Introduction Hi folks, After spending a few years in the army, I decided to go back to college and finish up my BS in Physics. As of the time of this writing, I've got about a year left before I graduate. I'm looking at different post-graduate options, including grad school (I'd like to get a Ph.D., teach at the university level, and do research -- I'm particularly interested in the experimental, rather than theoretical, side of things), employment, etc. Only caveat: I'm 26 and engaged to be married a month after I graduate next year. I'm older than most of my grad student TAs. When we get married, I'll be 27 and my soon-to-be wife will be 30. She's got her Masters in Education and is a high school math teacher. As mentioned above, I'd like to get a Ph.D., but need to balance grad school with the realities of family life: while the grad student stipend would help, money would still be tight (but doable) for both of us (as a math teacher, she doesn't get paid enough to be a "sugar mama" and we'd both like to avoid student loans and other debt). We've also discussed having kids in the next few years, which would fall into the time where I'd still be in graduate school. I'm finishing up my BS at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and she lives not far from Arizona State University and owns a nice place there, so I'd likely end up going to grad school at ASU unless something great pops up elsewhere. Surely I'm not the first person to be in such a position, and so I seek the advice of other members. Is it possible to successfully handle the rigors of graduate school and starting a new family? If so, any advice would be great. Option #1 My initial thought is based on the assumption (deduced from the pamphlets describing an average physics Ph.D. student's course of study found at the UofA's physics department's Academic Support office) that the first two (or so) years of graduate school consists of regularly-scheduled classes, while the remaining time (3-4 years) consists mostly of research. Would it be reasonable to assume that the classes are fairly inflexible as to when they're offered, but that research time is considerably more flexible? If so, does it seem reasonable that I would be able to (with the consent of my research advisor) schedule times when I'd be able to be in the lab doing research, so that my wife and I could work out a practical schedule at home to take care of an infant or two (e.g. she teaches in the mornings and early afternoon while I'm at home taking care of the kid and maybe doing some reading/writing, then we switch places and I head off to the lab for a few hours)? Assuming that this would be possible, we'd likely hold off on having kids until after the inflexible classes were done and I've have a bit more flexibility in research time. Option #2 The other major option would be for me to find suitable employment that would provide sufficient income (several of the contacts in my web of networking have indicated that medical physics, specifically using radiation to treat cancer, is in high-demand, pays well, and one can often find a position with a BS [though >=MS is preferred]) such that my wife and I could meet the normal household expenses as well as the expenses required to raise small children while being able to put sufficient money away to go to grad school in a few years (and live off the saved money/grad student stipend and the wife's income). Conclusion As mentioned above, I'm sure I'm not the only person to be in such a situation, and seek the advice and recommendations from others. I'm willing to put off some of my major goals (doctoral degree, research, teaching, etc.) for a few years if that's what's needed to start my family on the right track, but ultimately I'd like to pursue those goals. Ideally, I'd be able to pursue my goals while raising a family, but family must come first. I welcome any input, recommendations, or advice. Many thanks in advance!