mom life · phD

Day in the life of a PhD mom

This is how my typical day looked like when I was at a writing stage of my PhD dissertation.

My daughters were 4 years old and 1 year old. 

6:30 am                       Wake up (if none of them woke me up yet), make lunch

7:30 am                        Feed the girls, change, start the laundry 

8:30 am                          Violin practice for my older daughter (while the younger one wants to join)

9:00 am                          Drop them off at daycare
9:30 am                          Start writing at a nearby cafe

12:30 pm                         Going home for lunch

1 pm ~ 2:30 pm             Line dry laundry, tidy up home, house chores, errands

2:30 pm ~ 4:00 pm         Get back to writing dissertation 

4:30 pm                           Picking up the girls

5:00 pm                           Cook dinner (with the kids as long as my sanity lasts) 

6:00 pm                         Eat, clean up

7:00 pm ~ 8:30 pm      Playtime followed by bath time 

8:30pm  ~ 9:00 pm      Reading books and going to bed 

10:00 pm ~ 12 pm        Whatever I need to do….and crowl to bed

ZZZZZZ…… nightmares about my dissertation 


I was too exhausted to work at night, my only productive time was when the girls were away. 

Even during those hours, I couldn’t use my time entirely on my work…a lot was spent on house chores and errands.

It’s all about your priority, I guess. I just couldn’t let my home get cluttered with stuff…and I just need to eat food that is homemade and yummy.  And I wanted to spend time for my daughters to go to her violin lessons and practice. 

Afterall, I just couldn’t prioritize my work over these things. And we can only do so much everyday.

It was possible to finish my dissertation even with this much work, and successfully defend it. But the problem was, I didn’t get to do the extra work to get a job after I get my PhD…that is to build up my resume by teaching, publishing, presenting, etc. 

I wonder what I could have done differently, and if I should have done differently. 

I thought my journey was over, but seems that I’m still trying to figure out how to make sense of my journey. 


It’s okay to quit your PhD

When I was feeling stuck with my dissertation, I often felt like quitting my PhD.

When I told my thoughts (or more like my feelings) to my friends and family, they unilaterally told me I would regret if I quit.

“Once you quit, you would never be able go back.”

“You would feel like a loser.”

“You would always feel like you couldn’t finish what you started.”

“You are so close to finishing it. You are almost done.”

I was convinced, or I was afraid of feeling like that for the rest of my life, so I kept going.

After a lot of tears, nightmares and distress, I finished my dissertation, passed the defence, and graduated with that glorious PhD.

Now, do I feel good about myself not quitting it? That I kept trying and got my PhD?

The answer is No.

I actually regret I finished it.

I actually feel ashamed of becoming a PhD and not having any future lined up.

I wish I quitted when I felt like it.

I would have had more time to spend with my two little girls.

I would have at least been 5 years younger and may have been able to have another child.

I would have had more job possibilities without a PhD cause very few would want to hire a mom with a PhD.

If you feel like you want to quit your PhD, and if your inner voice and your surroundings keep telling you shouldn’t quit because quitting is simply a bad thing, I would tell you something different. 
It’s okay.

You can quit.

Honestly, becoming a PhD is not that great. It’s pretty useless. 

Time is too valuable to spend on something you don’t feel great about.

Find your passion instead. Don’t waste your money on tuition. Use it for something you love.

If you are a PhD student feeling like quitting, and especially if you are a mom I just want to let you know you are not alone. 

Ai xoxo