Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Thriving as a Mom & Student

Whooo Buddy! It sure has been awhile! Still adjusting to life with a crazy 18-month-old, over-worked husband, and being a SAHM/FT Student! Speaking of...I was using the bathroom at school yesterday (TMI anyone..?) and thought, hey, this is my first semester at school where I am doing surprisingly well! So my good people, here I am to share some tips about being a good mommy & student!

Yes, this is the Hubs & I at our Graduation in '11 (Associate's Degree)

1. Pick Your Classes Wisely
I am the spokesperson for taking on too big a course load. Before Peanut, I took 5, sometimes 6 classes every semester. At most universities, this is unheard of. In mine, it was a recommendation to complete the program in 2 years. Once I had a baby, 12 credit hours was a lot, let alone 15 or 18! So, although it is totally tempting to speed things up with an extra class or two, DON'T!!! Trust me. You will just get even more behind, which will take even longer. Also, be sure not to pick all difficult or AP classes. Pace yourself, I promise it helps!

2. Choosing a Schedule
I am beyond blessed and lucky to have a husband with a semi-flexible schedule, and a best friend willing to help! I chose a schedule where I only had classes 2 days a week. I am there from around 8:30 until 5:30. Yes, it is a long day, but that is 2 days of my week where I devote myself to school. I have about a 2 hour break where I work on all my homework. I haven't had to do homework at home yet, and believe me, I have had plenty to do. It keeps me organized and up on my game. Jess watches Liam on Monday & Hubs has the Wednesday shift. 2 days for child care is much more doable than 4 or 5!

3. On-Campus vs Off
I have been doing online school since I found out about Peanut. This is great for those working moms or ones who can't afford to go on campus. Be very careful though. Online does not mean easier, trust me! You have to devote yourself to the online work as you would on campus, maybe even more. If you must do online, try to limit yourself to 2 classes. If you must do full-time to get grants, financial aid, etc. then be very cautious of which to take. Anatomy & Physiology online suck, let alone, the same semester online (yes, I know from experience!) This is my first semester back on campus in 2 years and I am doing much better!

Yes this is my cute little family! ;)

4. Getting Involved
Keep your kids and spouse involved with your school. They can't mind read you have a huge exam coming up. Have them help you, or talk about it with them. My husband is much more involved than in the past. He asks (almost) every night if I have homework or anything to do in class. Not only is it sweet, it's a wonderful reminder!

5. Make Friends
Online school was awesome when I needed it, but I am a social butterfly! It's great being back in classes with people actually being there! & I have even made a couple of friends! =] No, they aren't mommies and they are a bit younger, but we still have several things in common, and it keeps me sane, which I desperately needed!

6. Homework Time
As I said in Point #2, I have a two hour break between my classes. I eat my lunch and then go to the library and do homework for the rest of the time! It keeps me up-to-date on assignments, or even ahead, and then I can enjoy my days off with my son without having to think about it! If you aren't able to get that, talk with your spouse about a special time-frame during the week for homework only! About 2-4 hours a week should be enough, minus big projects, exams, etc. Your spouse could take the kids to the park or go out for lunch. Anything where you can get peace & quiet! Have any hour-by-hour daycares or a Mom's Day Out program? They may cost money, but trust me, getting behind in school will affect you, your work, and your family in the long run! No one wants to play catch up all semester!

7. Pack Your Lunch
I wouldn't be 'Miss Frugal' if I didn't mention this one! I leave for school around 8 and don't end up eating lunch until about 1:30. I just take a plastic grocery bag (yay for reusing!), put an ice pack in it (homemade ice pack), and throw in a sandwich, some chips, and a can of pop, and I'm ready to roll! I also got $0.59 bottles of Powerade Zero this week as my morning class wake up until lunch! This is one thing I never did when I lived at home & went to school! All the money I could have saved! (*sigh*) I usually eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast, or if I'm in a rush, I'll grab some poptarts for a mid-class snack!

8. Don't Procrastinate
As I said above, no one likes playing catch up! Stay on top of it! Just by staying on top of it, or a bit ahead, will help to decrease a ton of stress! Trust me, I have been through every situation with school, and this one is a biggie when it comes to affecting you & your family!!

8. Be Your Biggest Fan
You must have your family as cheerleaders to help you thrive in school, but give yourself some credit too! Not only are you achieving a dream for yourself, but you are overall wanting more for your family, and that is something to be pretty darn proud of! The better you feel, the better you do, and the faster you buzz through school!

It only took me over 2 years to figure these out, and I hope I can help a mommy/student thrive the way I have wanted to! It feels so good to finally be there! Happy day Frugal Friends!

Link Ups:
Clean & Scentsible
Whimsy Wednesdays
Memories By the Mile
New Nostalgia
Kathe with an E
Ladybug Blessings
Kitchen Meets Girl
Ginger Snap Crafts
Handy Man Crafty Woman
The DIY Dreamer

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