I had my PhD Viva on the 1st of December 2014, and a week later, exactly a week later we flew from London to Montreal. After much consideration we decided to send most of our things to Portugal, since our Canadian adventure was to last only 9 months and we had no idea where we would go after, so it really didn’t make sense paying for storage in the UK. We only brought what we could fit in our 1 small and 3 large suitcases.
The plan for the 9 months was for me to make the minor changes to my thesis as required by my examiners and then look for a job. Somewhere. Anywhere in the whole wide world. This, while staying home with the girls. Easy, right?
Well… not quite so!
Why? Probably because I took my role as a stay at home mum seriously, my daughters are at a key stage of development and I’m now in charge of playing all the roles of all the nursery staff they had previously, plus I’m their mum! I bought some books to inspire me and looked on the internet and Pinterest regularly for interesting and fun activities.
List of Books:
by Levine, Joni
by Clouder, Christopher
by Bowman, John
(We also had to buy a new pushchair, but that’s a whole other issue that I’ll make sure to write about!)
We tried to go out most days, yes, tried. It’s not that easy and obvious how to move around with 2 two-year olds with -15oC and snow. But it was part of our learning and it was our big adventure. And like Dora we sang lots of ‘We did it! We did it!’. I think I needed to tell myself often that I could do it!
We went to activities at Le Carrefour des Petits Soleils with Pauline, and at Les Ateliers d’éducation Populaire du Plateau with Michelle, we went to story time at La Tasse Gamine, and we also went to the supermarket across the street (Provigo Mtl, Avenue du Parc). In all of these it was as much of an activity to get there than the actual activity itself! Actually, just getting dressed was… a test to our patience and perseverance: snow trousers, snow boots, snow coat, mittens, ‘ninja’ scarf, hat, seating in the pushchair – the 3 of us needed a rest by the time we were ready to head out!
And where does the PhD thesis and the job hunt fit here? Well, during naptime! That’s it! A maximum 2h of uninterrupted work but usually a lot less than that! Not easy but I did it, I submitted my revised thesis and received a couple of congratulations emails for being a Dr.
I don’t feel any different. At all. If anything, I feel relieved for having managed to pull it off: ‘I did it! We did it!’