How to Structure Your Day if You’re a Mum
We’re not asking much, ladies – just to not lose all of our brain cells to the sometimes monotonous, other times thoroughly depressive and occasionally sublime duty of motherhood. We entered the position full of enthusiasm and ambition, and like a lot of jobs,we need room for progression.
There are not many vocations that allow for self- promotion and so through our choice to study alongside this never ending task of motherhood, we really are propelling ourselves to a brighter future. The duties of being a mum are far from being 9-5 and you certainly don’t benefit from a weekend off or 25 days of annual leave.
Some of you may very well have supportive partners and some of you may be flying solo with absolutely no support network. Even in two-parent families a lot of the time one parent is working long hours so you feel like you’re flying solo most days anyways.
Partners or family members may be wonderful and are likely to have fully encouraged your step into academic success, but that doesn’t turn the care of your children into an even shift-work schedule and so it’s important that you can determine a realistic structure to the day to realise your goals and keep up with study workload and deadlines.
In order to maintain sanity and organise yourself efficiently, take a bit of time to set out realistic targets for your day. This includes all areas that need to be covered, so it might be time allocation or specific task goals, but whether you need to read 2 chapters and complete endless household chores or write an assignment and just make a meal, be sure of what you need to achieve and your day will flow much more smoothly and you’re less likely to feel overwhelmed.
It sometimes works out that you’ve worked so hard on an assignment or research that housework feels like a gift or that after having spent an hour of chipping away dried up food from surfaces, the prospect of reading a research paper from the 1980s quickly becomes Heaven-sent.
Don’t race into your day without taking some time to get prepared and positioned to establish the most effective version of yourself. This includes breakfast, hydration, and some chores that can be taking care of themselves whilst you focus on other matters. Throw a load of laundry in the washing machine, peg out a load to dry, put some ingredients in a slow cooker and fuel yourself with a decent breakfast. Not only will you have boosted your metabolism,but you’ll feel like you’ve had a head-start in every area which will propel you through the day.
Some mums find it useful to set out a formal timetable, with slots for study, housework, child, and husband. Eating, sleeping, and even washing if you’re a SuperMum.
Others, on the other hand, will frantically search for the only pen in the house that hasn’t fallen to the mercy of a toddler and a scrap of paper that isn’t already covered in the reasons to not run away and they’ll write down a list of what needs to be done that day. There are no rigid rules, do what works for you but be realistic and be committed to achieving what is on the list. Realistically, you can hoover whilst your child(ren) are getting on with their awake activities – especially if they’re in complaint mode! Utilise every second of peace for your benefit and prioritise this time for study, reading and revision. Or, if you have burnt the candle at both ends, don’t underestimate the power of a quick nap.
A lethargic mum is an unproductive one- in all arena’s, so take care of your emotional needs too. Ultimately, in order to complete your studies and have a successful result, it’s wise to not take on too much. Let your tutors know about your commitments at home in order to establish the best support possible from them and utilise your partner and any willing family or friends to take on some of the load as and when things become a burden. You’ll be surprised at the difference that a strong support network will make to your capabilities and enjoyability of studying whilst being a wonderful mum.
Top Tips For Mums
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help from relatives and friends. Even a quick one-hour babysitting favour can result in an excellent opportunity to read a couple of chapters, revise or tweak your assignment to perfection.
- Don’t ever feel guilty. You are not being selfish by pursuing your studies, you’re not taking anything away from your child(ren) or partner and you’re not being self-indulgent in your pursuit of expanding your knowledge. Enjoy the pressures, embrace the challenges and know that you are providing an exceptional example to those around you.Turn any guilt into pride – immediately!- Set and stick to targets.
- Factor in rest time! It’s as important to allow yourself time to rejuvenate in order to maintain pace and motivation for the workload ahead. Whether this means you stop for a cuppa or a friendly phone call or whether you work towards your goals to ‘buy’ yourself a day off, it’s imperative that you don’t forgo the luxury of rest.
- Reward yourself. When you hit targets, motivate yourself further by giving yourself a little benefit, whether that’s a chocolate break or a meal out. Rewards are also vital once you hit big milestones like essay submissions, module competition and qualification awards. You’ve worked hard for this and you absolutely deserve the reward!