My name is McKenzie, and I am 25 years old. I work as an assistant store manager for Kohl’s, and I’m currently working on getting my master’s like all of you. I’m also a first-time mom. During my touch base with Krystal (my Student Services Advisor) this fall, she heard my newborn crying. We got on the topic of how I was able to go through my pregnancy and birth all while being enrolled and completing my master’s courses as well as working full-time. She asked that I put something together to possibly help any of you who are trying to figure out how to make it all work. Here are some things that I found useful/took advantage of:
- Set aside one day or a set hour to work on your homework/assignments. If you can get them knocked out in one day, you don’t have to worry about it.
- Get a planner—write out your assignments and cross them off once they’re done. (I had major mom brain, combined with work, I had a hard time remembering due dates.)
- Take time to do some self-care. With everything else going on, it’ll give you a window to relax and recharge.
- Take your laptop or reading material to your doctors’ appointments. (Each time I waited at least an hour to be seen, I used that time to catch up on readings.)
- Give yourself some grace; growing a human is tough, working full-time is tiring, going to school is time-consuming. We’re doing it all at the same time! It’s something to be proud of.
I was hospitalized at 37 weeks. I spent a week in the hospital and then was put on bed rest. I had my laptop with me to do my homework. I wanted to stay on top of everything so I wouldn’t get behind the first week of class. It’s not ideal, but it was really important for me to stay on track to be done in May. We have been so blessed with a baby that sleeps well; I haven’t had any trouble this class and our baby is a little over a month old.
- Discuss with your partner/husband/family a time for you to work on homework. While you’re doing homework, it allows them time to bond with baby. In my case, it gave me twenty minutes to pump while I did assignments. If you’re not a pro at multitasking yet, you’re going to have it down soon.
- If you have an iPad or tablet, get the ebook version of your book if it’s available. It’s easier to hold and you can rock your baby and read, grab a quick bite to eat and read, or take walks and read.
- Again, very important especially once the baby arrives: Take time for yourself. Even if it’s a face mask while you do homework. I’ve even taken my laptop to the nail salon to get a pedicure. Take time to do things you enjoy!
- Plan ahead. This now more than ever is going to be crucial to your success while in your program.
It seems crazy and as I’m reading over this it sounds like I take no time to bond with our baby, but I totally do! I just know how important it is to me to finish. It is possible, and it will be stressful at times, but the more planning ahead you do the better off you’ll be. Definitely ask for help. If you have a support system, don’t be afraid to ask for an hour or so to work on your assignments. For example, every Sunday evening I go to my parents. It gives them time with the baby and I have time to finish assignments. I’m not sure if this list will help or if it just helps knowing someone else is going through it, too, but you can do it all. I promise!
Best of luck to you in school and in your pregnancies/motherhood journeys!