In honor of Mother's Day, Doctoral Mom would like to introduce you to the amazing women that make up the Doctoral Mom group. Join us as we listen to their advice and stories. Today’s interview is with Terrie Noland, mother of three. Terrie’s area of study is literacy and educational leadership at St. John’s University.
Motherhood What advice would you give to new mothers? Read to your children, sing songs with them, say silly words and phrases, play with language. Use every moment to build rich literacy experiences with them. What is your favorite part of being a mother? Can you give us a specific example? Seeing your children learn from failure and apply that learning. I have to admit, it is HARD to watch your child fail, it hurts your heart, and your mama bear wants to come out and fix things. However, your child needs to fail, but they need to learn how to get up as quickly as they fail.
When my youngest son was applying for college, he had his sights set on a path with the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M. He got his letter in the mail that said he did not get in and that he should go to a sister school first. We were standing in the driveway, anxiously waiting for him to read the letter. We watched him read the letter and immediately tear it into pieces. I was heartbroken because he was heartbroken. He was so mad that he said he didn't want to go there after all. I knew that wasn't true, but he was coping in that moment. We didn't bring it up for several weeks; however, the pain started to subside, and he came up with a new plan. He decided to go to a community college. He attended that school for one semester and then transferred into A&M in the middle of his freshman year. He is now leading large in his squadron in the Corps of Cadets and is seeking a contract with the Navy. I am fully convinced that this small moment of failure has made him more resilient and focused. How did you manage juggling the various aspects of motherhood while working and pursuing your doctorate? When I enrolled for my doctorate, my oldest son was working on his Master's, my daughter was working on her bachelor’s and my youngest son was in high school. The only person not in school was my husband. We still had activities, events, dinner, work and all the daily routines. What worked for me was a simple strategy of "5:07 x 2” 5:07 is the time that I get up every single day. Monday through Fridays I go to workout and then start my full-time work week. I keep that same wakeup time on the weekends to get started on reading and writing on homework on Saturdays and Sundays. Sometimes all day on Saturday and then until I needed to leave for church on Sundays. This allowed my week to be free for work and family. The "2" came into play because that's how I described my support system. I made sure to have a good support system in place and my husband would make me a 2-egg omelet almost every Saturday and bring it to me at the computer about 10:00 on Saturday mornings. Walk us through your daily schedule. Wake up at 5:07. Leave the house at 5:41 for workout. Workout 6-7. Arrive home by 7:14 (listen to personal development podcasts). Begin work by 8:00 or 8:30. Work until 6ish each day (I work from home). However, on Mondays and Tuesdays I tutor seven kids. Dinner (listen to podcasts or audiobooks). Some thinking time away from the computer. Light TV before bed. Asleep by 9 pm. On the weekends, I still get up at 5:07 and spend time working on personal development. Doctoral Program What was the most challenging part about starting your doctorate? I was so out of practice of academic writing that I had to sharpen and tone that muscle. How did you choose your advisor and/or committee? I didn't choose my advisor/committee. I was able to make a request (which I didn't get). In fact, I had never met one of my committee members. What is/was your dissertation topic? Teacher Guilt: How Can It Inform Instructional in Foundational Skills in Reading What is the most difficult part of the dissertation process? Not knowing the process! I had no idea about the structure, the process, what would be needed, IRB was a new and foreign concept to me. When I started the program, I wish I would have had a starter webinar or course that told me what I would be ultimately working towards. If you could do something over, what would it be? Allow myself time for proofreading. Get more people to proofread. Find scholars, editors, friends, etc. to proofread. There is an error on the very first page of my dissertation that no one caught (me, my editor, my committee) How did the program impact your relationships (romantic, family, friendships, etc.)? I worked hard to not let it impact my relationships. I made sure to be present at events for my kids and get together with friends and family. I also didn't talk about my program and the fact that I was pursuing a doctorate. What tips do you have that might make it easier for mothers who are thinking about pursuing their doctorate? Give yourself grace and permission to walk away from the computer when your family needs you. Career Where are you in your career journey? I serve as the Vice President of Educator Initiatives at a national non-profit organization. I interact and work with educators and administrators at schools and districts around the country. As much as I wish this weren’t true, the Ph.D. after your name just carries more clout. What is the most important lesson you learned from your journey? I serve as the Vice President of Educator Initiatives at a national non-profit organization. I interact and work with educators and administrators at schools and districts around the country. As much as I wish this weren’t true, the Ph.D. after your name just carries more clout. What were your biggest struggles and how was Doctoral Mom Incorporated helpful to you? I'm only part of the Facebook Group.
Is there anything else you want us to know? Love this idea! I didn't find the Facebook group until a few weeks after I defended. I wish I would have found it sooner. It helps to have a community of people that are in the same journey as you.