Thursday, 23 February 2012

All I need to know, I learned in kindergarten (or through kindergarten-ers)

A lot of people have asked how I managed to get myself into the situation of having to finish my doctorate while being pregnant with and then having the Little Miss Snoopy, all while the twins were going through their terrible two's (which were more like terrible one-and-a-half's to terrible three's).  All I can say is that you cannot assume forethought or planning for what mere stupidity and naivety can explain.

I began my doctorate sans children, in the sunny land of South Africa, and, always liking a challenge in those days (as well as being a serial student), thought it would be a fun thing to do.  There seems to be a certain amount of misogynistic pleasure to be gained from working so hard for five years for a piece of paper.  To say nothing of the sadistic pleasure that can be gained through making first your professor, and then three other world-class examiners painstakingly read through your tome of six hundred pages all devoted to the subject of violence (sadly, yes, that was my topic).  So, footloose and fancy-free, with only the Sweetpea in tow, it was the most natural thing in the world to start writing, using my background in the South African Police to aid and provide material for this very weighty subject.

I was unprepared for what a move to a new country, and the subsequent birth of all my kiddies, would do to me.    In a polar opposite, I changed careers to work with children instead, and the writing of a thesis on violence became suddenly very far-removed from me and everything I was now involved in.  Thank God for the amazing professor that I had acquired (though sheer luck on my part), who managed to get me through the whole thing!  But looking back, it is probably not advisable to take a project of this magnitude on when also trying to have three children at the same time.  The boys were two, and Little Miss Snoopy just born, when I decided that five years was long enough and I had to get it finished while I was on "Maternity leave" (which I turned into "study leave").  

I feverishly wrote long into the nights, and during the day while the little ones were having their sleeps, and Little Miss Snoopy, who is a really terrible sleeper at the best of times, spent her days lying across my lap, suckling a boob and sleeping on and off, while I typed on the laptop which was also balanced precariously on my lap.  The Sweetpea gave me what time he could, and I got a chance to write when he took everyone out for an hour or two every so often.  Slowly the chapters mounted up, and before I knew it, it was time for a final run through and sending the massive document off to the printers and binders.  It was done!

Not quite sure what those examiners were thinking, but somehow I managed to make it through, and was amazingly awarded the degree.  

And the funniest thing was that, the first time someone called me by my new title, or I had to put it on a form or something, I felt like a big fraud, and like I hadn't really earned it at all!  

I still feel like that now!

1 comment:

  1. You set a goal, worked hard for it with the backing of your family and achieved it! You deserve that title.Carry it well x Anyway your best title at the end of the day is: Mom/mama - an amazing achievement :-)