Dr. Lucash's essay on the challenges of re-entering academia after being a stay-at-home mother

Melissa Lucash, PhD
Research Assistant Professor
Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, USA
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     Being a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) for five years has left an indelible mark on my career. When I got pregnant during the fourth year of my PhD, my husband and I played “Who gets the best job first?” I lost and we moved from Syracuse, NY to Portland, OR. As a pregnant woman alone in a new city, I worked on my dissertation each day at the grocery store, befriending the local retired men’s group. I defended my dissertation when my daughter was nine months old. As she grew, I was a SAHM by day, but two nights a week I pretended I was a scientist again and worked on my dissertation publications. My friends thought I was crazy to spend my precious free time working on papers. But I knew I didn’t want to be a SAHM forever and needed to keep publishing. Even after my second daughter was born, I continued to write each night at the glacial pace of an exhausted mother who slept in two-hour increments every night.

Read my full essay here: