Life moves pretty quick when you have kids. Life moves even faster when you have kids AND a job. Add study to the equation and you might as well accept defeat, right?
Not quite. It seems impossible, yes, but it’s actually feasible. Countless mums do it every day. And here’s how they make it work.
Your mission – To somewhat successfully keep control of your household and bring up your children while working and studying. This means that on top of working, cooking, cleaning, washing, daycare drops, school runs, homework duties, bath and storytimes and late night cuddle sessions, you need to fit in study.
I need a coffee just thinking about it…
Tips to balance work, study and parenting
But before you give up hope, hear us out. Because it is possible to balance all three. And it is more than rewarding. Having a career that you love AND a family that you adore is the holy grail of happiness. And it’s completely achievable. You just need to master the fine art of becoming a multi-tasking mum ninja and invest a little more time in your career.
These tips are sure to help release your inner multi-tasking talents and further your career in the process.
Get to know your different Mum Modes
Step one – Own your roles. You have a whole bunch of them. There’s Work Mum, there’s After-Work Mum, there’s Weekend Mum, and now there’s Study Mum.
It can be tricky to switch your mind back and forth between the different mum modes, but this is the best way to go about it and be the most productive. Trying to get anything done in the office when you’re in Weekend Mum mode isn’t going to work too well.
Plan for the present
Seriously, planning is your new best friend. Plan your meals, your cleaning roster, your study routine.
Then head over to the kids’ lives and plan their activities, their pick-up and drop-off routine, the upcoming parties and school activities. Having some sort of control over your weekly routine can eliminate those minor meltdowns and stress attacks that usually happen at night.
Plan for the future
Some study is worth planning for, especially when it will help your career. One of the most flexible yet fast-paced career industries out there these days has got to be marketing. And if you happen to be in the marketing industry, then you probably know how quickly things change (and how hard it can be to keep up).
Have a look at the accelerated online Master of Marketing at Griffith University which gives marketing professionals the chance to further their career. Their two year program might be the thing you need to get ahead without giving anything up.
Embrace the chaos
If you’re not much of a planner, then don’t plan anything and go with the flow. For some, this actually works better. You’re the captain – you get to choose your navigational path. Even if you are a bit of a control freak, you may need to loosen the reins a bit. It’s impossible to have control of everything.
Think of the future (and get rid of the guilt)
There is absolutely nothing wrong with investing time in you. And choosing a career that is fulfilling, rewarding and enjoyable can actually make you a happier person (and a better mum for it).
Include down time in your master plan
Or else you will burn out. You can only rely on coffee for so long, after all.
Because you can’t be at EVERY single event. Sorry, it’s not possible. Missing a school fundraiser or birthday party here or there doesn’t make you a bad parent or a bad person. It makes you a busy person. And a normal person.
Find shortcuts (and use them)
Shop online for groceries. Hire a cleaner if you can afford it. Allocate some of the chores to the kids. Plan to have takeaway once a week so you get a break from the kitchen duties (or scrounge a meal off the in-laws). Nothing wrong with allocating, asking and accepting help.
Set specific study times
When it comes to working, you have a roster. You have to go at certain times. Study isn’t quite like that (not anymore at least). You can study whenever you are able to and the hours are completely flexible.
This is great, right? But you still need the motivation to actually do it. So have blocks of study hours in place. Reward yourself for actually sticking to your schedule and make use of your productive times. If you’re a night owl, you may find that you are quite productive after the kids go to bed. If you’re like me and your brain pretty much shuts down after 6pm, then early mornings may be better.
Make yourself space
The kids have their play area. You need a study area. And one that you feel comfortable in. Having your own study zone can help keep you focused on the end goal and make it easier to switch out of ‘play mum mode’ and into ‘study mum mode’.
Stop! Study Time
If you are looking to head back into the realm of study, then the good news is, a lot of things have changed since your last run at Uni. First of all, you don’t have to live in a share house and eat two-minute-noodles at 2am anymore. Secondly, you can study at your own pace, advance your career and get your Master’s Degree all from home (and in your own time).
Make your mark
For marketing professionals (or those interested in marketing), be sure to check the online Master of Marketing at Griffith University , which focuses on branding, advertising and promotion, consumer behaviour, retailing, performance metrics and strategy – pretty much everything you need to gain the confidence to take your career to the next stage (whatever this may be).
If you have a degree, then you can start anytime, anywhere. If not, you start with their Graduate Certificate in Marketing.
Good luck with your journey into working/studying/mumming territory! It’s a juggling act, sure, but it’s well worth the chaos. Not only will you be able to further your career, but you will also be proving to yourself (and your kids), that you really can do it all.