As challenging as getting a degree can be, nothing is more demanding than a baby, when these 2 come together it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and think about leaving your career to focus on raising your kids.
But if you organize your time wisely and train your kids so they understand your study sessions your academic goals are reachable. It is possible to study and raise your kids, many women have done it, you wouldn’t be the first nor the last to do it.
Here I’ll show you simple tips you can implement in your daily routine to be able to study with your kids at home.
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1. Have your kids’ needs fulfilled first.
Let’s face it, if your toddler is bored he’ll come right away to your legs when you grab the books and pens, those boring stuff can’t get all of mommy’s attention!
So, make sure your babies are fed, clean, not tired, and have their favorite toys around to keep them entertained while you are up to your study sessions.
Also, you’ll have to study in small bricks of time, and give attention to your kids in the breaks. Talk to them and let them know that you’ll have to go back to study and will play with them again in a little while.
This could be a really good thing for both of you, they’ll later understand that you were studying, and it’s a beautiful example to give them.
2. Take advantage of Naptime
Ah, the sweet sound of toddlers’ dreams. You’ll have to use these moments of calm to get your best study performance, don’t dwell on planning what to study at this moment, don’t procrastinate “I’ll just check Instagram for 5 minutes” you know they won’t be 5 minutes.
Naptime is your moment to study without interruptions, if you can skip breaks or make them super short it’ll be better, maximize your productive time.
I used to take naptime to clean and thought I’d be able to study after cleaning, but guess what… You’ll always find something else to do!
And when you finally get to sit on the desk naptime is over, and they have energy for hours on!
3. Set a schedule and stick to it
As a student and as a mom having a steady routine is essential to achieve your academic goals and have your home in balance.
If you have a big test coming next month don’t wait until the last week to cram up on information! Study a little bit every day, get little study goals to come along the way, as a mom you can’t afford those cramming sessions of 12 hours straight of study!
Plan ahead all the topics you’ll need to cover and tackle each one at small study sessions through the day, it could be 90 minutes before the kids are awake, 60 minutes during naptime, and 90 minutes after they go to bed.
If you are consistent you’ll reach your desired results, play along with the time until you find the most convenient to your family dynamic.
4. Make it a habit
Kids love routines, this gives them a sense of safety, make sure they know exactly what to expect from you when you are in a study session. If you always study at the same hour in the same place, having your kids at a safe sight they’ll eventually get used to this habit of yours.
They’ll know that if needed you’ll be there for them and that you are giving your attention to something else for a few hours but between breaks mommy can play along.
5. Set up your almost perfect study environment
Have your desk with everything you need at reach, you have a really small department and don’t actually have a study space? Check out these ideas that could be helpful.
Can’t focus on your study with them running around, laughing, and yelling? You have 2 options, cancel the noise while staying in the room with them at sight, or go to another room and use a baby monitor.
- Headphones: This is a great alternative if you can study with music, you can control the volume so it is loud enough to blur the noise but soft enough to hear a ‘something’s wrong yell’. My favorites have always been Skullcandy, these are wireless, have a battery life of 24 hours, also are noise canceling, and right now they’re 50% off!
- Earplugs: you can use these to completely cancel the noise, but you’ll have to make sure to check up on the children with a quick look every once in a while, preferably have someone else at home, to be aware of the kids while playing. Mack’s Dreamgirl are specially designed for women, they’re super soft and at a very low price for the high quality you’ll get.
(image source: amazon.com)
- Baby Monitor: this is the best option for your kids’ safety when you’re not around, you can have the babies and toddlers at sight from anywhere in your house while focusing on studying. This one is very high quality, what I like the most about it is the 2-way talkback option, you can talk to them if they need something while you’re busy; it’s also very helpful if you’re training your baby to sleep in his room.
6. Have people around to help
You can ask dad to have a day out in the park with the kids once a week, this will give you at least 3 extra hours to focus on studying, if going to the park is not an option, ask him to just play with the kids around the house for a couple of hours so you can study.
If daddy is not available can someone else babysit your kids for 2 hours? A family member? A friend? Or hire a nanny. Make sure you trust this person enough to take the time and unplug from house chores for a bit and just focus on studying.
7. Put in some extra work
You knew from day one this wasn’t going to be easy! But I know you have what it takes to achieve it, the simple fact that you’re looking for ways to be able to study with your kids at home is a hint that you have the motivation to do it.
You have to put in the effort, be disciplined; if you used to wake up at 7, now wake up at 5 and have 2 extra hours to study, change the Netflix binge for a study binge when the kids are asleep.
Think about the big picture, you want your degree and this is worth it, you’ll be tired and it will be hard just for 4 years at most, does it look like a lot? Break it down to seasons, 3 months of hard work, and then it is winter break you’ll get some rest.
8. Don’t be so hard on yourself
You didn’t get the grade you wanted? It’s fine, the fact that you made it to the exam being a mom/wife plus having a part-time job is a huge victory!
Focus on learning, not on the grades, take this opportunity to prove yourself that you can achieve goals that to others may seem impossible.
People will unintentionally discourage you, I’ve been told I was insane to even try to study, raise my kids and have a part-time job at the same time, that I’d get sick, that I should better wait until the twins were at school to continue my career.
Don’t listen to negative people, only you know your limits and your strengths. Only you know how disciplined you can be.
Be your own cheerleader! Cover your walls with motivational quotes, surround yourself with positive people, listen to inspiring podcasts, whatever ignites your energy to study, stand up when you fall, and keep going.
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.