Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Studying and Parenting: It's Possible, But How?

Picture by Pixabay

The idea of going back to school to build on your knowledge has been pestering you recently. To the point, you can no longer think of a reason why you shouldn't set yourself up to go back. There is a lot of talk and pressure put on young people to get their education while they're young and free and for obvious reasons. A lot of younger people don't have any responsibilities. The roof over their heads, and the food on the table is paid for. They can focus on one thing - their books. And still have ample time left over to explore their other interests and have fun in between. 

Compare this to a moms/dads life, and it's a whole different ball game. Your life is completely different. You're not only looking after yourself but tiny being(s) too. Maybe you're a single mom, and/or perhaps you have a home, a car, and a cat to take care of too. The point to make here is, you're not as free as you once were. And so jumping back into studying an MS MIS degree at the University of Alabama Birmingham can't be achieved on a whim. It takes time and planning, but it's absolutely possible. Think about the skills you've adapted while being a mom, you are the multitasking machine, battling to-do lists and keeping your babies alive, well and happy. It's not a question of whether you can do it! It's a question of how you will do it.

Passion And Your Reasons

Will the course that you are thinking about be enough to propel you to compartmentalize your life? Is it enough to draw you away from your babies for a little while each day? Is it something you think about a lot, or have been aching to start for years? Passion is what fuels motivation in people to do things against the odds. When things get tough, your desire to study a particular subject is what will help keep you going. But it's not just your love for the course that's important. It's why you are doing it. Establishing your why(s) is something you should do to remind you; why you began the course you chose, whether to study how to fight cyber crime, to start a successful blog, or to become a vet. Why you'll complete it and why you'll put in your best effort every day. Is it to provide a better life for your family? To prove something to yourself? Or to start a career you've always dreamed of doing? Because, when you are thinking of going back to college or university, the opportunity for a bigger payout at the end of your studies isn't always enough. You need more substance, as this is what will give you momentum and willpower to do the course do it well, and do it against the odds.

Plan Ahead - For Everything!

You might have a calendar set up with all your essential bill dates, birthdays, social events already, but for the sake of your studies, you need to step it up a little. The whole premise behind this being, mental notes are not enough for you to remember every important thing that's going on. Your to do's for the weeks ahead should not only be on your calendar at home, but they should also be on your phone too so that you can access them wherever you go. Keeping tabs like this will help keep you one step ahead of your study life and parenting life. For example, if you can see in December you'll have an extensive revision/exam period, you could preempt this by starting to buy and wrap presents away late summer to autumn in preparation for Christmas time. Planning ahead in advance will relieve you of any unnecessary stress when your December exams come along.

You Time

Picture by Kaique

You're already well aware of how important it is for you to spend time on yourself while parenting alone. And when you're studying your time should in no way be sacrificed or replaced! You should keep your self-care regime whether you attend the gym, coffee chats with your girlfriends every other week, or a pedicure at the local salon. Caring for yourself will allow you to better juggle the strain both parenting and studying will add to your life. Maybe your finances will be slimmer because you'll be investing in your studies, and you may have to cut out a few expensive treats. But that's okay, you can just swap them for cheaper or even free alternatives. For instance, you don't need to buy your fiction books brand new, you could head to the local Goodwill store and source some new reading material for a fraction of the cost. Maybe you won't be able to afford your facials and manicures, but you could buy some face masks from the drug store and pamper yourself at home. Studying and parenting is much more feasible as long as you find time for you.

Ask For Help

Thinking you can do everything alone while you're parenting and studying will lead you on a one-way track to a breakdown. It may sound harsh, but it's true. You need help, in fact, everyone needs help when they’re studying and parenting! There are billions of people in the world, you just need to reach out to some of them. Some will be your family, others your friends and some you can pay for to take the load off your juggling act. And so, ask for help with childcare from your family.  Ask your children to muck in with the housework and assign them chores. Or book in a cleaner to help you keep on top of the housework. All of this should be set up and ready before you begin your studies so that you can tackle your learning with ease.

The theme remains the same for all parents who are hoping to dip back into education and can even be applied to other areas like starting a business or heading back to work. Forward planning, asking for help, and always creating time for you are the ingredients you will need to be successful in your multidimensional life.