Up to this point, I have only been in Phase 1 of my stay-at-home parenting stint. Sure, when the school year drew to a close at the end of May, I left the teaching job I beat the pants off for five years and have been home caring for the Twinfants since, but that was only the beginning.
This week my family and I enter Phase 2 of our Master Plan–or (since I already have my Master’s) more appropriately, our Doctoral Plan–as I return to the Ph. D. program I put on hold when the Twins were born in January.
Whenever I tell people I’m going to be both a stay-at-home dad and a full-time Ph. D. student, they usually either think I’m nuts or lying. I can understand that to mere mortals, both sound feasible. Regarding the former, when we first hatched The Plan from a badass-idea-shaped egg, I too thought it impossible, envisioning myself having bi-daily nervous breakdowns while attempting to study with two teething children in my lap, batting textbooks out of my hands like cartoon bullies. I have also been known to exaggerate or even slightly awesome-ify the truth in the name of witty entertainment (which I never do in writing this fine publication), so I also don’t blame those who do think I’m joking, as “crying ‘WOLF!'” one too many times with outrageous claims like inventing the question mark makes my family and friends reluctant to believe anything I tell them for the first time.
I can’t assure you I’m sane by insisting it because that is exactly what The Royal They argue that an insane person would do, and a similar stance is usually taken towards alleged liars.
However, I can explain how we plan on accomplishing this as a family and you, O Loyal Reader, can decide for yourself.
Based on the classes I still needed to take in my program, I enrolled–as much as I could–in ones held on the same days, so I only need to be on campus twice a week. Since my lovely wife works full-time, we needed care for the Twins during that time. Fortunately, we were able to enlist my mother, who has helped us a ton since the munchkins’ arrival. (She held down the fort earlier in the year when we returned to work from maternity/paternity leaves until I became voluntarily unemployed, and has also stepped up this summer on days I’ve needed to travel light while running errands.)
My wife and I have both been at-home parents during these first months, so, realizing the demands of twins, we recognize there is no way I can get ANY work done while watching them. It also wasn’t realistic for me to count on weekend studying–it’s our only real opportunity for whole-family time since as soon as my wife gets home from work on weekdays, we feed the kids dinner and start winding them down for bedtime at 7:30 pm.
So when the hell was I going to actually do my Ph. D. work?
After an intense Twinkle Think session, we hatched Yet Another Plan (that’s right–we have twin plans, too). My mother was already going to Twin-tackle during my classes anyway, so we asked if she could instead adore/endure them all day for the days I’m on campus so I could not only attend class, but also use the rest of the day to study my ass off, re-attach it, and then go home victorious.
So basically, the plan is for me to be on campus all day, two days a week, doing any and all Ph. D.-related activities. The remaining three weekdays, I will be home wrangling Twinfants like nobody’s bidness, just as I have done for the past few months, winning several major imaginary awards in the process, including Best Cinematographer of an Alleged, Unfilmed Picture and Best Baby-Monitor Sound Broadcast.
Since I haven’t actually put the plan into practice yet, I won’t claim it to be foolproof, but we think it’s a pretty good one. I realistically anticipate the added layer of stress taking on Ph. D. classes will bring, and I’m sure there are some rough days ahead. At the same time, I’m incredibly excited to further my education in subjects I thoroughly enjoy and afford myself opportunities I would never have otherwise, including the possibility to earn more than I did as a middle school teacher and provide for the new members of my family so they, too, can conquer college and get Ph. D.’s of their own so we can all obnoxiously call each other “Doctor” at dinner parties.
No matter how it ends, it all starts this week. Hold onto your Huggies, because here we go…
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If not, give me a break. I’m pretty freaking busy.
Sounds like a great plan to me! Good luck!
Thanks! I’m sure some days it’ll be a fustercluck, but it’s exciting nonetheless. :)
Don’t stop believin’
Rightrightright. I seem to remember something regarding streetlights and people. I forgot for a minute. It must have been hiding somewhere in the night.
Well it was good knowing you these past few months! Lol. I guess we’ll hear from
You again when you’re a doctor, doctor. Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow! You are the wind beneath my wings, you are the sunshine of my life, BE A JUKEBOX HERO! Good luck. I don’t know how you are going to do it, I can barely keep my family’s clothes clean. That reminds me gotta go do a load.
Haha, thanks John! I do anticipate this new venture to infringe upon my blogging/social media/time-wasting hobbies, but also plan to take on-campus breaks to avoid burnout, so I’m not planning to go off-grid any time soon. Writing this fine publication has been a fun, much-needed outlet as I bumble through new parenting territory and I’m sure trying to think academically with the brain damage that comes with parenting is sure to yield plenty of twinteresting results for me to share so you can all laugh with/at me. We’ll see how it goes…
First of all, I was a bit unsure of the feasibility until you said thatbyou had been a middle school teacher. I mean, if you can survive that you can do ANYTHING.
So I have total faith in you to be able to tweet and blog two days a week and wrangle twinfants the other days. But when are you going to study?
Haha, that’s going to be the battle when I’m on campus–DISCIPLINE. I’m going to have to make school the priority and stay the heck off my blog and social media until I actually accomplish what my study time is SUPPOSED to be for. It’s going to be a challenge since I’m highly distractible, but I have to do it if I want to get anything done. Feel free to call me out on time-wasting if you see me on Twitter.
Speaking of someone who got a PhD well before I became a SAHD (15 years ago), I can’t imagine how you can do it all. But, I’m not good at multi-tasking…good luck!
Jack’s Dad (http://homewithlittlejack.blogspot.com/)
Thanks, man! I’m not a great multi-tasker myself, but I’ve been learning out of necessity. I’m really coming along nicely if my wife says so herself. I could think all I want about how I should have gone for the degree sooner (before the kids were here) but I didn’t know I wanted it then, and I probably wouldn’t have wound up staying home with them either, which I’m thrilled to be able to do. It is what it is, and I’ve decided it IS going to be awesome.
The John has spoken.
ahahaa… good luck with the plans. Don’t let the PhD stopping you from blogging ;)
Thanks! I shall do my best to keep this fine publication in publication.