I’m doing this crazy thing where I’m going back to school with babies.
Because the 7 years it took me to earn my Bachelors of Arts (Environmental Studies) wasn’t enough education. I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. Honestly, not digging this whole mom thing. The last job I had, I loved. However, that job was a student position that no longer exists. In the pursuit of “what do I do with my life,” I find myself in this place of needing more education. I’m not much of a self-starter, and before I graduated, I knew I would need more upgrading and education to get anywhere with anything. Being a student mom studying with little kids is tough, but others do it all the time.
So, here I am, trying to figure out what I want to do and stay sane. Somehow, I stumbled upon Public Relations, and I’m now working on my certification with Ryerson University via Distance Education. This short little program offers me the ability to take one or two classes at a time, at home, with the guided support of a structured learning environment. It’s nothing crazy like full-time coursework. Even just one extra class (or two this semester) makes life a little more complicated with two littles running around.
Truthfully the biggest reason I’ve gone back to school as student mom is paying $700 a semester to learn something helps keep me sane. There’s the added bonus that maybe this will pan out and I’ll land an awesome part-time work at home job where I can set my own hours around my husband’s unpredictable work life. I’m most grateful to be able to put my mind to work on something other than motherhood. Motherhood doesn’t define me. I am more than just a mom.
Getting Homework done with Babies.
The thing about homework versus blogging is homework takes a much bigger portion of my brains limited functioning to accomplish than blogging. At least in my experience. While I often get the day-to-day mundane tasks of blogging done while caring for my littles, the task of school work is more daunting. Both of these tasks are internet based on my own time, but getting classwork done was the toughest. The biggest pressures for me were deadlines: Quizzes & Exams, Group Projects, Individual Projects, Communication Board, and Weekly Lecture Seminars. Pressing, and ever quick, deadlines made school an ever-present priority that really couldn’t be pushed off until tomorrow, or next week.
I would love to tell you I got it all done during nap time or bedtime, but let’s be real. I have two kids who are less than two years apart. Naptimes rarely if ever coincide with each other. If they did, I was usually in shock and took advantage of that time to do housework, or just be. Not every free moment you get needs to be consumed with studying. It’s not healthy. I struggle with studying in the night, it’s just not the right mojo for my brain. I prefer the daytime, so I often used these techniques below to get it done.
8 Tips for Studying with Babies
- Don’t Put it Off: I can guarantee you the little people in your life will need 176% of your energy the night before your final project is due, or the morning of your quiz. Conveniently my children were extremely clingy and sick the days leading up to my final project last semester. Do your assignments as soon as you can.
- Child-Focused Time: If I need to study, I set aside 2-3 hours to play outside with the kids. This helps burn off their energy. The focused 1:1 time (even if its a playgroup or Hike it Baby event) gave me less mom guilt when I turned on the Paw Patrol later that morning. It also resulted in better-behaved kids who actually slept.
- Swap Childcare: You aren’t the only one trying to do way too much at once. There are others, and if you can find someone you trust with equally crazy children, even better. I know a wonderful twin mama who does way too much, and we swap kids once a week (or as we can) for a couple hours. Swapping kids is amazing.
- Kids are happy to have friends over to play.
- Kids play and are tired after friends leave = sleep. #notagaurantee
- Embrace Technology: I know screens are evil, but Paw Patrol is the only reason I was able to sometimes watch my online lecture at 4:30 pm on a Tuesday.
- New Arts, Crafts & New Toys: Planning activities is not my fortay as a mother. I’m definitely one to take the shortcut in life, but nothing beats a new activity to entertain your child for at least ten minutes of quiet. I’ll admit, I was seldom creative, but stickers, markers, and construction paper got me far in life. Don’t’ forget about the magic of playdoh, bathtime, and toy rotations.
- Read to your Kids: Sometimes, the best way to get thru your textbook is a good snuggle and story. Some chapters might be a little dry, but some are great. Try this trick next time you need to polish off a chapter, but you’re stuck with the kids.
- Ditch with Dad: Or whoever else you have in your life you can trust. I know this is a tough one, there are few people I trust with my kids, or I feel comfortable having my kids terrorize. But, when the chance presents itself take it and run. Its tough when Dad is home for a couple of hours at a time, but really, its the only way the project is getting done. And yes, I hired a babysitter on more than one occasion to come watch the kids while I studied. This semester, my toddler is going to Preschool.
- C’s Get Degrees: Be easy on yourself and only do what you need to do. Previously, I strived to be the best. I’m a member of Golden Key, and I achieved a grade point average of 3.7 (out of 4) across my university career. However, with two kids in tow getting everything done all the time is only going to wear me down. I often skipped out of weekly discussion board topics and even skipped a quiz. I let go of my need to research endlessly for my class projects. It was also okay if I didn’t make flash cards for my final exam. My final score was 82/100. Student Bailey would have been less than impressed, but Mom Bailey, she’s rocking it.
Truth be told this 100 level course was easy peasy. Chances are if you’re taking something more difficult, you might need some better strategies. There were some challenging moments, but nothing like the upper-level challenges of developing your own ideas. I rocked this course, and can’t wait to try another semester. Here’s to finishing my degree in Public Relations before my kids start Kindergarten!
If you have a story to share about studying with little kids, I would love to hear.
As my kids get older, I get more anxious about how to keep them happy and entertained.