Posted by: unlikelygrad | October 14, 2010

finally, the post you’ve all been waiting for

I originally intended this blog to be about being a mom AND a grad student. But thanks to my family’s delay in moving, I felt more like a single grad student for my first year and part of my second. Of course it wasn’t quite the same, since I did have family obligations on weekends, but I still felt quasi-single during the work week.

Now that my family’s been here for a while, I feel I can evaluate the differences between a single grad student and a grad-student-with-kids:


  • I can’t go to sleep when I want–I usually go to sleep later than I did while “single.”
  • I find myself not staying in lab quite so late in the evening (though I probably still put in the same amount of work, see “pros” below)
  • When I can’t work in my office due to noisy officemates, I can’t work at home, either: the kids are louder than my officemates.
  • I can’t eat what I want for dinner any more, and I can’t eat dinner when I want, either.


  • I have someone to talk with when I get home. Sometimes we talk about my day (which I badly need, some days), but sometimes we talk about totally random things that get my mind off work. I SO need this.
  • I laugh a lot more.
  • I can get massages any time I like. (Lew, my 13yo, is learning to give a pretty vigorous back rub. UnlikelyDad’s are not so vigorous but dig deeper.)
  • When depression hits, I don’t sink so low.
  • I have a car!! Which means it isn’t such a pain to do things like, say, pre-dawn sampling at a distant lake. (Yes, I did this by bus before.)
  • I no longer have to do dishes, laundry, shopping, or other homemaking chores. Hallelujah for house husbands and children who know how to do all that stuff themselves.
  • Since I don’t have to fly back to California on weekends, I can come in on Saturday to finish up anything I didn’t get to during the week.
  • Human missiles come flying to give me hugs the instant I walk in the door every evening. I missed this.

The upshot is that any situation has its ups and downs. No matter what yours looks like, it’s best to look for the silver lining. There were good things about not having my family here, and I tried to remember those as I waited for them to arrive. But now that they’re here, I’m so so so so glad to be with them.



  1. […] For a little over a month, I actually lived with my family while also being a grad […]

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