Mess, deadlines and guilt! It’s never easy being a mom trying to juggle a full-time job with a family life. Now add studying to the mix and you may think you’re one assignment away from a total nervous breakdown. Kids don’t exactly adhere to the course syllabi, now do they? We’d be lying if we said it’s a walk in the park. But the truth of the matter is, moms aren’t called super human for nothing. You can do it all, and your future and family will thank you for it!
In the meantime, there are many ways to lighten your load and make the juggling game easier [and more fun!].
Here are 10 Practical Ways to Balance Studying, Kids and Work:
1. Choose a Flexible Study Program
Do your homework and look for a program that will let you speed up or slow down your pace, when necessary. Online and distance learning programs are one way and offer the most flexibility, but they also require you to be the most disciplined. Many on-site programs are designed specifically to the needs of working mothers. Furthermore, if you are working full time, you may want to consider a part time study course that will reduce your work load and give you the flexibility you desire. Lastly, remember to let your boss and lecturers know your situation so that they can be more lenient if needs be.
ELMI offers a wide range of part time programmes to suit your needs.
2. Create a Family Calendar
Record activities, work schedules, class hours and appointments in one place on a communal family calendar that everyone can access and read. Depending on the type of technological devices that your family uses, there are many calendar apps that can be downloaded with extensive to do lists and reminders. Alternatively, you could have one large printed calendar, where family members can write in their appointments and events. This will go a long way in avoiding forgotten appointments, schedule conflicts, and the inability to make plans for family time or date nights.
3. Cook and Freeze Meals on Weekends
Yes, we’d all like to come home and whip up a fresh meal ala Martha Stewart. But, the reality is you probably do not always have time, or the energy to do so. A great solution is to cook and freeze meals on the weekend to be thawed. This meal prep will be a total lifesaver during frantic weeks and prevent the quick takeaway run to Mcdonalds! You can also create a snack station at home, where you supply healthy snacks for your kids to grab when the late afternoon munchies set in.
4. Create Kids Chore Incentives
A great way to teach kids about money, responsibility and relieve you of household tasks, is to come up with chore incentives. Decide on a bunch of different tasks and attach a monetary value to them. This will give your children a reward for hard work, instead of just freely giving away spending money. It will also encourage them to save, teach them how to look after a household and how to be responsible.
5. Maximize Your Mommy-Brain Power
This may seem like a no brainer, but it’s often swept to the side amongst the projects and playdates. Keeping your energy levels up and making time for some ‘mommy me time’ is vitally important in the balancing act. If you are emotionally drained and physically exhausted, you cannot study and work effectively, and be fully there for your family. This means a healthy breakfast, daily physical activity [even if it’s just a few stretches] and going to bed at a reasonable hour! If you used to go for regular messages or hair appointments, schedule them in. And whatever you do, make time for you closest friends. They will help you unload and unwind.
6. Hire a Cleaning Service
If you can afford to do so, hiring a cleaning service or employing a maid once or twice a week, can be the difference between a mucky floor and a sparkling kitchen. Tasks like mopping the floor and dusting the cupboards often fall by the wayside. If you consider it as a business decision that saves you time, then it won’t seem like such an added luxury.
7. Use Campus Services and Facilities
Struggling with assignments until late at night? Don’t waste time trying to figure things out on your own. There are many convenient and helpful services and facilities on campus that will help you complete your work load in a fraction of the time. Furthermore, befriend the eager beaver or ‘teacher’s pet’ in class. They will often be more than willing to gather notes for you when you are unable to or explain a complicate concept after hours.
8. Bring Your Textbooks Everywhere
Doctors room, pick up line at school or queue at the bank? Think temporary study station. Bring your textbooks everywhere and anywhere. These opportunities to quickly and quietly review your work all add up in the end and can reduce after hour studying time by half.
9. Develop a Support System
Rally the troops. Grannies, grandpas, in laws, aunts and uncles, nieces and best friends. Whoever is willing and able help you out with the kids and chores. Even if it’s just once a month. You can even schedule in certain days for different people. Don’t be afraid to ask. You’d be surprised how many people will be more than happy to help you. In the end, isn’t that what families are for?
10. Remember, this is Temporary
Lastly, but importantly, remember that this too shall pass. When you feel like you’re juggling 30 balls at once, remember that this is only temporary, and yes, you will get through it. On the other side is a bright future filled with opportunities, career advancement and financial stability. And of course, a lifetime of bragging rights as a supermom supreme!