Carrying, delivering, and raising a baby while striving to finish your education. Can we really have it all?
It would be grossly naive of us to ignore the fact that women are starting their families during their twenties before they are able to accomplish their own goals. While this wave of young moms is a far cry from your high school 16 & pregnant teen, many of the challenges mirror each other.
I discovered that I was pregnant during the end of my Junior year in college. The slightly rough road to graduation instantaneously turned into a dark, twisty up-hill road with large gusts of wind threatening to push me off track at any moment. Was it feasible to try to finish up my Bachelors and some how be the mom to my son that I’ve always dreamed of being?
Here are a few tips that pushed me up that seemingly impossible hill:
1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your support system: A strong support system made up of friends and family is useless if you don’t utilize them. If you need a sitter while you study or while you just take a quick break, simply ask! That’s what they are there for.
2. Make a schedule and stick with it: I can’t stress this enough. Make a schedule of when you will be at school, when you plan on studying and when the baby will need to be with a family member or daycare. This way, you and everyone in your support system will be on the same page and know what to expect.
3. Utilize all of your free time: Is the baby taking a nap? Class let out an hour early? Prioritize what you need to do and utilize your extra free time; this includes sleep!
4. Speaking of sleep: Sleep whenever you can! I totally understand that sometimes you can feel like you are on a 24 hour high of working, taking care of baby, and school therefore forgetting how important it is to sleep. If you don’t give your body a chance to recoup, you will not be able to give your all in anything.
5. Don’t forget to spend time with your baby, family, and friends: If you let your entire life be about school and work, you will be completely burned out when it comes to your family. Your baby is a baby for only a short time so spend as much time as you can enjoying it!
6. Finish assignments early: A fatal mistake that I have made is letting my assignments build up until the last minute and then having to rush and finish them. The best way that I have found to quell this problem is to allot an hour or two between each class if possible when creating my school schedule. That way, I can do school work while on campus and focus on my little one when I’m at home.
7. Take online classes when possible: Almost all accredited colleges and universities offer online classes even if they are general studies classes. By taking 1 or 2 classes online and the rest on campus, you will be able to be home more and work on those classes during baby’s nap time or your allotted study time.
8. Use a calendar: I have the memory of an 80 year old. So, in order to help me remember when assignments were due, I put reminders in my phone. My phone would alert me the day before in case I did forget. I loaded my entire syllabus for all of my classes ahead of time so I didn’t forget to remind myself– yes it’s that bad!
9. Remember one thing: When you feel like you can’t type another word while changing another poopy diaper and you’re just too sleepy for your brain to function; remember why you are doing it. When graduation day finally arrived and I was able to walk across the stage with my son in the audience, I have never felt as proud as I did in that moment. All of the late nights writing papers and caring for a newborn was worth it a million times over again. My son will know how hard I worked to show him that it is possible. My little baby M was my motivation as your little one will be yours. It is possible if you want it to be.