Getting a doctorate degree whilst raising a family is not an easy task. Parenting is a challenge during any time of life, but can be particularly so as a PhD student due to all of the balls that have to be juggled at one time—conducting research, working on your PhD thesis, childcare issues, your kids getting sick, and so on.
The good news is that you can successfully parent through a PhD if you utilise some of the following tips during your doctorate degree:
Get Advice from Other PhD Parents
One of the best resources are those who have come before you or who are on the same journey as a PhD student and parent. Consider getting together frequently in order to support each other during the more difficult times. Talk about different aspects of combining parenthood and a doctorate degree, such as time management strategies, how to keep the children engaged, and struggles that you are having with your PhD thesis. Bring the children along so they can make new friends and form a support group of their own. If nothing else, getting together to commiserate can be very healthy if you are with a group of people who are able to understand exactly what you are going through.
As a PhD student, it can be difficult to reach out for help. You are very likely, by nature, a Type-A personality who wishes to do everything yourself. Over time, however, this is going to wear you down completely. Accept the fact that you are not going to be able to do everything perfectly all by yourself all of the time. This is when you need to bring in help. Get help from a childcare centre for a couple of days a week so you can concentrate on writing a PhD thesis in peace. If you have family nearby, ask if the kids can visit for a while in the afternoon. Arrange for sleepovers or play dates with your other PhD friends, and then return the favour when they need to have some time to work. Just remember that there is no weakness in asking for help.
Embrace Your Situation
Above all, you have to accept the current season of life you are in. Yes, you are going to be busy and stressed out. Yes, you are going to worry that you are inconveniencing your family. But try to get those thoughts out of your head as soon as they enter. Instead, embrace your doctorate degree. Understand that you are doing something that will benefit your family in the long term. Most of all, show pride in your work and make yourself an example to your children. Show them what can come of hard work and dedication.
In the scheme of things, this is a short period in your life, and looking for PhD help when you need it is nothing to be ashamed of. Just remember to keep going and do the best that you can. In the end, you will come out a well-rounded, exceptionally educated individual who can serve as a positive role model to your family.