ABD Day #2 : I Am Not A Stay-At-Home

One of the things about dissertating is that my time is wide open. No one tells me where to be or what to do. There are no classes, no assignments, no group meetings. To dissertate well, one must be super protective of one’s time.

I suck at protecting my time. Case in point: I am currently sitting in a school board meeting, after having attended a school site council meeting and sat through my six-year-old’s soccer practice. I’m here, at the school board meeting because I care, and today they are talking about issues of student achievement, and this district has an opportunity/achievement gap problem. Kids who look like my kids, who are only 2% of the district population! tend to score lower on standardized tests and tend to be placed in special education. 22% of all black children are classified in special education, and 31% of all black students who receive free or reduced lunch are classified in special education.

I could rationalize my being here by saying I’m collecting data for my dissertation, but that would be a stretch. I’m here because I’m part of a group of concerned parents about these issues and that concern is separate and independent from my dissertation work.

But, today from 3:15 to the current time of 8:15, I have now spent five hours doing “mom” stuff. (Update: I didn’t get home until 10. Please adjust all following times and calculations accordingly.) To be fair to myself, I also spent five hours today working on my dissertation, writing over 2,000 words.

But five hours of “mom” stuff is too much. I am not a stay at home who is writing her dissertation on the side.

What I did today, five-plus hours, is a part time job. And I spent two hours this morning getting kids ready and dressed and fed. So seven + hours — that’s actually a full time job!

But I am not a stay at home mom. I can’t spend seven hours of my waking hours doing “mom” stuff. I just can’t.

But how do I stop? How do I stop being involved? How can I NOT speak up in a meeting?

I don’t know. I really don’t know what I’m going to do. But tomorrow, I might just sleep. After I do my writing.

3 thoughts on “ABD Day #2 : I Am Not A Stay-At-Home

  1. My good friend Erica Armstrong Dunbar, who you may know, gave me the best advice a couple of weeks ago. Schedule uninterrupted time for your work like it’s a school board meeting or soccer practice. I have yet to do this personally because I’m unorganized. However, I’ll do a schedule if you will. iCalendar on the new OS?


  2. Reblogged this on Doctor Mama Esquire and commented:
    I wrote this at the beginning of the school year when I hadn’t really gotten my act together with the unstructured time called dissertation writing. This is still really hard for me to do, but it’s incredibly necessary to schedule time for your work. I tried to “fit” my dissertation around everything else, but I don’t work like that. I don’t work an hour here or an hour there.

    So what changed? Everything got cut. No more soccer. No more tae kwon do. No more school board meetings. Kids played outside after school. We had dinner together. Kids went to bed. I went to bed. Woke up, kids went to school. I went to my office. Worked until 4. Rinse and repeat.

    It was SO hard. But so necessary.


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