Why combining a PhD with raising children?

I’m often asked why I am doing a PhD while raising two children (currently age 5 and 7) and working as a lecturer. I don’t have a short answer.

When working at ING I was able to participate in a master’s  program at Tilburg University. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to finish that program, as the bank started reorganizing and I truly wasn’t happy working there anymore. So I explored what was in my heart and became a lecturer. Loving it from the first day onwards! One year after I started working at an applied university the Dutch government decided that all lecturers teaching at bachelor level should have a master’s degree. So once again I was able to go to University. At that time I was pregnant with my second daughter. Full of hormones I quickly googled ‘marketing university Amsterdam’ and applied for the part-time program at Vrije Universiteit. Four weeks after my baby girl was born I started with the pre-master.

At one point I called a friend and former colleague at the bank, telling her that it surprised me that I had to work so much harder than during the program at Tilburg University. More statistics and reading academic articles. She didn’t know either why there was such a difference, so I asked prof Ruud Frambach, who was teaching us Strategic Marketing at the time. He explained that the program at Tilburg University was a master of arts and the part-time Marketing master at Vrije Universiteit was a master of science. I panicked! Called my husband and my friend saying I would never be able to study at that level. They calmed me down and we agreed: If I would have a good result on the first test, I would continue. I did.

After a few months I realized I had fallen in love academic science. The part-time master took two years but after that I didn’t want to go back to full-time teaching. That’s when I started thinking about doing a PhD. My husband supported me from the very beginning of that idea, and my children were already familiar with me working during weekends and holidays. So why not? We agreed that as long as ‘the ball kept rolling’ I would pursue my new dream.

Next blog: The topic of my PhD project