Returning to university or pursing distance education in adulthood can be quite the endeavor. In 2018 about 7.6 million students were over 25. Considering you have children to look after, everyone from your family to friends asked you to think twice but you stuck to your decision. Firstly, good on you! We all have different goals in life and just because you are a mother, it does not mean your life has to just revolve around them.
It’s not easy to study while parenting. On one hand, you have your children, their education and schedule to manage and on the other hand, you have your academics to look after – something that you’re so passionate about.
It will be a difficult ride but it’s certainly not impossible. Here are 6 ways you can strike the balance between studying and being a good parent.
Be an Early Riser
Early mornings are blissful. It’s the only time of the day when your family is still asleep, the house is ever so peaceful, and you are sure to not be interrupted by calls or messages. The world is still asleep, and you get to start your day in pure serenity. So, why not make use of this time and wake up early to study?
By being an early riser and devoting that little extra time in the morning to studying, you will realize you are able to be your productive best throughout the day. You don’t have to rush into things and you thereby remain much calmer and energized to carry on with your daily routine.
Keep a Schedule
You might think you can just approach your days with no plans and schedules and rely on your ‘mental notes’ but what happens when you forget to attend to your child’s sports fest or when you miss an important deadline? These things will happen because there is only so much you can remember. Adding studying is a bit like juggling a work at home mom schedule.
Moreover, with the number of tasks and people you are managing, it makes better sense to organize your day and have a schedule. Write down your tasks for the day and get on with them. This also helps you prioritize better, be more productive and less stressed.
Ask for Help
You are not a superwoman, and nor do you have to be. Every time you feel overburdened or burnt out, reach out to someone who can help like your partner, family or even friends. You cannot be everywhere so basis your priorities for the day, seek external support to make life easier for yourself.
The same applies to your academics. Have an important project to submit and a parent-teacher meeting to attend? Don’t hesitate in getting some writing help with your project.
So, stop trying to kill yourself over these things – form a strong support system and reach out to them in times of need! That is what loved ones are for, aren’t they?
Your child has assignments to complete and tests to study for and so do you. Why not combine the two and study together?
Not only do you end up making good use of that time, but it also motivates your child to get down to studying and finishing his/her assignments. However, in such a scenario, do be prepared to be interrupted because your child might need help or have queries which need to be resolved along the way. So, plan smartly, keep some ‘light studying’ for this time and kill two birds with one stone
Get Rid of Guilt
Being a full-time parent who is getting back to studying can take its toll on your mental health too. Chances are you spend a lot of time feeling guilty and wondering if you have made the right decision. You ask yourself if what you’re doing is worth it and if you should go back to being a ‘normal’ parent and give your full attention to your children instead.
Well, stop feeling guilty. Sometimes it’s important to put your needs first and assess what you want. You can have a career and be a good parent so this time you are investing in earning a degree is absolutely worth it if it is going to make you happy. Don’t waste mental energy on second-guessing your decisions because while being a parent is great, you cannot lose touch of your individuality in the process.
Relax and Unwind
From preparing for an exam to teaching your children – how much time are you putting aside to relax and unwind? Everybody needs that little time to themselves such that they can get refreshed and revitalized.
Yes, your to-do list is endless but that does not mean you overlook your physical and mental wellbeing and reach a stage of exhaustion. This will just make you crabby and irritable. So, make sure you find things to do for relaxation because sometimes doing nothing is also very important.