By Leanne Goodall
A few weeks ago I sat down to write a piece on juggling your time as a working, student Mum but as I began to think about it I realised that it was something I hadn’t yet conquered. Well, that was until recently when I stumbled upon the secret.
Grabbing Study Minutes
If you’ve found yourself attempting to write a TMA with the kids laughing, jumping and giggling in the same room then you’re not alone, I’ve been there. If you’ve found yourself grabbing spare minutes here and there to read another page of your course books, well, I’ve been there too. In fact, I’ve done that in the hairdressers, in car parks, outside the school gates and even whilst cooking. Grabbing those minutes can be essential and literally make the difference to getting some of it done or not. Sometimes if I don’t grab extra study minutes here and there then it means I need to find another whole hour of ‘free’ time in order to get the same bits done. Don’t get me wrong, it’s best to find that hour but sometimes that’s mission impossible.
As I write this piece, I’m also attempting to provide entertainment to our three boys, I’m sorting out their disputes and I’m dealing with two loads of washing but I’ve been known to attempt far more than this at one time. It’s not because I enjoy juggling everything at once or because I think it’s OK to do so. It’s because, as a working Mum who also studies, it’s just what I have to do. I can’t give up my work; we don’t have that luxury as an option. Of course, I could give up my studies, which would free up some time. But why should I? I deserve to have that opportunity as much as anyone else and I want it.
Of course, we can’t have it all. We can try but lines become blurred and although we become quite good at juggling everything (& sometimes it really does feel like everything) it almost always catches up with us in the end. Recently I felt like a machine. Not a powerful one, just one that didn’t stop.
I had additional pressures from work and I’d found my limit I knew that I didn’t have time for anything else in my life. I could take on no more. So I just stopped. Not that I believed I had time to stop, I just had to. I took some time out. I booked a week off work and a week off my studies. I was craving nothing more than typical wife and mummy duties. I needed family time badly, so that’s exactly what we did.
Fast forward a week and that’s when it all slotted into place. I’ve now worked out how to juggle being a working, student Mum. Our juggling skills sometimes take us towards the league of superhuman but the reality is actually that we’re not. The more we take on, the more clouded our judgement and performance becomes. We need time out too. That is time for ourselves to do whatever it is that makes us happy. For me, it was simple family time. So if you’re wondering what the secret to juggling work, study and motherhood is, it’s a simple one.
Find time for YOU.
Leanne is half way through a BA (Hons) in History with the OU and enjoys writing as a freelancer as well as on her blog. Find out more here. You can catch up on all of Leanne’s excellent contributions on STOU here.
Does this sound familiar to you? Have you had a different experience? We’d love to hear your thoughts or any tips that you can offer to other students! Feel free to leave a comment below or a LIKE/TWEET/SHARE across our social media platforms.