Raising kids at the same time as trying to study is a real balancing act but at the same time it’s very, very rewarding and you will not regret it.
Studying requires your attention not just when you’re out at a class, and the kids are at school, but afterward when you need to read or write an essay while the kids are home and also demanding your attention.
One of the best options for study when either trying to juggle being a full-time Mom or trying to hold down a job as well is to opt for online study. Many of the options are part-time and can be done from the comfort of your own home and around your family.
Looking after your kids is time-consuming, with the school-run, feeds, swimming lessons, music practice, you probably never feel like you get a minute to yourself, so don’t go into studying lightly, it’s not an easy thing to do, and you’ll need to commit fully. If you don’t feel ready to do it yet, then hang on, there’s always the time when the kids are a little older.
However, if you plan and you want it, then it’s possible to fit in study times as well and get the qualification you want. Then when you’re ready, and the kids are capable of doing things for themselves then you get back into work.
So, how can you do it? With so much going on, here are a few helpful tips that will show you how doable it is.
Make clever use of time
Make sure you make use of the time when you’re waiting around for the kids. Whether it’s when you’re picking them up from school, while they’re at their swimming lessons or dance practice or even while they’re at birthday parties at the weekend. Let the other moms know that you’re studying, and then you won’t feel the need to get involved with the small talk. Take the time for yourself and get your head down. Also, when the kids are asleep – yes, you’ll want to sleep too, but make the most of the quiet time. It will be worth it in the end. Set aside evening times to study and once you’ve got into the habit of it, it won’t be such a struggle. Evenings will be your time and probably the most peaceful time you’ll get – as long as the little ones aren’t getting up wanting drinks or saying they can’t sleep.
Forget the guilt
Don’t feel guilty about doing something for yourself. If you’re feeling bad on the kids for wanting to study and knowing that you’ll have less time for them, then you’ll most likely talk yourself out of it. There’ll be other mums studying with you too, and your kids are resilient – they will be fine! The kids will thank you for it one day, and they’ll be so proud of you too. Feeling guilty won’t help anyone, and it certainly won’t help you concentrate, so let go of the guilt, remember why you’re doing it and get on with it.
Get Yourself Organised
As you already know, children are so unpredictable, so at least knowing that can help you to be prepared for the unexpected. You can have ideas and plans in your head that you’ll little one will sit there doing some coloring while you get some study in, but more than likely that will not happen – although if it does, make the most of it! However, don’t rely on that, instead some careful planning, leaving early to get parking spaces and beat traffic, making use of the time sat in the car, making lunches the night before, ironing the night before, even packing the car the night before – as well as everything else, then you’ll be fine.
Talk to Your Teachers and Lecturers
If you’re studying online or in the classroom, either way, speak to your tutors. Many of them will be parents and know exactly what you’re going through. They will know how tough it is to juggle studying with raising a family and they will most likely be very understanding of your situation. Any decent tutors will want you to succeed, and so they will help you out where they can. Remember, you will not be the first parent trying to study as well, and you most certainly won’t be the last.
Ask for help
Support is so necessary, and you’ll need it from your partner, parents, friends, and family – whatever support network you have around you, make sure you use it. If it’s for drop-offs, help around the house, or even better helping you to relax and take your mind off things, then you’ll need it. Do not be afraid to ask for help – and not just to help you manage the family, but the studying as well. If you’ve been out of education for a while, there could well be technology, software, formats, and processes that you’re unfamiliar with, so ask. People don’t expect you to know everything, so ask if you need help or something explaining. No one will think any less of you, and again, you’ll be surprised how many others are in the same boat.
Some days, life is just going to be overwhelming, so to help you cope and manage your sanity as well, note down your priorities, only the top three things for the day and if you can’t do anything else that day, make sure you do those.
Consider Online Learning
As mentioned before, online learning is an excellent option for Moms wanting to study. Learning online makes it easier to connect with other students online who are going through the same thing. Online learning offers so much more choice and variety of courses as you can enroll in somewhere the other side of the world, plus some universities are based solely online now like the Southern Cross University online meaning there is even more choice than ever. Then there’s the flexibility, being able to work from the comfort of your own home or wherever you find the most comfortable.
Don’t leave work until the last minute
It sounds easier than it is, but studying when you’re trying to manage a family is a very different ball game to when you were younger and could pull all-nighters if you had your assignment until the last minute. When your deadline might seem far away, and you think you have loads of time, it will quickly creep up on you, and life will get in the way, so do it when you can and try and get ahead of yourself. You will thank yourself for it. Have a close look at the family planner at the start of every week, and slot in the most sensible and realistic times for you to study, so that you meet your deadlines. Emergencies will arise, but if you have a plan, you’ll be able to work around them.
Enjoy making new friends
Making friends with people on your course is great as these people will understand what you’re going through. While it’s just more people to try and fit into your busy schedule, they will be instrumental people to have in your life whiles you’re studying so don’t turn your nose up at it.
Make sure you take some time out and enjoy yourself too. Weekends, days in between classes, holidays are all an opportunity to switch off and relax. If you don’t take this time, then you’ll burn out.