mama, phd

This picture was snapped by my good friend A. after my dissertation defense this past Thursday. T. is holding our stroller and the multiple copies of my dissertation with my committee’s remarks on them. I’m carrying my nine months old daughter, who was just returned to me by a kind friend of a friend, who pushed her in that stroller for two hours around campus while I defended. (His doing that allowed T. and my other good friends to attend my defense).

I defened my dissertation and I am now officially a mama, PhD. This day was a long time in the making and the sum of much hard work and a lot of moral support from both family and friends. This past weekend was spent surrounded by my parents, husband, and many good friends, all of whom played a pivotal role in my bringing this project to fruition. Their endless encouragement and valuable feedback helped me keep going even when I was exhausted, experiencing extreme “new parent fatigue,” or simply “academic ennui.” They motivated me to finish and then they gathered around and celebrated my accomplishement with me. My dears, you know who you are and you should know that I am forever thankful to you.

I could not have had a better graduation. So many wonderful people, so much good food, a fair amount of alcohol, and no fewer than four adorable children made it a weekend to remember. After my defense on Thursday, I participated in my university’s commencement proceedings and was “hooded” by my wonderful advisor. Yet another person to whom I’m extremely indebted.

Another awesome thing this weekend: Gloria Steinem received an honorary degree from my alma mater and was, I kid you not!, less than ten feet away from me during commencement!

We arrived back home today, tired but happy, with a car full of things to be unpacked, laundry to be washed, and photos to be uploaded. The idea that I am actually done with grad school has yet to sink in. I have been at this for so long, I don’t quite know how to imagine life outside of being a student.

I have plans and goals for the year to come. I have writing deadlines and a couple of grant applications. I have some personal milestones I’d like to reach. I am excited and hopeful for the future. But tonight, I just have a glass of wine and a very comfortable bed with my name on it.

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44 Responses to mama, phd

  1. Stephanie says:

    As I sit squeezing in a little bit of dissertation work before I call it a night, this post popping up in my Google Reader is so inspirational. What a lovely photo, and a huge congrats to you!!!

  2. Caroline says:

    Congratulations!!! What a big year for you! Great photo!

  3. Rita says:

    Congrats! You have no idea how encouraging this is for someone who is trying to get things done by July! Thanks and many, many great things your way!

  4. Woot! Woot! Way to go! Welcome to the Dr. Mama Club – glad to have you here!

  5. Laura says:

    Go Dr. S! Woo hoo!

  6. So impressed with your accomplishment!! Nice work.

  7. Miss Sarah says:

    Congrats! You’re so inspiring for getting all that writing done, not to mention the years leading up to this big event. Kick ass, Dr. S!

  8. busylizzy111 says:

    Herzlichen Glückwunsch!

  9. jen. says:

    I have to de-lurk to say congratulations! I can’t even imagine how amazing and accomplished you must feel!

  10. Biba says:

    Congratulations! Out of curiosity, what’s the title of your thesis? Much love to you & your family, B.

  11. Nodakademic says:

    Congratulations! My commencement was the 12th so we are in the same shoes…it still hasn’t sunk in for me yet but I am loving the wine as well as the comfy bed!

  12. Ms.Cleaver says:


  13. Jessica M says:


  14. Elisabeth says:


  15. Janelle G says:

    Congratulations! What a great accomplishment :)

  16. Stephanie says:

    S.— You’ve been a huge inspiration for me as I started out on my grad school journey this year. Congratulations on completing yours!

  17. Congratulations on an amazing accomplishment! The Internet is so proud of you! :)

    • Ricardo says:

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  18. sd says:

    Another de-lurker. You’ve been such an inspiration to me. Thanks for proving you can do it. I have a 2 month old and I’m ABD… I’m going to use your method: a little bit a day goes a long way. Congratulations to you and Dr. T!

  19. Dorothy says:


  20. T. says:

    Congratulations on your degree! (Also, I must say, you have such a cute family.)

  21. Christina says:

    Herzlichen Glückwunsch! What an accomplishment … many nights of relaxing and wine are in order :-)

  22. Ola says:

    Wow! Congratulations Doctor Mama!
    I remember that the best thing was waking up next day and finding out I have nothing to do about my thesis or defence. It feels so great :)

  23. Erin says:


  24. Laura says:

    Fantastic! Congratulations, S!! You are such role model and inspiration. Also, what a lovely picture! Your daughter is getting cuter by the minute.

  25. Sue says:

    Congratulations S! You always leave me in awe, with reading all that you have accomplished. The future, I’m sure holds and will bring you many good things. I will sit back (with a glass of wine :) and continue to enjoy reading what next the future holds for you. Thank you as well for creating this beautiful blog that we all enjoy reading. I think I’m not wrong in saying that we all live a little vicariously through you – and you inspire all of us.

  26. Jessica says:

    Hooray! As someone just diving in to the dissertation process, it’s nice to see that people (especially hard-working and very deserving people!) CAN make it out on the other side! Congratulations!

  27. DM says:

    Many congratulations!!! This is a huge milestone — enjoy the moment! And take it from one who has been there, keep making those “to-do” lists for the future (with “fun” as one of the things to do…).

  28. becky. says:

    congratuations, S! wonderful news.

  29. M. says:

    Herzlichen Glückwunsch! Wenn das nicht ein Grund zum Feiern ist…

  30. S. says:

    Thank you so much for all your congratulatory comments, everyone! You’re such a wonderfully encouraging and supportive community and I really appreciate you taking the time to say a kind word and celebrating with me!


  31. anna says:

    Huge congrats! I’m so happy for you! You are such an inspiration!

  32. Dottie says:

    Congratulations! What an exciting milestone for you and your family! Enjoy the wine that you most certainly deserve. :)

  33. Daria says:

    Congratulations, I am so happy for you!

  34. Hannie says:

    Congratulations! Wonderfull picture of your family. For now relax and enjoy the last days of spring and summer. I am looking forward to your travel with baby posts.

  35. Pingback: Simply Bike » so what’s next?

  36. Kara says:

    Yes! Congratulations! What an amazing accomplishment.

    (PS – I have that Liberty of London Target top too! Well, mine is in green, but practically twins.)

  37. Blume says:

    Steinem! How lovely, after the Schlafly debacle several years ago.


  38. Rose-Anne says:

    I’m a little late here, but no matter: congratulations! It’s such a huge accomplishment. Enjoy the giddy afterglow–you’ve earned it. Also, I’m excited for your future plans and look forward to hearing more about how your year of writing unfolds. Best of luck to you, my dear! xoxo

  39. Secret Squirrel says:

    I’m also late to comment, as I have just got back from holiday. Very many congratulations on your achievement S! I also wholeheartedly cheer you on for your writing plans this year. Well done.

  40. Raena says:

    You and your family are incredibly inspiring! :)

  41. Pingback: Simply Bike » on travel and writing {and the challenges of travel writing}

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