When I tell people at work I'm a full time student, I get the incredulous stare. When I tell people at school, that I work full time, they look at me as if I have three heads. Add being a mommy into the conversation, and they're almost prone to calling me a liar because it's hard for anyone to believe that I have time to do all of these things. But to be quite honest, it's not as difficult as people may think, and it can be done.
Just because you're a mom doesn't mean you can't go back to school and work. It doesn't have to be either or, and I thought that for a very long time, hence, the delay in my continued education. I genuinely believed there was no way I could work and pay bills, go to school and spend enough time with my son, but I was wrong. Of course it takes a lot of work, a few sacrifices and can sometimes be tiring but for me, the outcome surpasses those aforementioned things by a longshot. This is how I managed and how you possibly could too!
1. Getting a work schedule that works!
I found a work schedule conducive to my goals. Prior to enrolling back in school, I was working a 9-5. Of course, that work schedule wouldn't allow me to attend school and spend enough time with my son so I found one that did. I decided to work overnights again. When school started, getting off work at 7am and going straight to school didn't seem so bad until I did it for two weeks, and knew something had to give. My coworker gave me the idea of only working on weekends, so I could attend school during the week days. It turned out to be a perfect idea (Thanks, Maria!) I had my schedule changed to where I worked 12hr shifts, Friday through Sunday and I went to school Monday thru Friday.
While I'm at school, my son is also at school, so there's no wasted quality time between us two. I typically finish classes a few hours before I have to get him so that leaves me with time for homework, a possible nap or to run errands.
2. Making Sacrifices!
As I stated before, to be able to achieve this, I had to make some sacrifices. I sacrificed my weekends to be able to pull this hectic schedule off. I only request a weekend day off for a serious event such as a close friend's birthday or baby shower, so important events don't go missed.** Disclaimer: First Semester, I did not request time off for such events, being that I had to get into the swing of things. But now that I got the gist of this school & work thing, it's lit!** I've always been a homebody, so I honestly feel like I'm not missing much of anything as far as partying on the weekends is concerned.
3. Be proactive!
I always found time to get things done, such as running errands or doing laundry while my son was at school. Before it started getting dark early, I would sit in the parking lot of my job and do my homework. If your employer is okay with you bringing your homework to work, then you can also do it there. If you work overnight, and your place is usually slow around that time,your employer shouldn't mind, but make sure before doing so!
4. Get a planner.
Without my planner, I don't know if I would've been able to pull off my hectic schedule. You're going to need something to keep track of all of your assignments and due dates. Not just that, but everyday life things, like planning what day you'll do laundry or go to the grocery store. It helps, trust me! I would like to thank my planner for my 3.0 last semester, You did that !
5. Figure out a HEALTHY sleep schedule.
You're probably thinking, when does this robot of a woman sleep? Oh I definitely get my sleep in, loves. That's never a concern of mine. My sleep schedule is normal, Monday thru Thursday, I'm usually in bed by ten. If a nap is needed on one of those days, (Most likely a Monday), I'll just get a nap in before I pick my son up. On the weekends, when I get off work, I usually sleep from 8am to 3pm. It works for me!
6. Surround yourself with motivating and positive people.
I can't tell you how many tears and rants I had during my first semester but a positive inner circle kept me on track. Whenever I felt overwhelmed, or like I just couldn't do it anymore, they were there to push me. My friends and family probably have no idea how much their texts and calls of encouragement meant to me, and how it made me go harder. So to, all my family and friends who congratulated me, told me they were proud of me, wiped my tears, listened to my tirades and encouraged me, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
7. Block out the negativity.
Oh baby, there were plenty of things that tried to knock me off balance but I prevailed. Don't let someone take your focus away from your end goal. What I personally did, was threw myself into my school work. Whenever I felt someone was trying to throw me off my square with negativity, I would start doing homework or reading one of my textbooks. I couldn't be concerned with unnecessary foolishness with all of that work sitting in front of me. So if that's what you need to do, do it. It works!
This list here is a reinforcement that all things are possible. That you don't have to choose work over school or school over work (unless you want to). You can do it all, you just have to be willing to deal with the different aspects that this entails. In the beginning, it may seem hard, and you might be very tempted to give up but just know, things will get better. I truly believe, going back to school was one of the best decisions of my life & I didn't have to sacrifice being a mom or a paying my bills for it.
This particular post was inspired by my beautiful older sister who switched to overnights a few months ago & called me up one day, and asked, "HOW THE HELL DO YOU DO IT?" Since then, I'm sure she's gotten the swing of things but she was definitely the motivation & idea behind this post. Thanks, love!