Studying online can be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, and even more so when you have a family to juggle as well. There are constant deadlines to meet, daily requirements for reading and participating in discussion boards and studying for upcoming exams; all without the help of peers or professors to motivate you. When you add to this the full-time commitment of being a mother and caring for your family, the mere thought of enrolling in study can be enough to put you off completely.
All hope shouldn’t be lost, though. Many mothers will tell you they successfully completed their studies with children in tow and didn’t lose their mind in the process. With a few smart tips, you can share your time between family and study without spreading yourself too thin, so you can move onwards and upwards to your next goal.
Set A Daily Study Time
To ensure you stick to your study schedule, you should have a set time every day when you put everything aside and get into it. It might be ideal to talk to your partner about a time where they could take the kids for an hour. If that’s not a possibility, it may mean waking early or staying up late to study. While it’s probably ideal to choose a quiet time when your mind is still relatively lucid, we know that it might not always be possible when you’re a mother.
One of the biggest time thieves we have as mothers is preparing food. Between the nutritious breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks we make ourselves and our family throughout the week, it’s no wonder it takes up so much of our time.
Sometimes spending just a couple of hours on the weekend preparing some meals can make a huge difference to your free time throughout the week. Try cooking up a couple of large batches of meals that can freeze and reheat easily, such as spaghetti Bolognese or lasagna, and then heat them up and serve with a salad for a healthy meal that takes less than five minutes.
Although your goal might be to get through your study, you won’t be able to give it your best effort if your self-care is failing. Dividing your time between family and study might sound possible, but you need to save a piece of the pie for yourself too. Don’t spend all of your spare time studying if you think you need to have a time out, a nap, or just to watch some trashy TV to let your mind have a break.
Have Your Own Space
If you’ve ever tried concentrate on something serious while you’re sitting in between a bunch screaming kids, you’ll know just how difficult it is. Studying requires all of our mental focus, and so you need to have a study space that doesn’t let in any of those interruptions. Not every home will have space for you to have your own office, so consider taking your laptop to study in bed or going to a quiet café with free Wi-Fi to get your work done.
Use Childcare When Possible
Although it might not be a possibility for all families, if you can utilise some form of childcare then you should. Many mums feel guilty about using childcare for study as they think they should just be able to fit it in while their children take naps, but this is just as important and time-consuming as a job. If you’re unable to pay for a childcare centre, you might consider just a few hours a week at a family day care service or sharing child caring duties with another mum. This can work especially well if you know another stay-at-home mother who studies, as she might find herself in the same predicament.
Think of The End Goal
There may be some sacrifices you’ll have to make while you’re studying, but try to remind yourself it’s not forever. Your time will free up again from study, your children will grow more independent when they’re older, and you’ll hopefully find employment in your dream career field that gives you flexibility.
Provided you don’t burn yourself out trying to juggle study and family life, this is something you can do in the short term that will change you and your family’s life for the better.
Always have your long term goal in mind, and it might just give you that push you need when you lack motivation. If you’re looking for more helpful tips on juggling family life, we invite you to explore the other posts here, and return as often as you like.