Tips on how to balance school, work and kids. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 06-19-2010, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
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OK so I start school the fall, while the first semester will only be six credits aka part time, I have to take a least twelve credits if not more the following three semesters because I was unconventionally home schooled and was excepted on probation and have to have completed twenty four credits by the end of my third semester. On top of this I am a single mother and also have to work to support my two small boys, who I don't want to feel neglected at all.
I'm just looking for advice on how to balance it all, lol I'm not the most organized person, though I'm working on it, and truthfully I'm a little overwhelmed at the thought of it.
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#2 of 5 Old 06-19-2010, 10:37 PM
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I know this set up could be hard to find, but is it possible for you work at the daycare or preschool that your children could attend as well?

I go to school 2-3 days a week and I work at my kids' daycare 5days a week. I get to make money and hang out with them at the same time. I barter with my DCP for childcare time by working as teacher, cleaner, cook, tutor for her homeschooled daughter etc. I really love it. I do feel a bit indebted to my DCP, since she has to yield space for my children. It's a home based daycare.

Thankfully, my older one is going off to kindergarten in the fall, so it will just be my younger one in the daycare, which makes it a bit easier.

Other than that, I would make sure you take some time for yourself once or twice a month. Hire a babysitter, if it's feasible. If a family member can watch your children, even better! Maybe team up with other single mothers on campus for late night studying during finals, so that you can study at home while children are sleeping maybe? You know kind of like studying sleep over? Study whenever, wherever you can, and get as much sleep as you can manage.

Good luck.
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#3 of 5 Old 06-20-2010, 06:05 PM
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Best practical advice I ever got: let your kids sleep in their clothes for the next day.
Saves a step in the morning, and makes jammies super-special for weekend nights. Most of kids' clothes are soft cotton anyway, so why make more laundry if you don't have to?

Other things- let the small stuff go. Sometimes I have to be OK that the main veggie in our house is green lettuce with bottled dressing or frozen peas, and that we eat REALLY simple meals- like homemade burritos or frozen pizza- most days of the week.

Another tip- reading the book Getting Things Done by David Allen really helped me to be more productive with my time and more organized in my approach to my home and work life. You might want to take a look at it.

Trying to be disciplined about 5-8pm being family time has been good for me too- allows me to "shut down" work-mode in my brain for those hours and just be with the kids for a bit. I'm not always SO perfect about this (sometimes I have to work during those hours a bit), but it is a good guideline that works for us.

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#4 of 5 Old 06-20-2010, 10:11 PM
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I'm a single mom of four and full time student, but I don't work, so I do have more breathing room than you will. Still, I have some tricks that might work.

If at all possible, find work where you can study part of the time: laundromat attendant, tutoring center at school, coffee stand barista.

I go to sleep with my kids so I can wake up an hour to two hours before they do. This works for me because I'm a morning person. Most of the time I reserve at least half an hour for self care, which I'm very serious about- I discipline myself to do what will restore me.

I cosleep with my youngest, six, and take a bath with her every morning. The others keep their cups full with hugs, high fives, and longer talks on the weekends.

My kids have a regular six hour school schedule, during which time I do Only School. No errands, no socializing, no going home for a nap after class.

I take math and science classes, which are a ton of work and difficult. I deal with it by being very proactive about my learning. I read ahead in the text before class so I at least have a clue what the professor is talking about in class. I write down everything the teacher says, all examples, everything- as if I were going to have to teach someone else the material using only my notes. Then I review my notes every day. I never miss a day of just at least reviewing the lecture notes on the current material.

The kids help me with the cleaning. Our apartment really deteriorates over the week, and then we do a big cleaning on the weekend.

Dinners are very simple- half the time we don't even use plates! If we're eating ice cream, out comes the container and spoons, and everyone gathers 'round. I don't need to spend any more time on dishes than I already do!

We go up to get ready for bed an hour before lights out time. This gives the whole routine a relaxed pace, allows for contingencies, and gives us the time to hang out without distractions and read a few chapters in our current book.

If there are any concerns in the family, such as arguments or discipline problems, I call a family meeting. We have one every day after school if we need to. This keeps us connecting regularly and all on the same page as far as rules and treating each other respectfully, etc.

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#5 of 5 Old 06-22-2010, 03:09 AM
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In the last 10 weeks I have gone from a content SAHM to a working, over full time student mama. So I feel the pain!
The biggest thing for me has been like PP said to let the small stuff go. Yes, the clothes I washed on Sunday afternoon are still hanging on the line and I'm probably not going to fold them until tomorrow night... oh well and yes, the dishes from breakfast are still in the sink.
I just choose every day to make sure that DD knows she is my world, and that DH knows I am thankful for him. Also, I'm shooting for B's not A's

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