Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Students: Time Management with Children

I often get emailed requests of things to write about. This is one that I have been putting off for a while because I haven't had the bloody time I'm not too sure how I manage my time. It is probably a bit unorthodox the way I do it, but it has worked for six years now through my undergrad degree with the Open University and for the first year of my post grad. I'll list some tips below as to how I do it, you might find it useful you might just think I am bonkers for doing all this.  Whichever.

If you haven't read this blog before, this is just a place where I record our family life and order my thoughts. Sometimes spill my guts. I have three children aged 13, 5 and 3 and I also work part time in the Pharmacology department at the university. So here are some studying time-management tips:

1) Be Realistic

If you have kids around your ankles for some/all of the time the chances are you can't even go to the toilet in peace. It's true. I've been there and I am still in that situation. Don't set yourself up to fail by setting unattainable revision/study goals. Take it in bite-sized chunks. If the baby sleeps, just do half an hour. When I have deadlines I will admit to fobbing off the kids with the telly. Don't feel guilty about this, you do what you have to do. Having said that I do try to keep that to the minimum because aside from it being a little bit guilt-inducing, you can never get much bloody work done anyway because they will always want a drink/snack/cuddle/sit on your knee/wipe their bum. Delete as appropriate.

2) Public Transport

Oh hello the 19 bus from Kirkby to Liverpool. Oh how I love you. You helped me get my degree.

No, I'm not kidding. Public transport is EXCELLENT for giving you some reading time. The best thing is it is guilt-free, completely free time. If you weren't reading it would just be idle time anyway. On the way to work, I read. Find yourself a comfy seat (I prefer almost at the back, just over the wheel by the heater.) I carry a big bag and always have a choice of books. A Kindle is also ideal, but I hate reading on the screen I only do it if I have to. Yes, I'm over 30.

3) Timetable

The OU was brilliant for a timetable. It was very hand-holdy in that you knew exactly what you had to read for that week and you just ticked it off online as you go. Now I'm doing my MA I have to be a bit more self-sufficient and set my own stall out. I tend to know exactly what I plan on reading that week. I would say that I average about three books a week, but don't tell anyone because they will think I am lying and then I will feel awkward or think that maybe they think that I read three books a week so that I can escape from my children. Yes, I over-think things.... Just make a list of what you have to read each week. It will help you.

This is our notice board. *tuts*
4) Time For Yourself

Now I am an absolute stickler for work work work working. I am so driven it is untrue. The other day Warren asked me if I wanted to keep a stack of papers I'd left on the side of the chair. "Oh. Yes. I'll keep them - they're just those essays I failed." Warren looked at me like I had lost my mind. I didn't fail any of them, the scores were 69 and 68 or something and I was annoyed that they weren't 70. Oddly I'm not like that with my children - I just want them to try their best, but I am a terrible critic of myself. My point is, don't be like me. Chill out, have a treat, look after yourself. It is very easy to get burned out as a student with kids. I often feel put-upon. I find that Wine Friday helps. If you have to ask what Wine Friday is then please click that little red cross in the top right hand corner of your screen.


5) Love What You Do

Do you enjoy it?

If you don't enjoy what you're doing then please ... don't do it.  Sometimes I think my only escape is my uni work - I absolutely love it . I complain I am so busy of course I do, but if I won the lottery tomorrow I would seriously be a full time student. I think it's the love of it that keeps me going.

If you are a student and you want any more posts like this just give me a shout. I know I'm a sarcastic pain but I just found a free fifteen minutes to write this (and the free time came because my eldest daughter just stole my "slot" for a shower.)  Yes, I have a shower slot - what of it? If I don't have a shower slot then I don't shower because I am too busy and well...that's never a good thing.

I do have a lot of busy-person study tips up my sleeve though, I'm not saying they're brilliant but they work for me.


Pirate Festival on The Dock 2016

We might be a bit biased, but we absolutely love Liverpool. I have written about Liverpool days out many times - there is so much to see and do that I can't shout about it enough. We are very lucky to live, study and work in such an amazing place.
This weekend we were really excited to go to the Pirate Festival on the Dock. The kids absolutely love getting out and about and seeing all kinds of different forms of entertainment, so this was absolutely perfect for them.

The Albert Dock is one of our favourite places to go in Liverpool. To us it represents to best of Liverpool as a port city - the water, the shops, the entertainment. We were taking about how there seems to be such a buzz around Liverpool lately especially around the dock.

The Pirate Festival was brilliant. We watched as pirates sailed their ship across the river and as they swashbuckled  and fought (and fell in the river!) The kids absolutely loved it. It was such a great show.

We had a lovely stroll around the Dock itself and had our lunch at a lovely place called Circo. We had never been to Circo before - it is a circus themed restaurant with performance on Saturday and Sunday evenings. As we attended in the afternoon there were no performances, but we had a good look at the circus paraphernalia around the restaurant! We both commented that this venue would be perfect for a hen do or a group night out. The food was great, and at a good price too. The kids menu was varied (they had pizza, as is pretty much the norm for them when we eat out!) It came with a drink, side and a dessert as well as a little bag of things to keep them entertained - a mask, spinning top and some colours to colour-in their menu.

Warren chose the lamb and I had pork belly. It was lovely. We had such a lovely time. Staff were friendly and helpful and offered to watch our table as the kids wanted to pop out to keep a check on the pirates!

A special mention also has to go out to our childhood telly presenter Dave Benson Phillips who was also playing the guitar and doing a show. Our kids loved and and danced to the Birdie Song. Come on, how many 80s kids remember him presenting "Get Your Own Back" ?

We loved our day out at the Albert Dock. There are always new and exciting events going on - definitely a family-friendly place with so much to do. We look forward to returning.

To keep up with events at the Albert Dock:


Visit the Albert Dock Website http://www.albertdock.com/ or follow them on Twitter @Albert Dock to keep up with the latest news and events.

Disclosure: Were we invited to enjoy our day out at Liverpool Albert Dock with a meal at Circo free of charge for the purpose of this article. All words and views are our own.

Disqus for Wife, Mum, Student Bum