Ways to simplify your life as a working mom and student
As a working mom, life can be pretty challenging, but when you add studying into the mix, things become even more challenging. So, how do you work, go to school, and be a mom at the same time? The answer is simple. Simplify your life. Simplifying your life is the best way to balance it all.
Many moms have no option but to work while studying. These moms have to figure out a way to earn a living, get a college degree, without neglecting their family. You can see why studying, working, and being a mom is such a difficult combination for many.
However, you don’t have to despair or think there’s no way you can pull it off. While it won’t be a breeze, there are lots of practical steps you can take to help you balance work, study, and family.
Studying, working, and being a mom requires some grit. But more than anything else, it requires the ability to make smart decisions, create an effective plan, and come up with creative solutions when necesssary.
Now, here are some ways a college student and working mom can make life a lot more manageable.
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1. ADMIT YOU CAN’T DO IT ALL AND BE WILLING TO LET SOME THINGS GO
I talk to myself a lot. I guess it’s mostly because I have been a single mom for a long time. It’s okay to have conversations with yourself if they help you figure things out, and get you back on track.
When I am having a really hard time finding balance, the first thing I do is admit that I can’t do it all, and I will need to let some things go. This ladies is what prioritization is all about.
While everything may be important, ultimately, some things are more important than others. So, start by admitting to yourself that you can’t do it all, then identify your biggest challenges, and some things you will need to let go of.
To pull off studying, working, and being a mom, you have to learn to prioritize and focus on the most important things. Everything else will need to take a back seat.
2. IDENTIFY YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGES
The reason why working moms struggle so much when they become students is because of all the responsibilities they carry. These moms are under tremendous pressure, and many of them (especially single moms), don’t have any support or anyone else to share their burden.
As a single mom, I know all too well how hard it is to do everything yourself. To help you ease the pressure, start by identifying your biggest challenges. For example, do you struggle with finding time to study? Are you not spending enough time with your kids? Is your work too demanding or inflexible?
Identifying your biggest challenges will help you to come up with a solution to address them. Without knowing or acknowledging what the problem is, it’s difficult to find a solution.
3. MAKE A LIST OF THE CHANGES YOU NEED TO MAKE
You want to know how to work, go to school, and be a mom? You need to change things up! Old habits and patterns probably won’t work when a working mom goes back to college. You will need to adapt, change, and be flexible if you want to succeed as a mom and student.
So, what do you need to change to balance it all? For example, if you can’t find enough time to study, you may need to wake up early, stay up late, or spend an extra hour in school to get some study time. If you are not spending enough time with your kids, you probably need to reduce your hours at work (if that’s an option) or take fewer classes at a time.
Whatever the problem is, you will have to address them and make some changes, unless you want to keep struggling with them. The ability to adapt is essential for moms who want to know how to balance work, study, and family.
Now, let me share some practical ways to simplify your life.
4. SIMPLIFY YOUR SPACE
Your environment or home can contribute to your stress. A disorganized home can make it harder to be productive. A simplified space will make it easier to balance college and being a mom.
Now, take a look at your home. Is it cluttered? Do you spend a good chunk of time cleaning, organizing your home, or worse, looking for stuff? If this is the case, you probably have too much stuff, or your organization system isn’t working.
Paring down how much stuff you have, and keeping your home organized, will make your life much simpler and easier to manage. If you work from home, it’s really important to keep your workspace (or study space) uncluttered and tidy.
You will get more done when you are more organized. Here are some of my favorite home organizational tools.
Mesh Desk Organizer Office Supply Caddy Drawer with Pen Holder Collection Pink
To Do List Daily Task Checklist Planner Time Management Notebook
5. CREATE A SIMPLE SCHEDULE
Instead of trying to cram a million things into your schedule, it’s better to create a simple schedule that works for you and your family. As a student and a mom, you need a simple schedule that’s flexible and also predictable.
What I mean is, your schedule isn’t set in stone. You can change how you do things, if necessary. A predictable schedule means everyone knows what to expect most of the time.
If you are a single mom working full time and going to school, a simplified schedule will do wonders for your sanity. So, take a look at your current schedule, is it jam-packed with activities or tasks every single day of the week?
Do your kids know what to expect from you? Kids like predictability and they are more likely to thrive when there’s some kind of rhythm in the home. Your life as a mom and student will be happier with happy kids.
Take the time to simplify your schedule, create some sort of consistency, and get rid of activities and tasks that are taking up too much of your time.
Related: How to Create an Effective Student Mom Schedule
6. GET USED TO SIMPLE MEALS AND MEAL PREPPING
I have been doing this for years, and let me tell you, it’s one of the best tricks or hacks I have learned. Instead of fretting about what to feed your family every day, you can simply embrace simple meals and snacks.
While I don’t mind cooking, I definitely don’t like spending all day in the kitchen, especially as a busy student and mom. So, if you are like me, take the time to create a simplified menu for you and your family. It’s amazing how easy it is to make simple but nutritious meals and snacks.
Another benefit of having a simplified menu is that grocery shopping becomes easier and less frequent since you can easily put a meal together with ingredients you have at home, or conjure up meals from leftovers.
Finally, meal prepping is a great way to save your sanity and cut down on how much time you spend cooking. To begin, pick a couple of hours each month to meal prep. You can precook some meals and freeze them until you are ready to eat them.
These storage containers are perfect for storing and freezing food.
If you are new to meal prepping, here is a great article below for you to check out.
HOW TO MEAL PREP: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE FOR PERFECT MAKE-AHEAD MEALS
Also, check out the cookbooks below for some simple meals you can make.
Half Baked Harvest Super Simple: More Than 125 Recipes for Instant, Overnight, Meal-Prepped, and Easy Comfort Foods: A Cookbook
Taste of Home 5-Ingredient Cookbook: 400+ Recipes Big on Flavor, Short on Groceries!
7. SAY GOODBYE TO DISTRACTIONS
Saying goodbye to distractions is essential when you are juggling studying, working, and being a mom. With so many things vying for your attention, it’s easy to waste time on trivial stuff and become overwhelmed in the process.
If you have ever spent a lot of time doing unnecessary stuff, only to feel exhausted when it’s time to tackle the important tasks, you know exactly what I am talking about.
We have so many time wasters in our lives that it’s amazing how we manage to get anything done. Whether it’s social media, news, mindlessly browsing the internet, or something else, there are lots of distractions that can stop you from being productive.
Unfortunately, these things aren’t going to disappear from our lives, so it’s up to you to control these distractions. Don’t immerse yourself in something when you should be doing something else. Be purposeful with your time, identify the time-wasters in your life, then take steps to eliminate them.
8. BATCH YOUR TASKS
This is a great tip for moms who want to know how to balance work, study, and family. Unless you enjoy being rundown, knowing how to manage your time, and how to get things done as quickly as possible, is something every busy mom should know how to do.
Batching your tasks simply involves grouping or doing similar tasks at the same time or on specific days. So, for example, you can do all your shopping or errands in one day, vacuum all the rooms in your house on the same day, or meal prep on an assigned day.
What this means is that instead of jumping from one task to the other, you can stay focused on doing similar tasks, which will allow you to save some time.
I am usually more productive when I batch my tasks. If you are not used to it, I highly encourage you to try it. It can really make a difference when you are trying to balance work, school, and family life.
9. PACE YOURSELF
Lots of moms suffer from burnout because they wear too many hats and take on too much all at once. Being a mom and going to school is a very big undertaking. It almost feels like going from zero to one hundred in the blink of an eye.
It’s very important for student parents to pace themselves, especially if they also work. I know it’s hard for moms to find balance while studying and working, but it’s something that you have to do.
So, pace yourself. Watch your academic workload, don’t sign up for too many classes at once if you don’t have a support network and you know you will struggle to balance it all. If cutting your hours at work is an option, you can also consider doing that to help you find some balance.
Pacing yourself is a smart strategy if you want to avoid burnout or the risk of overwhelm. Some moms try to do too much at once, and they end up quitting college when things become too hard to manage.
Don’t set yourself up for failure. Think long-term, and see this journey as a marathon, rather than a sprint.
10. REMEMBER TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
A lot of moms are afflicted with the “martyr mom syndrome.” These moms feel they have to sacrifice themselves completely. They never ask for help or admit when they are tired. They give and give, then give some more.
I must admit, I used to be this way, and in some ways, I still suffer from this syndrome. Being a martyr mom doesn’t help anyone or serve any purpose except maybe to make you feel good or strong. So, instead of trying to do everything for everyone while ignoring yourself, learn to start thinking of yourself, and taking care of yourself.
Studying, working, and being a mom is the equivalent of having three full-time jobs. You can’t do it without taking care of yourself. You need adequate rest and sleep to be able to function properly.
Self-care is a great way to alleviate stress and keep your sanity. You have to stay mentally, physically, and emotionally fresh if you want to achieve your goals.
So, remember to take care of yourself. Don’t ignore your needs (whether medical, emotional, or psychological), and find ways to incorporate some alone time into your life.
As a single mom, it’s very hard for me to find time to be alone, but I get creative, and sometimes, I have to insist on it. It’s all about self-preservation and longevity.
Now, it’s your turn to simplify your life while studying, working, and being a mom
You may find it very challenging to work, go to school, and be a mom, but there are some things you can do to make life a lot easier. It’s within your power to simplify your life and make it less stressful for you and your family.
You can start by putting the tips in this post into practice because that’s the only way you are going to make a difference. Start by admitting your struggles, identifying the problem areas, then coming up with a solution to address them.
You can learn how to balance college and being a mom if you take the time to make some changes, learn new habits, and let go of some things that use up a lot of your energy.
Which part of studying, working and being a mom do you find the most challenging?
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Working Mom Going Back to School? Here’s What You Need to Know