Getting a PhD while raising your child

Interviewer: Mary Dinh

Interviewee: Wuri Kusumastuti

Parenting and simultaneously pursuing a doctorate degree is like a supreme challenge. While Wuri’s pre-kids doctoral work would revolve around library and office visits, as well as long hours at the computer, her academic work now requires her to make use of her financial resources and work in more creative ways.

To illustrate, Wuri provided a snapshot of her day as a “PhD mom” (I guess PhD dads can also find this relatable) and how she can manage the academic writing, researching, teaching, and taking care of her child. She talked about her mission as a mother and a Ph.D. student with wisdom, humbleness, and a great sense of humor.

The very practical tips, from self-care to building a support system, that Wuri recommended, could also be useful for you. One thing that Wuri recommends is consistency, “Being consistent is the key to keep in track as a as a mother, and also a full-time worker…. For example, for the past two months I didn’t write anything on my dissertations because of the moving, and then my son had to find a school, the new job, etc. But then, for the past two weeks I realized that if I spend at least one hour every morning before I start working to write at least one paragraph in my dissertations, or at least to write something in my mind.”

She also emphasized on strategic planning to coordinate writing with the schedule of her baby and how the university can better accommodate the needs of PhD students who are parents.

A full episode of our interview – “Getting a PhD while raising your child” can be found at:

Written by Mary Dinh (

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