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Tips for Working Mums Who Study

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 28 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Study Kids Mums Time Juggle Partner

Everyone knows how difficult it can be to juggle a career and family. But for working mums who also study, life can become even more difficult.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. You can set goals – and you can be left with a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day. With a little forethought and planning and a lot of organisation, getting your life on track doesn’t have to be all that difficult.

Get Organised

The first thing to do is get organised. Many working mums find that making lists are helpful – they aid in prioritising what needs to be done, and puts things in the right perspective. Crossing items off a list is also fulfilling, as it lets you see how far you’ve come.

Getting organised the night before is also important. Don’t let mornings become a mad rush that can put you off the rest of the day. Complete your reading, iron your own clothes, and even prepare your lunch beforehand. If all you have to worry about first thing is a quick shower and the kids, then half the battle is won.

Finally, set aside study time where you are not disturbed. It could be that peaceful hour before the kids wake up, or it could be in the evenings when they’re still asleep. An hour might not seem like much, but it all adds up. If you’re lucky, you might be able to increase that hour to an hour and half – and so on.

Ask for Help

Playing the role of Superwoman isn’t fun, and it has the possibility to backfire on you – and the kids. Don’t think you can do everything on your own, as you just can’t. If you have a partner who’s willing to help, make the most if it. If not, ask friends and family.

Keep in mind that studying is not usually a 365-day affair. There are times when you are on holiday, there are often weeks and weeks between semesters, and during the summer you might have months off.

Console yourself that you can help friends when you have free time, in effect paying them back for their kindness with a kindness of your own.

Give the Kids Special Attention

Children often feel neglected, whether they really are neglected or not. When you’re ultra-busy, it can be easy to forget about spending quality time with your kids. And making them dinner, giving them a bath or helping them with their homework doesn’t really count.

Try to make time to take your kids out to a special meal, visit the cinema or go to the zoo. It needn’t cost the earth: even a walk in the park to feed the ducks is a special treat for a little one. Remember, they’ll be more likely to allow you some time on your own if you give them some quality time with you.

Make Time for Yourself

You might feel as if you are constantly being pulled in 1,000 different directions, but don’t forget the one person who is the glue that holds everything together: you. The old saying is true: If Mum isn’t happy, then nobody is. Ignoring your own needs is a recipe for disaster – or at least Mummy Meltdown.

Take time out of your busy schedule – at least occasionally – to give yourself a break. Spend a few hours shopping, see a film with a friend, go out for drinks with the girls, go on a date with your man.

All work and no play makes Jane a dull girl, but having the chance to recharge your batteries can make all the difference in the world.

Make the Most of Your Studying

During those precious hours you are free to catch up on your reading or work on that essay, make the most of it. Follow these tips:

  • Find one place to study where you won’t be disturbed - a desk in your bedroom is a safe bet. Turn off your mobile phone and the telly and make sure the kids are occupied.
  • Make a study schedule. Try to study for at least an hour – EVERY DAY. Stick to it.
  • Look over lecture notes before you start to concentrate your mind and stick better to the task at hand.
  • Prioritise. Don’t waste time on the unimportant items when pressing work might be waiting.
  • Avoid being a perfectionist. Striving for perfection means you’ll get only a few things done, or you’ll be too stressed to deal with the rest of your life.
Working mums find it hard to juggle kids and jobs, and when you are studying the burden gets even harder. But if you have the right attitude and the right organisational skills, you CAN do it!

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