, write and defend!
Geographical Location: Utah

Any words of wisdom on how to jumpstart your work again after it has stalled? I feel like I need to start up again, but it's so daunting!

Sending good research/comps/writing vibes to you all!
post #8 of 165
Thread Starter 
Hello, everyone!

Kritto, I'm amazed you've gotten enough done to even get to a point to stall in the last year! Or have you been stalled since your daughter was born? I have a 16 month old, and have gotten next to nothing done since he was born.

What has worked for me in the past has been to make a teeny teeny goal of doing 15 minutes of work for 4 days in a row. I have limited myself to ONLY 15 minutes for 4 days. By the end of them, I usually find myself frustrated more by the time limit than by not knowing what to do next. 15 minutes is just not very long, and it makes you sort of panic into doing something before it's over. I usually don't stall out because I'm stuck, but because I feel like I've got way too much to do to ever finish. This works well for that.

Other ideas??
post #9 of 165
Seek and ye shall find! I was looking for some mamas to chat with...


Name: (screen or real): Elisabeth
Age: 30
Children and birthdays: ds 11.27.02, dd 4.9.04, ds 7.13.06
Academic Area: Integrative Medicine
Stage of Degree: The beginning-just a few months in!
Goal for 2008: fully manage coursework as well as our life (dh and I are self employed and homeschoolers-yikes!)
Geographical Location: (if you are comfortable sharing): New England
post #10 of 165
Name: (screen or real): erinjacobs
Age: 31
Children and birthdays: none yet
Academic Area: Astronomy
Stage of Degree: Applications (looking to start in fall 2008)
Goal for 2008: Acceptance, Decision, Move, and start coursework
Geographical Location: now-South, next year-????

It's great to find other women like me going to grad school! What are some of your best tips for juggling school and family?
post #11 of 165
Thread Starter 
Welcome, firefaery and erin! Good to have you join. Firefaery, how on earth do you get it all done? That sounds like a lot. Homeschooling by itself overwhelms me. I've been thinking about doing it for our kids, but can't imagine how I'd continue with my (other) career if I became the kids' teacher, too!

I am feeling overwhelmed in general right now, though. We found out over the holiday that I'm pregnant again! : I was just beginning to feel like my life was, well, mine again-- starting this thread is testimony to that. I wanted to reclaim my academic life and really get going on my degree, after 16 months of doing next to nothing. And now I find out we're getting on the baby ride again! Ack! It's not altogether unwelcome, but just a shock (and it shouldn't be-- it's not as though we were being all that careful. We just got "lucky" and caught the first post-partum egg. Alas.) To make matters worse I've been really sick this time around. Throwing up sick. So I've gotten NO work done yet. I hope it evens out soon!

So, erin, tips to balance academic and family life? Hmm. Maybe I'm not the best one to ask right now. Others? It doesn't seem possible to me to balance the two without some outside help. I'm not sure if others would agree. But without our part-time nanny and friends who are willing to look after Ovi occasionally, I'd be losing my mind. My other answer would be that your standards can't be as high, perhaps, as you'd like. For me this is a hard one-- I want my house to be spotless. But the truth is, it just can't be-- not if I want to get everything done. And I guess a third answer is that I can't take artistic license with my work so much-- meaning, I can't dawdle like I used to. I used to relish long days at the library or coffee house, looking out the window and thinking my philosophically rambling thoughts. But now I recognize that that sort of endeavor is really a luxury, and while it is still important to pursue on occasion to keep my brain happy, I have to cut to the chase more often and just "get 'er done" in some cases. I can't take my work as personally as I used to.

Other thoughts?
post #12 of 165
Congratulations!!!!!! Wow-I had a scare this past month (I'm done with kiddos) and it threw me for a loop. False alarm...but with three already it's a different story!

I wish I had some tips. We do ALOT of crafts where I can be in the room supervising but not actually hands on. You'd laugh if you knew how many times I stuck the older two in the bath and took my laptop in the bathroom to study!

Summer is easier by far. I chuck them in the yard with a shallow pool, sandbox, a hose and some jars/buckets/shovels. They will be busy for hours. I am an unschooler so there's no structured learning time. It gets done though. Today my newly 5 year old ds showed me where Oklahoma, Texas, Michigan and Connecticut are on the map. I didn't teach him that so SOMETHING is getting accomplished!

I am also a stickler for a clean house and that is HARD. Luckily dh is just as nutty (in terms of when he starts he CLEANS...it's getting him to start that's the issue!)

I don't know-but I'm glad to have the support!
post #13 of 165
I'll join!


Name: Sara
Age: 28
Children and birthdays: ds, 3/05
Academic Area: evolutionary biology
Stage of Degree: ABD!
Goal for 2008: Finish writing and Defend in May!
Geographical Location: TX



I'm in my 6th year and thankfully almost done!! Woo! I'm currently applying for a tenure-track position at a liberal arts college in the town I live in, but if that doesn't happen (feels like a long shot), I will be teaching h.s. next year (biology). I'm getting my teacher certification along with my PhD (two diff. programs! Ack!!), and my plan is to either get a job at a liberal arts college or teach at a boarding school.

Tips on balance: Um, honestly, I'm horrid at it. What works for me is that ds is in dc full time and then I go in to my office and work there. I really can't work at home, and I can't work when ds is around. Although if I had to I'm sure I could. Maybe.....

My best tip is just to do something each day. Not that I always follow that advice, but if you do something, you will ultimately finish!
post #14 of 165
Hi Mamas.

I couldn't stop by this thread and not give you a great big cyber cheer. I was collecting my data for my dissertation when DD#1 was a newborn and successfully defended 14 hrs. before going into labor with DD#2. It can be done. Good luck to you all!
post #15 of 165

can I join you?

Name: Heather
Age: 27
Children and birthdays: daughter, Mary, 9/1/06; bun in oven, due July
Academic Area: British literature
Stage of Degree: ABD...sigh
Goal for 2008: finish my dissertation and defend it before the babe is born.
Geographical Location: MD


I am so happy to see this tribe. I am overwhelmed by trying to balance everything--teaching, writing my dissertation, taking care of my daughter (who is 16 mo), and keeping our house from sinking under the load of dirty dishes/laundry (my housekeeping goals are modest!). I am 14 weeks pregnant and just getting over the morning sickness, which has been totally brutal and kept me from getting anything done aside from teaching for about the second half of last semester. Anyway, I'm thrilled that this tribe exists and will be checking back for inspiration and to cheer you ladies on!
post #16 of 165
Wow, Alethia--our kids are the same age almost exactly! (Yours was born on my "due date.") How far along are you in this pregnancy?
post #17 of 165
Thread Starter 
mchalehm- I know! I just saw your post in my email and had to come respond. Nice to meet someone no only in the same oat, but sitting on the same bench!

I'm not sure how far along I am -- I'll find out with an us on wednesday. Definitely still daling w/ MS though.
post #18 of 165
Name: Julie
Age: 29
Children and birthdays: Ian (dob: 6/24/07)
Academic Area: Business Management (Major area: Strategic Management, Minor area: Economic Sociology)
Stage of Degree: Candidate
Goal for 2008: Defend my proposal
Geographical Location: Portland, OR

I'm so glad to have found this thread! I need other mama's who understand my pain! Some days I question whether it's all worth it but I know if I don't finish, I'll regret it later.

I'm finally making something resembling progress...it's been six months of virtually no progress at all. My poor Chair. She's very understanding but I know she must be a little frustrated with me.

I just have no balance, but I'm trying!
post #19 of 165
I was just thinking this morning that the worst thing, to me, about being a grad student is the fact that you work really long hours but get paid crappy. So, unless your dp has a good paying job (mine doesn't), you can't afford the things that other people who work long hours but get paid well have: like a housecleaner, take out food/convenience food, etc.

Plus, as education is obviously important to us, many of us are probably paying a good deal for childcare/daycare/preschool/etc. Which stretches the $$ that much more.

Sigh.

And ds didn't want me to leave this morning. He started a new school (Montessori!!!!!!) and we have been able to take him later in the morning till now (I need to get him used to going in early, as I need to work and this summer I am teaching summer school and MUST be at school by 7:30 a.m.--I have a LONG commute and there's pretty heavy traffic, so I need a good head start). Today, I dropped him off at 6:45 and there was only one other girl there and his teacher wasn't there and he did NOT want me to leave. It was SO sad. I guess he'll get used to it, though....I hope. And I'm certain that the other kids started getting there only a few minutes after I left.....I hope.
post #20 of 165
Thread Starter 
Welcome dogmom! I'm in PDX too, and EC'ing a babe. Go figure.

Petersmamma
, You made me think of an article that all of us should read. Don't worry, it's short. It is advice from a professor of economics to her graduate students, but the discipline doesn't really matter. The advice is good. One of her pieces of advice is "starve proudly." She probably wasn't thinking of grad students with families, but nevertheless, it helps to remember that your calling is a noble one and worth the sacrficies. Though yes, it would be damn nice to have a housecleaner on occassion.

Here's the article.
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