Grad school starts back up this week. I started this past spring and took three classes on campus at The George Washington University. I am still in shock that I survived the semester, despite having major surgery right smack dab in the middle of it, and having to finish the last six weeks via correspondence classes.
Basically, I was a hot mess before I landed in the hospital. I am excited and anxious for my classes to begin. I was able to switch to a fully online program, so I can continue at GW (and not lose the classes I started there). It’s not easy to balance motherhood, homeschooling, work, and college, but it is possible.
Sanity-saving tips for moms in college
Avoid the stores as much as possible.
My number one lifesaver has been Amazon Prime Student– it’s completely free for the first six months when you sign up with your .edu email address, and it saves me hours and hours of time each month. I use the Subscribe and Save service to get all of the items we use every month (diapers, toilet paper, the Izzy soda I love so much, pens, printer paper) and get it all delivered to my door without having to think about it at all. I set up the service before the semester started, and I know I won’t run out of the things I need, I get to save 15% and I don’t need to think about it at all.
I also use Amazon Pantry to get the dry food and toiletries our family needs. I can re-order the exact same boxes month after month if I need, which helps save a ton of time. In these boxes, I get items like baking mixes, easy dinners, toothpaste, seasonings, and tons more.
Shopping takes so much time and energy- if I can avoid it, I do.
Cut yourself some slack.
One of the biggest things I have struggled with while trying to balance so many different obligations is feeling like I am a good mom. It’s hard for me to look at my day and admit that I really don’t have all that much time to go somewhere fun or goof off. I have to be really purposeful, so often that means I take the time to bake muffins with the kids first thing and have a big breakfast with them (we all have to eat no matter what, so it makes sense to combine fun family time and meal time) or to do more fun and messy hands-on activities during the homeschool day. I want the kids to feel like I played with them and we all had a good time together before I need to check out to work or to study.
When it is time to for me to check out, I don’t feel guilty at all handing the kids their Kindles or turning on the TV for them. Our Amazon Prime Student membership gives the kids access to tons of educational TV shows and family movies, so they can stay busy and entertained while I do the things I need to do.
No shame in this game…
Make meal time easier.
Meal planning is something I tend to struggle with (partly because I am really tired and feel like I have no time to cook, and partly because I am a terrible cook). If I don’t meal plan, I do things like order take out multiple times a week or feed the kids granola bars for dinner. Meal planning is just something we have to do.
There are multiple subscription services, apps and blogs that will send you meal plans each week, and then all you need to do is go to the store once (or, send your spouse, or order online) and you’re ready to go for the week.
Order textbooks online.
I can get all the books I need for class on Amazon Prime Student- all I need is the ISBN number, and I can find dozens of new and used books. I love being able to save hundreds of dollars, and the gas and time it would take to travel to the bookstore.
Ask for help.
This is important. You can not do all the things alone. You just can’t. Hire a mother’s helper. Ask someone to watch the kids once a week so you can take a date night. Check out every Saturday morning to go study at Starbucks.
You. Can. Not. Do. This. Alone.
Actually, you probably could, because most moms have super powers that allow them to get things done, but it isn’t healthy or fun to go it alone. So ask for help, often. You have someone (your spouse, your mother, your friend, your neighbor, that drop-in daycare gal) in your life who can and will step up when you need them to. All you have to do is ask, and maybe pay them in chocolate (and sometimes cash).
Set a plan.
I am a planner. I love to have all of my to-dos written down in a tidy list so I don’t forget anything. One thing I have learned while trying to balance school and everything else is that when I am tired by brain no longer holds any useful information. I just can’t get by without writing things down. Get a planner and give it a go!
If you are a mom in college, you do not want to pass on this- you can get Amazon Prime Student free for the first six months, and then it’s only $49 dollars a year after that (half the cost of a typical Prime membership). You’ll get access to tons of videos and TV shows over their streaming service, savings and special deals just for students, photo storage, discounted textbooks and so much more.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.