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Studying and working part time as a SIngle Mom - how do you make it work?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone. I was hoping to study full time starting in Oct, and have a place on a Masters Programme, but after researching funding and finding out more about what i am and am not eligible  it now seems that I will have to study part time. I find it quite stressful juggling lots of things and have just been studying for 3 years part time already, and found that my studies stopped being a joy pretty quickly as it became just another thing to fit in around loads of obligations, so I ended up doing the bare minimum and not engaging with it as much as I wanted to. I really want to be able to focus on this Masters as it's in something I really care about and enjoy- creative writing - and have wanted to do it for 6 years. My son starts school full time in Oct so that will help. 


I wanted to find out from other single mothers who's BTDT how it was for them, juggling studies and work, and what helped them cope, as i need to decide if this is doable for me. I would only have to go into the university one day a week, and the rest of the time is self-study - a total of 17  hours - and I need to work 16 hours a week to have enough money. My son is in school 30 hours a week, so that takes up all that time...I guess I'm wondering, how will I do the housework/shopping/household management and self-care that I find essential? (I have not been working the past couple of years except for a few odd hours here and there, and yet even so I found it hard to fit everything in with my studies). My son is also a very demanding, intense child who needs lots of interaction and stimulation and I need to have the energy to engage with him properly when he is home from school. Thanks mamas!

post #2 of 8

I work full time and am doing my master's full time. I have a ga-ship and am the student president.

I also volunteer, sit on 4 boards, have done 13 conferences since September.

I have four kids, ages 3-18 and am pregnant....again...

How do I do it? flexible deadlines. Insomnia. Insanity.


but I love it.


post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Wow! That sounds so full on. I'm afraid i'm not  prepared to sacrifice my sanity ;) which is why I doubt I can do it...self development, personal growth etc are a BIG part of my life and I know i get overwhelmed very easily if I don't have enough time for all that. (ie meditation, yoga, therapy groups etc). I also think though that there's a 'trick' to thinking about it all in a way that DOESN'T overwhelm, if you know what I mean, and I want to find out what it is! Thanks for sharing. 

post #4 of 8

I dont have the answer. I DONT relate to Shiloh's answer :)!! Wow! She must have tons of helps somewhere. That just doesnt seem possible timewise. I am also doing a 2nd masters in Writing. It think it's a hard thing with time restrictions because the time you put into this particular work can be endless. I also remember that in my pre child years staying up all night, a low degree of manicness, long walks, loud music were all part of my writing process. What are you working on specifically? Kathleen Fraser, a single mother poet who started the magazine However and just retired from a life of teaching, has a book of essays on how being a mother effects writing. I recommend it. 

post #5 of 8

Your situation sounds completely doable! You have one child that will be in school full time..and it sounds like you will be able to schedule work and classes around him. Just make sure you're using the time he's in school and you're not working effectively. I would suggest you do the household/shopping etc on the weekend or throughout the week with your child. I have three children and I'm in school full time, and it's a struggle to get those things done to be sure..but with one child it'd be wayyy easier. So much less mess and less time spent on herding them places etc. I totally think you can do it! How much time per week are we talking for self care? I would say either hire a babysitter for those times, or carve out time for them during your child's school hours and do more study in the evening. I too have demanding and intense children lol. All three are luckily or unluckily :p. Honestly, he may just need to realize that mommy has to clean sometimes and he has to entertain himself. It's easy for me..because I don't believe adults are there just to entertain their children. Anyway..you can do it..if it's what you really want!

post #6 of 8
I work full time and homeschool. I am only able to do one or two classes a semester. I do online as much as possible. I go year round and do homework after work...after kids go to sleep....while kids are playing....it isn't easy and i'm exhausted all the time but it has to be done.

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post #7 of 8

I do have help and my kids are older and in school.

I don't have to do most of the cooking and cleaning...

:) I bartered room and board with another grad student in exchange for 15 hours a week help with the house and kids.

I live within walking distance to a shopping mall with a grocery store.

Edited by Shiloh - 7/3/12 at 6:25pm
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks ladies :) I am full of admiration!


I think I'm going to go for it...thanks for the encouragement! There is another single mom moving into the flat above me (friend of a friend) and I'm hoping (although can't assume!) that we can support each other on a regular basis. I love the idea of having someone stay in my house for free in exchange for help - that's something to consider for if/when we move into a bigger place, but for now it almost feels too small for just me and my son!

Sometimes it really does feel like the solution to it all is to have a partner, but I know I'd then have more help but less money, because ironically the way the benefits/welfare system works here is that single parents get way more than a co-habiting couple.


I feel quite excited!

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