In the two years of completing my MAT, I certainly had similar feelings of guilt and frustration. For me, family support (husband, in-laws, mother, sisters) was crucial in getting through deadlines and time spent away from the three kids.
Admittedly, I prefer the computer to the kitchen, study group sessions to playgrounds. Nonetheless, there is a season for intense intellectual engagement, and a season for intense parenting.
Now that my kids are growing up and as I consider an academic career, it’s about finding the balance and stealing time for whatever needs to be done. There will never be a perfect balance nor a perfect solution but I believe in pressing on and nurturing both my mind and my children.
by Claire Aitchison
The pain of guilt for time spent on the PhD which would otherwise have been spent with the kids. This always comes up when I’m working with women doctoral students, and virtually never when I am working with male or mixed gender groups of doctoral researchers. There, I’ve said it. Sexist, huh?
So, can you be a doctoral scholar and ‘good’ mother at the same time? Goodwin and Huppatz (2010) critique the idea of the good mother in their book The Good Mother: Contemporary Motherhoods in Australia Their book also contains a wonderful set of readings on contemporary motherhood, including examples of women doing their mothering work alongside paid jobs in the trades, the phenomenon of the ‘yummy mummy’, executive mothers, lesbian mothering and more. At the planning meeting for this book a young scholar spoke of her intention to write about her double life as PhD…
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