Loneliness as a Phd Mum or Mum in Academia


I thought for awhile whether I should write, if at all, about my journey in academia. And if I should just keep it just about R’s language acquisition. But it’s a little lonely.

And as with any journey, there will be celebrations and challenges.I hope that my writing on the topic of being academia is to discuss and reach out and less so about frustrations and gripes.

I want to start off by saying that it’s pretty lonely doing this. And just as I thought I found a small group of graduate students, I find that my other role as a mother complicates things. I can’t go off as easily on any field trip, overseas conference, evening lectures or whole-day writing workshops without first making sure that my daughter is taken care of. And this usually means scheduling babysitting, meal-planning and planning for activities if I will be away for a long stretch of the day. And for each conference/ evening lecture that I’m doing this for, I’m bleeding money. It’s not a big deal for now (thankfully) but it is sometimes hard to see the intangible benefits there in the exchange. Not to mention that if I return home late, my 2.5 yr-old waits up so that she can sleep while stroking my arm (yes, I am loved). But before that, she will throw a massive tantrum much to the bewilderment of the babysitter who has sent me reassuring messages throughout the day what a lovely and sweet, tantrum-free child she is. So yes, I really often triple-think before I commit to such events or opportunities.

I work in academia and I am a mother. of ONE. (I don’t know how the rest of you do it with more than one).

I came to the academia world quite late and in a round-about way. I enjoyed my honours year research so much that I knew graduate school would be on the cards oneday. But I was also anxious to get out there and work and make money. So I did just that– for a good decade or so. Then graduate school came back into my life and I was on a roll until my then boyfriend-now husband proposed and then a baby came along!

Post-edit: I am now a Phd student on a full scholarship.


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