...a few more tips and things that helped me through my PhD.
A DEDICATED PERSON: I've alluded before to the idea of it taking a village to raise a child idea and accepting or asking for help whenever you have an inkling of needing it! Well, I also think if you can manage it, find an extra-special person to support you. I had my (amazing!) husband, but it doesn’t actually matter who it is. The person just needs to be totally in tune with you and be there for you. Someone who is a confidante. Bear in mind though, that even your No #1 go-to person can run out of energy – just like you, they are human. They need a break too. For the times when they just can’t take any more, it’s useful to have someone else – luckily I had one of these too, though I’m not sure she knows how great she was. I’ll be sure to tell her again!
A DEDICATED SPACE: Create a space that is for you. A space where you can leave your books for an hour (to rest/play/cook/clean) and where you can be sure that when you get back, they’ll still be there. Luckily, we have a 3 bedroom house, so one room is ‘our’ MY study. To an outsider its full of post-its, pin board, spidergrams, stacks of paper piled randomly, topped with books and journal articles. To me, this was the basis of my work – if anything was touched – I’d know. Even if it’s just a corner in your lounge/bedroom, try to have a small space that is yours. A space where you get into the ‘zone’ and get your geek on!
YOU time: OK, I know I just said that you should focus on your studies BUT you’ve gotta have something else too. Something that isn’t kid-related or study-related, but something that is JUST.FOR.YOU. Something that YOU enjoy. I know you might think you don’t have time – but it’s not true. You DO have time for you, you just have to adjust your timetable and take that time out. It will mean a tiny bit less time studying, or a tiny bit less time with your loved ones BUT investing in you is an investment in your family. It’s just like on a plane, they tell you to put your life jacket on first, before helping others – there’s a reason for that. So, to clarify, you need to have it – just don’t let it take over.
KNOW WHEN TO STOP: A strong woman knows when to stop. When it is all just too much or too hard – stop. Like I said, you don’t have to prove anything to anyone. If deep down you really really feel you need a break from your studies – take the break. If you feel you need a break from your child(ren) – take the break. Everyone will thank you and it really is OK. I know someone who took 18 months off from a 3 year course because it all got too much. She went back, finished and has two very grown and handsome sons, a PhD and has also had a fabulous career! If she can do it, so can you!
For now, I think those are about all the tips that I have re. getting through your studies/any life challenge I suppose, as a Mummy or anyone..