Beginning college as a new mother can be daunting. Many women find the idea of juggling motherhood, work, and school overwhelming. They may ask themselves “Where will I find the time?” or “What if it’s too much?” As frightening as the idea can be, know that there is hope on the other end. It can be done. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you maintain a good schedule and find balance.
Make a schedule
One of the first steps in managing our time is to figure out where we have time. Maybe you can set your clock thirty minutes to an hour earlier than you usually would and squeeze in some study time. Or maybe you can study during your lunch break, or after everyone has gone to bed and the house is quiet. Write your schedule down and place it on the refrigerator or some place that you will see it. Or you can carry it with you.
One of the hardest things to do as a mother is making time for yourself. Our families are demanding. Most of the time we are the caretakers. They often do not realize how tired and stressed we become. They need dinner or a lost sock or want us to spend quality time with them. These things all add up to zero time for us. It is important that we set boundaries and protect our time to ourselves. We may have to tell our spouses or children that eight o’clock is Mommy’s study time and find suggestions for activities to keep them occupied during that time. We must set boundaries and stick to them.
Now I know this may not be an option for every mom. Some of us to don’t have a good support system at home or a support system at all. However, if you do have family members who are willing to take the kids for ice cream or to play at the park while you study for an hour or so, take it. And this tip brings me to the next tip …
Kick that mom guilt to the curb
I know it's hard to do. I’ve struggled with this myself. Your kids look at you with those little eyes, asking you to play, or your husband seeks out your attention. You feel so, unbearably, guilty about taking time out for yourself. Don’t. Because you are worth it and that time is going to better you and your family’s financial situation. You are not just working on goals for yourself, you are working on your goals for your entire family.
Take time to breathe
You must take time for yourself, and I don't mean to study or to do chores. Those things can wait. Make a date with yourself, for yourself. Take the time to go and do something that you enjoy doing alone. It may be to watch a movie, or to go to the beach, it doesn’t matter. We have to recharge ourselves. Do this once a week minimum. We cannot give back to others or help ourselves if we feel empty. (I would like to credit this Idea to the book "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron.) I've used this idea and it has helped me immensely.
All of this may seem impossible, but I assure you it is not. You can find the time to be a mother, work, and study. You just have to make time and set it aside for yourself. Also, don't feel like you have to get everything done today. It's okay to divide those tasks into different days or times, or try and fit it into smaller time frames. If you find a few spare minutes at work, study, assuming your boss doesn’t mind, or work some in on lunch. Fit it in wherever you can, whenever you can. You’ll be surprised how much easier things can be with a good schedule and some boundaries.