Be honest with the time you have
We all have 24 hours in a day, but when you are a full-time mom, the numbers get a little bit different. As much as I’d like, I can’t afford to pull up an all-night study session even if I feel energyzed and ready to conquer those books. I have to be a fully functional human being at 9 a.m. when my twin toddlers wake up.
So, at the very least I need to get 7 hours of sleep, to take care of my family safely. Most of the time less than that is not enough to go through the day, 7 hours of sleep should be a minimum with the exception that somedays you’ll get more or less sleep.
Take note of each activity you do in a regular day, actually take a pen and paper to write this down, you might be surprised to find (hopefully) more time than you expected.
This is what my exercise doing this looked like:
I realized the consistent spare time I had was at their afternoon nap 60-90 minutes and after they were asleep until I have to go to bed around 4 hours.
This is what works for me, some people prefer to wake up earlier and study before the sunrise. I used to be like that, until motherhood hit me, now I can’t wake up at 3 a.m. and study anymore, my eyes are just too heavy to stay awake even if I went to bed earlier and I’d gotten enough sleep.
That leaves me with 5 – 5 1/2 hours to study or work on my projects like writing or creating digital products.
Time blocking your spare time has never been more important
I only have around 5 to 7 hours of spare time, when I can focus on my studies and personal projects because the kids are playing in a safe place at my sight, dad is taking care of them or they’re asleep.
The catch here is to determine which of these hours you’ve got would be more suitable for studying and which for other activities.
You have to make sure you’re fully rested and have energy to study when you set up a block of time for this. If you find it hard to wake up earlier than your kids to study just set a study time block on the middle of the day when they take their afternoon nap.
It’s again about being realistic with ourselves to avoid the frustration of not having the willpower to do these things like waking up early to study before the sun rises and having it all together.
Instead try to do some easy stuff like setting up a load of laundry or any kind of chore that doesn’t need much thought when you’re not at 100%.
Have your days themed
Idon’t know if this is a thing, I’ve only seen time blocking used as chuncks of time on a day that are destined to a single activity. Well, I time block my entire week, I have a block on wednesdays for laundry, on thursdays for folding, I cook twice a week a big meal, and my partner cooks on his day off.
I don’t mind eating the same for three days with a little spinoff I change the dressing so it’s not so boring for the kids, and my partner eats at his job, he works at a restaurant. My not-so creative cooking skills work for the twins and me.
I’ve even had days set for writing my blog posts and one for creating fresh pins and schedule them (every 10 days) having 3 scheduled pins per day.
Some days my creative release is focused on sewing or making hair bows for my small business and writing is set aside, I only have so much time in my hands, but you get the point.
A big mistake we make is trying to compare ourselves with others
There are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G women out there, that truly are able to keep a super organized life, have their careers on point, their family healthy and happy
A routine that works for you is the one that you can stick to most of the days without feeling drained, let’s be honest here, every day won’t be perfectly schedule, especially when there are people depending entirely on you, every family is different, this is why taking the exact routine of a super productive mom you follow on social media won’t make you as productive as her.
For me the first step to make a routine that truly worked for me and my family was to have a reality check and accept that I might not have as much time as I’d like to dedicate to school, and that’s okay, because it won’t be like this forever.
Toddlers grow, they’ll be going to kindergarden next year and I’ll have at least 3 more hours to spare. For now, I just enjoy watching them develop, and I accept the fact that being a full-time mom/housewife + student will take a hit on the less vital of my obligations which is school.
Be okay with it, but if there’s room for improvement do it. If you can spend even 30 more minutes studying instead of taking a 40 minutes long bath, take a quick shower and use the rest of the time to study.
Design your schedule on paper
Having your schedule on paper gives you a bird’s eye view of your week, and you’ll be less likely to miss a class or procrastinate on the important stuff you need to do.
While creating your schedule you’ve already defined when is your 99% safe time to study, when kids are asleep or maybe at school, whatever your situation is. These are the first blocks you want to designate study blocks. Then you have your classes, today April 9th 2021 we still have online classes only at my university, that block is pretty easy to create because I don’t need any more extra time to commute to uni, if you need to physically attend classes take that time into your block and make any babysitting considerations needed.
The remaining blocks of time you have to prioritize basic things like cleaning, cooking, also having a lunch / dinner time that is always at the same hour is the best way to avoid feeding struggles with the kids.
Consider everything, even the visits to the park and how long will them be, when you have your time planned is less likely you’ll waste it.
Create rituals to help your kids stick to the routine
Kids love routines, they make them feel safe, it is amazing how you can use this to your advantage to have the little ones dance at your rythm.
I have a sort of ritual for eating with my twins, we set their table, they take a seat and I bring them the food, they just turned 2 and they eat on their own, when they’re done they bring their bowls to the sink and help me clean up the mess.
We have rituals for our night and morning routines as well, you’ll learn day by day how to make them stick to the routine without having to put much effort into it.
I’m a medical student and mom of twins, I love to write and I’m sharing my journey in achieving my degree while raising happy kids.