Let’s start by saying that taking care of a baby while finishing your studies is challenging. Sometimes, things will be overwhelming and you feel that you want to quit. But does this mean you should put your study plans on the back burner for now? Not necessarily. If you want to finish your studies as soon as possible for the future of your family, here are strategies that can help you be a student and a parent at the same time:
1. Keep a detailed schedule
Whether you are taking a short term course or a 4-year degree, having a detailed schedule helps keep your life more organized. Using a planner, calendar, or any scheduling app, make it a point to stick to what you’ve written. As a student-mom, having a schedule can give you the structure that you need to stay sane while trying to juggle all of your responsibilities at once.
2. Sleep when your child sleeps
Take advantage of your infant’s afternoon naps to catch up on some Z’s yourself. Chances are, you’re already not getting enough sleep at night, so every minute of rest that you can get counts. If you are constantly sleep-deprived, your performance at school can suffer as well as your sanity.
3. Make time to study
To study effectively, you need to have time wherein you are not interrupted by your motherly duties. For example, reserve your study time for after the baby has fallen asleep, or wake up earlier in the morning to revise before the baby wakes up. Either way, you can do your schoolwork without disruptions.
4. Ask for help
Always remember that you don’t have to do this alone. If you have a test coming up, ask your parents to watch over the baby. If you can’t run an errand due to lack of time, ask your partner to do it for you. Don’t be afraid to rely on your support system when you need help. You will not always be able to do everything on your own, and that’s perfectly okay.
5. Consider taking fewer classes
Signing up for fewer classes can extend your stay in the school, but it can make your responsibilities more manageable. Moreover, having fewer classes can give you more time for your baby, which is more important than anything else.
6. Communicate with your professors
Most professors are willing to help out student parents whenever they can, so don’t be afraid to ask. For example, if you don’t have a babysitter, ask if you can take your baby to class with you. If you need a deadline extension because of an unavoidable incident (e.g., a sick child, family emergencies, etc.), explain the situation to your professor as early as possible. If they say no, at least you tried.
7. Minimize unproductive times
As a student-mom, every minute of your time counts. So rather than spending hours on a Netflix binge or staring at your phone all day, use your free time to study, do homework, or spend quality time with your family.
8. Use time-saving baby tools
Buy baby gadgets that can help you save more time or make it easier to multi-task. Examples of such devices include hands-free bottle holders, vibrating mattress pads, smart baby monitors, portable baby gates, smart baby thermometers, and more.
9. Spare time for yourself
Don’t forget to include some ‘me time’ in your schedule, no matter how busy it might be. Take some time to recharge. See a movie with your friends or do some yoga. Go out for brunch or sit down to read a novel. As long as it brings you joy, it’s okay to indulge yourself once in a while.
10. Befriend other parents
Do you know who can relate to what you’re going through the most? Other parents on campus. Try connecting with other student moms and dads or maybe even find a support group for young student parents. Aside from the comfort of having other people to relate to, your fellow student parents can give you valuable tips for studying and parenting.
Being a student mom comes with many challenges, especially with a child below one, but it is always worth it in the end. With these strategies, you can make your life easier as a student parent and reduce the chances of you becoming overwhelmed.
Do you have more tips to share for student moms? Please leave them in the comments below for us to check out.