So for those of you don’t know, I have a teenager! An “it’s not fair” eats me out of house and home, no concept of money, sleep in till mid-day teenager. And for over the past three years I have been a single parent.
So how do I juggle full time student and full time mum??
Time keeping and caffeine! That is my only answer. Yes it’s hard, you plan and something crops up, you have an exam, school call your child is at A&E with a broken leg. But let’s look at the other side for a moment.
I worked, Monday through to Friday, 9-5, the job was fine, but that was it, fine. Was I passionate or cared or could have a career from it? No! So I have to take control. And three years isn’t that long in the grand scheme.
I am lucky, in that my child is older, can use the school bus without me and she does sleep through the night! I could talk to her, explain that I need to do this for me and (post moaning and a GBK visit) everything was okay.
The hardest thing is budgeting. I have learnt that no teenage girl has any concept of money, let alone living off a student income. But there is help! you need to ask about grants, funding and bursary’s, tax credits and single parent child benefit, help with council tax and rent (if applicable). It’s all there; you just have to ask about it. Here at staffs we have a great nursery for little ones – a girl on my course uses it for her child.
For older children, I’d recommend “study time”. In my house we have always had homework hour, so this then became the time when I would work. Lots of books are available on “read to you versions”, so play them in the car, or when ironing, you’d be surprised how much goes in! Or younger children, when they have a nap, take that time to do a bit.
All you are really doing is replacing your job with study. That’s how I have looked at it. I swapped pleasure reading for literature that compliments my course. OK, I found my routine was a little different, as I’d get home earlier some times, but other than that, everything has been the same. I pay bills upfront now, like an annual TV licence and water rates when I get my Student finance.
Any parent knows children are really good at adapting; it’s just about getting in a routine. And the sooner you do that the easier things become. I can hand on heart say it’s the returning to education and coming to Staffordshire university is the best move I have made in my life – except divorce maybe.
Even better I’ll get to celebrate with my graduation with my child being there. How about that as an inspiration for you to give your child? I understand the fear though, the questions and nerves, I heard some at the Step-Up Awards night. But if you have any questions please speak to someone, don’t let it put you off. There is an answer to everything!