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  1. #1
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    Smile Mums & Dads juggling work and study

    Hello,

    I'm new to the forum and am due to have my first child in April this year. I'm working full time at the moment, but next year when I go back to work, I'll be working on a part time basis 3 days a week. I wanted to find out the experiences of other Mums & Dads who are working and studying at the same time. I intend to commence online study next year (my work has a study program and pays staff to do this) which will probably require at least 6 hours effort a week. My husband intends to do some study as well.

    How do you manage the family/work/study balance? Any tips for making it easier? I think I can do it but hopefully some of you can say it can be done! A woman I work with point blank said I couldn't do it and discouraged me from even trying when I told her what my intentions were, but I think that has something to do with not wanting me to advance (mind you, she's 20 years older and has 2 kids, aged 4 & 8).

    The whole reason I'm planning to undertake study is so I can get ahead and better our financial security in the long run. I'm 29.

  2. #2
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    Hi Sholmes,

    First of all, congrats on your pregnancy good on you for thinking ahead to your family's future.

    Yes, you CAN do what you are saying but whether you will want to do it all once the baby arrives is another thing.

    I work fulltime (oops - and sneak a peak at bubhub every now and then). My husband also works fulltime. My son is at home with my MIL two days per week and at daycare 3 days per week.

    I thought this was a great solution and would be a piece of cake....but I never knew how much I would miss my little boy during the day. I now have a job where I work from home so I get to have more flexible hours with him at daycare and am home with him (and MIL as I am still needing to work) more often and it is now working well.

    Personally, I couldn't imagine studying as well. I find that running a household, with an active toddler and a heavy fulltime career is full-on. After baby has gone to bed at night and we have had dinner, I really just want to curl up on the couch....

    But you can do it ! And I'm sure you'll adapt if your priorities change after bubs arrival.
    Good Luck !!

  3. #3
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    Hi Shomes
    You can do both, but it can be difficult and you'll need to be organised. As RMum said, you may find that your priorities change too. I thought before DD1 arrived that I'd go back to full time work within 6 - 12 months, but I haven't worked full time since. I also thought that it would be possible to work (or study) at home with the baby, but unless yours sleeps for long stretches during the day - I don't think it can be done. You need someone to look after the baby, even if you are there.

    I work part time now (3 days/week) and love it - it suits our family fine. I pay someone to clean once a fortnight so that we minimise our housework when we are at home. I try to organise very easy meals (like reheated curry) for the days when I work.

    One thing that I would say is organise care for your child now. I'm not sure where you are, but it isn't at all unusual for ppl to book daycare spots while they are pg, as it can take more than a year to get your spot.

    The one thing that I don't have an answer for is working when your kids are sick. I am lucky in that much of the time, my work is flexible and can be done at home. Somedays DH stays home with a sick kid. There are somedays when neither DH or I can really stay home, I have called my mother in emergencies twice and got her to take the day off. I have thought of calling friends, but don't think it fair to expose their children to my sick kids. I don't really have a solution there.

    I wish you luck, it certainly can be done - but its also OK to change your mind. You need to find the answer that suits your family.

    Cheers

  4. #4
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    Hi
    I too thought that I would go back to work full time at 6 months and would look at some study while I was at home. Instead I took 12 months off and went back 4 days a week, then 8 months off and am back 3 days a week. Three days a week provides a fantastic balance for my family but I have certainly found that my priorities have changed dramatically since having a baby.

    I think that you could work and do on-line study and have a baby but it will only work if you have good support in place, including a partner who can help out with the house and the baby. You also need to be prepared to defer starting it if you find that you aren't ready to take it on - if you go in with a flexible approach you should be fine. And being really organised helps too!

    Good luck with it all!

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    LOL it sounds like the Mum you spoke to was telling you what SHE couldn't do, not what you can't do!
    Provided, as others have advised, you can get support from your partner and or extended family you can do it.
    I currently have an almost 8 year old, 5 year old and 3.5 year old. I'm doing a degree part time and having baby number 4 in March, just after uni goes back! My DH and I work it so that he get's all his work done on certain days of the week
    (lucky for us he is flexible), then I go to lectures- one at night which is good because he'll definately be home for that. When I want to study he pops the kids in the bath, or takes them out to play and has some good Daddy time with them. Sometimes it's a big like tag team in our house but the kids get lot's of one on one from both of us and we still manage to hang out together a bit

    When I had my first child that was my focus and my life. It is life changing and some of us choose to take that extra time off... I too felt I would want to get back to work after number 1 but I didn't at all, instead just soaking up the joy of motherhood and getting pregnant again!

    Find out if the course you wish to do offers units of external study, you might find it easier in the short term.

    Best of luck

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    Smile Thank you all...

    Thank you all for your words of advice and encouragement! I'm sure I will get through what I want. I'm a pretty skilled juggler!!

    I'm lucky that my husband's job is quite flexible and he often works from home, sometimes he goes to meetings for a couple of hours in the day and the rest is free. My mum will be on hand to assist as well and she has volunteered to do up to a couple of days care when I go back to work. I will have a balance of childcare from my mum and probably 1 day of daycare or nanny share. I live in the Eastern Suburbs in Sydney and it is pretty hard to get a regular spot at a centre. You almost have to get on the list way before you even think about having a baby! 18 months is the current waiting list period for most places around here.

    It really helps to know others are in the same boat and trying really hard!!

  7. #7
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    I went back to work part time, 3 days a week, when DD was around 4-5 months old. Working part time was challenging at times, and frustrating when DH would be away for work or busy with sport activities. It really makes a difference when you have someone around to help out.

    Last year I went back to Uni part time, 1 course at a time, while still working part time. DD would have been around 15 months at the time. I think I was crazy (and still am, since I'm still doing it! ) I had been out of school for over 10 years and found it difficult to adjust to studying again. I also found it hard to devote the time to studying when I was tired in the evening and what I really wanted to do was relax after working, cleaning, looking after DD, etc. I found that taking courses internally and actually attending lectures & tutorials was easier than doing them externally and having to make myself set time aside to study and listen to the lectures - studying externally it is easier to let things slide for a week or two and then you can end up in trouble trying to catch up. Also I found I just didn't learn the subject material as well on my own compared to if I been able to participate in group discussions at tutorials. But some external courses set up web-based discussions, mine just didn't.

    Good luck with it!


 

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