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Countdown to Mother's Day: Day Seventeen Kristian Gibson-Ford

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 we have the honor of introducing Kristian Gibson-Ford. Kristian is a mother of two and her area of study is behavior health at the Freed-Hardeman University.

Motherhood What advice would you give to new mothers? Take your time and understand that and you don't always have to be supermom all of the time or perfect. What’s your favorite part of being a mother? Can you give us a specific example? Seeing my children become their own people as they get older. I have a five-year-old and a nineteen-year-old who has autism. They are very different and that is amazing. I love that they change and grow at each stage of their development as they become more independent. How did you manage juggling the different aspects of motherhood while working and pursuing your doctorate? I do not believe I could not do going anything without my support system like my husband, in-laws, siblings, and my father. Walk us through your daily schedule. I wake up and get my daughter up and take her to school, I then work my newly formed private practice and see clients between 6-9 hours a day. I work with clients who deal with depression, anxiety, stress, and other major mental health issues. In between my clients I work on building my business up. I then get my son up and ready for work (if I am working from home). I am also taking two classes during the week which is live virtually for 3 hours in the evening. Some days I am working on papers or doing research. I am also helping my husband build his photography business up by getting a hold of potential clients or going on photoshoots with him. I also cook dinner and play with our daughter. We watch some television and then help to put our daughter to bed. Our son comes home, and we talk as well about his day. I also try to clean up the house in between clients. Doctoral Program What was the most challenging part about starting your doctorate? Having to split my time with being a mother, a wife, an entrepreneur/therapist (following God's calling), and going back to school. How did you choose your advisor and/or committee? I haven't started that process just yet.... it’s coming fast though. What is/was your dissertation topic? It will be on A Holistic Mental Health and Wellness Approach to Treating Comorbidities (not finalized but working with those with a comorbidity with health and mental health like bipolar disorder and diabetes) What is the most difficult part of the dissertation process? I'm not there yet...but soon will be. If you could do something over, what would it be? Get my business up and running before leaping into my doctorate program at the same time. How did the program impact your relationships (romantic, family, friendships, etc.)? It causes stress at times because my husband picks up a lot of the slack. He ends up playing with my daughter more than I do because I am so tired. What friends? I don't have a lot of friends to begin with, but that is not my priority right now. What tips do you have that might make it easier for mothers who are thinking about pursuing their doctorate? Take your time as this is a marathon and not a sprint. Do not sacrifice your family and supports for a title, it will come and when it does it will be that much better because you have the people you love supporting you. Career Where are you in your career journey? I have worked in my social work field for over 15 years. I started my doctorate program last year. I am now starting my own private practice and moving into creating a health and wellness center that will help those of all ages. What were your biggest struggles and how was Doctoral Mom Incorporated helpful to you? The support has been tremendous as sometimes you feel like you are stretched too thin and cannot keep going on. I love seeing that people are finishing, and it gives me more hope to complete my program. Is there anything else you want us to know? I have been through a lot over the past few years including being a Stage 2 Breast Cancer survivor and having my daughter 2 months early due to having severe pre-eclampsia. I have dealt with poverty in my life, and having a mother die due to cancer.

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