Hello Cyberfriends. As I’ve mentioned previously, it can be a struggle to incorporate education into your time when you are a parent, even more so when you are a parent with a full time job. Finding time to continue your education while still finding time for selfcare is a dream, right? Not necessarily.
Educational goals and ways to reach them look different for everyone. For some, this includes going back to school and attending a college or university. For others, it includes taking advantage of the vast pool of internet resources and finding online courses. Still, for others, this includes keeping their minds sharp by listening to or reading educational materials.
Throughout different points in my adult life, I’ve fallen into all of those categories. The biggest thing that has made a difference is my educational journey is being mindful of my goals. Why am I studying in the first place? What’s my end game? When I was a very young Goblin, it was the expectation of getting a degree. Now, it’s to chase my dream job and further my IT career. I’m sure you can guess which one is a bigger motivator.
As I’ve gotten older, my priorities have shifted. When I was first taking a stab at further education, I was fresh out of high school with no additional responsibilities. My life expectation at that time was purely to seek a degree. Now, as a wife and mother, my responsibilities are much greater, and helping to provide for my family is my top priority. Utilizing the amazing variety of online courses now available on the internet, I’m pursuing education in a non-traditional way because that’s what works best for my schedule and my finances. The biggest challenge that I’ve run into is simply finding the time to devote to studying while still making sure that my responsibilities are being upheld.
Here are 10 tips that I’ve found to help to incorporate education as a busy mother:
- Create a schedule: Plan out your day and include dedicated study time, self-care time, and work hours. Stick to your schedule as much as possible. Find a time that works best for you, whether it’s early in the morning, during your lunch break, or after your kids go to bed. Don’t forget to include self-care time in that schedule. Personally, I do that by getting up an hour and a half to two hours before Mr. Goblin needs to leave for work and get a workout in, but for someone else it could look different. This leads me to the second tip.
- Wake up early: Wake up an hour or two before your children to get some quiet time to study or take care of yourself.
- Utilize your lunch break: Use your lunch break to study or take a walk to clear your mind and rejuvenate. If you feel like hitting two birds with one stone, try listening to a podcast related to what you’re studying as you walk. Just make sure to be safety conscious and aware of your surroundings.
- Take advantage of downtime: Use any downtime, such as waiting in line or while meals are cooking to review your notes or listen to lectures or podcasts related to your topic of study.
- Set small goals: Break down your studying into smaller, more manageable goals that you can accomplish each day. SMART goals are awesome. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. An example of a smart goal would be to finish a chapter of a book by dinnertime on Friday, 5/12/2023.
- Enlist help: Ask your partner, family, or friends to help with childcare or household tasks to give you more time to study. I’m really lucky in this department. Mr. Goblin is my biggest fan and cheerleader, and is always happy to entertain Baby for a few hours on the weekend so I can focus on my education.
- Join a study group: Join a study group with other working moms to share the workload and hold each other accountable. It doesn’t have to be an in person study group. Check online for student groups and forums for your major, field of study, certification, or class.
- Utilize online resources: Take advantage of online resources and courses that offer flexibility and can be completed at your own pace. I’m sure you can guess that this is one of my favorites. Online resources are the only realistic way I’m able to learn anything at this point in my life. There are quite a few out there for learning programming languages.
- Get organized: Keep your study materials organized and in one place to make the most of your study time.
- Prioritize self-care: Make self-care a priority by scheduling time for exercise, relaxation, and hobbies. Taking care of yourself will help you stay energized and focused. For the Goblin family, Sundays are our family days. Any posts have already been written and scheduled, all chores have been completed, and the majority of the day is about spending time together. After Baby Goblin goes to bed, Sunday evenings are when Mr. Goblin and I each take some time to work on our hobbies. You’ll often find me at my sewing machine or painting. If you’re interested in more self-care tips for a busy schedule, check out this post.
Bonus tip, scheduling is a huge part of finding the time, but don’t forget to schedule at least 7 hours to sleep. It’s absolutely imperative for your physical and mental health and a crucial part of self-care.
You’ve got this, cyberfriends. We can reach our goals and achieve our dreams, and if you doubt that for a second read this again.