Is it possible to go back to university with two kids under four? Yes, but you will be very busy. Just look at the last time I posted something on this blog. A week before I started.
I wanted to show my kids what it is like to achieve something you really want. I wanted to show my kids how you do not need to spend the rest of your life doing something you don’t love. If the opportunity arises, CHANGE and you will be happy.
If you’re wondering if it can be done, I say yes, but be ready to work hard. Real hard. My program was only nine months, though. I am not sure I could have done two to four years of this. Actually, I am fairly certain it would have been a bit much.
The most important thing is that my kids were happy. They knew I was in school and was very busy, but when I was with them, I was with them 100%. Not that I would be able to get any work done with them around anyway, but still. They were in daycare from around 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. From 4 to 8 p.m., I didn’t even think of school, I just spent time with them. Once they were in bed at 8 p.m., I was glued to my laptop. On weekends, I found that I had an easier time getting assignments done than my peers who had older children, because mine still nap from 1 to 3 in the afternoon. If I needed to do some extra work, my husband took the kids outside to play.
Second thing, I managed to get great grades! With a little guy who wasn’t even close to sleeping through the night the first few months of school. I totally underestimated myself going into this.
Here are a few tips, if you are thinking of going back to school.
1. If you don’t have family around, have plans A, B and C for illnesses. We don’t have family in town, but my husband and I knew that I couldn’t really miss classes and exams. We were very lucky that everyone stayed relatively healthy. I kept waiting for a gastro bug to hit the house, but am grateful that it never did! Luckily, my husband can work from home every once in a while and I generally had just one class a day, so he’d stay for the duration of my class, and I would take over. Still amazed at how few times we had to do this, though.
2. This is how my priorities had to go if I wanted to succeed : 1) Family. Always first. 2) Grades 3) Sleep 4) Social life 5) Me. I know it’s not the best idea to put yourself last, but I didn’t have a choice. Otherwise, grades would have suffered for sure. Grades and sleep are almost at the same level. I worked as hard as I could, but I did not pull all-nighters. I was usually in bed by 11 or midnight at the latest. One night, it was past 1 a.m., but it was the one time I had a 40+ page paper that was printing. On weekends, I almost never refused friends’ invitations, but I did need one day per weekend where I would work on my assignments. That’s why I came last. I barely had time to shower. Shopping, watching TV or movies and reading anything that wasn’t school related was practically out of the question. Definitely no blogging, though I missed it so much.
3. Be organized. Be very organized. I had the kids clothing stacked up on Sunday with five outfits, with everything from shirts to underwear. Tell yourself you WILL get through this. There were never-ending weeks when I had 5 things to hand in, but I managed to do it all. You get into a routine, even if it’s a extremely busy one. I still had time to wash cloth diapers every two days. We meal-planned, as we always have. We never had to order in or eat out, and we ate healthy food like we always have. My husband prepped a lot of the meals when the kids were in bed.
3. Your relationship has to be strong. It won’t be easy for you or for your partner. I owe part of my degree to him, that’s for sure.
It was all worth it, though. I am happy that my kids have watched me follow a dream. I was very worried about this not working out, but it will be the best thing ever for us. This career will allow me to spend more time with them as well. Good luck to anyone who is thinking of going back to school!!
Ps: As a much-deserved break, I am back with the kids full-time until my oldest starts school (how did that happen?) in September.