As you may recall, I went back to work last year – starting off with some relief teaching days and moving up to a term-long contract. This year, I’ll be doing two days per week.
On top of that, I also study a masters degree part time by distance and I parent.
People are shocked when I tell them, they hold this up as if it’s the high watermark of all achievement.
It really is not.
The other thing people do is ask how I do it?
I wish I had great advice, but all I can offer is that no matter which way you pitch it, it’s going to be hard. That is my best stroke of wisdom. Other than that, I only have a few other gems that have gotten me this far.
Just do it.
I was weeks from falling pregnant when I started this degree, my wedding was coming up, I was working full-time and I was still writing my book. Adding one more thing to my plate seemed to be the most fool-hardy, daunting thing ever – and yet, I knew that my 40-year-old self would thank me for starting when I did.
There is never a ‘right time.’ Life is always busy, chaotic, and full.
If you want it, just go for it.
Don’t sacrifice baby-time for study time.
I rarely study when he’s awake, unless we’ve spent a lot of time together and he’s entertaining himself for 20 minutes. I like to be present with him in the moment, playing, commentating, reading story books, singing… the study can wait until nap-time, bed-time, or before he wakes up in the morning. It’s all in fits and starts, but that brings me to my next point…
Just do a little every day.
Just a little.
If you have a 3000 word essay due in 30 days, you only need to be writing 100 words a day to make it happen. Don’t procrastinate. A little here and a little there all adds up.
Take the textbook everywhere with you.
You never know when you’ll get 5 minutes to squeeze in the next few pages. When Soren was really little, I used to read the textbooks to him at the coffee shop. It would put him to sleep. He’s old enough to be bored to tears now, though, so I don’t do that anymore!
Surround yourself with encouragers or other Mums who study – or connect with other Mums who have walked your path and made it to the end
They can be hard to find, but they are out there.
Of all the ways I have made this work for me, this last point has to be the most important…
Study something you love.
Completing study when you have a baby is already going to be hard. Don’t make it harder by studying something out of obligation, or studying something you’re only half-interested in. I definitely owe a lot of my success so far to the fact that I’m studying something I absolutely live for, which will give me the opportunity to do a job I enjoy in the future.
Then, it isn’t a chore to read page after page after page after page after page (yes… there is a lot of reading at masters level..)
I know my ‘wisdom’ isn’t much, but I hope it offers some encouragement.
You can do the thing!