Wednesday, 26 November 2014

FAO: Students - How To Study With Kids

I don't know what's changed in the last few weeks, could be because it is my last year of my undergraduate degree, changing jobs, my kids getting that bit bigger - but I've been a lot more stressed lately. Being a student and a parent is taking it's toll.

People ask me how I do it. I'm very flattered when people say this. But this is my answer. This is how to study with three children.
Now to set the scene, my girls are aged 11, 3 and 1. I work part time too, because let's face it - it's pretty usual for students to be on the breadline and I am no different. I do my degree part time and this is the gruelling sixth year. So here you go, this is how I do it. In instructive future progressive simple tense, so I can distance myself from it enough to write about it.

Or whatever.


Pretty much forget it. You won't be able to understand what you are reading. If it's your day off work Bananas in Pyjamas will be on in the background, the sink will most likely be filled with dishes and you'll probably have lots of home admin to do. Examples are:

a) Transfer money to the school account for Design Technology Materials. It's only £20 but you were going to use this for your train to Uni. Nevermind, you'll beg or borrow,

b) Transfer money to your daughter's Pay account  for her school dinner. You have been meaning to do it for a while, she's a fussy eater and you've had to make her tuna and pasta for days. What happened to a usual ham butty and a packet of cheese and onion?

On top of this at least one of the younger babies will be looking at you saying that they "want cheese" - it's not until you have cut up some cheddar that you realise they wanted to "brush teeth."

Oh yes, reading,

If you're in work, best to read on the bus. In fact, that's pretty much the only time you will get to read. You can't do it in work and when you get home, cook, clean, brush congealed yoghurt out of your babies hair you are too tired.


Be very careful with these. DO NOT leave them unattended for any amount of time, or you'll spend the rest of the week plucking bits of paper out of Buzz Lightyear's wings and sellotaping them back into the book. The kids will think this is funny. DO NOT smile, do not react. And if you have any energy do shout at them and tell them that ripping (or indeed scribbling) in books is "not nice."

See, I can do PC.

Going To Uni

I would usually say "forget it." But really you should go.  Just make sure that everything is in place before you go. Is there milk in? Have you got your books together? Has a wash been done? Your partner may be more than equipped to deal with all this, but trust me, there is no way that you will want to leave the house if any of these things is left because:

a) You are already sh*tting yourself about your academic ability - what if your opinions are just crap? Don't bother going stay at home and clean up. Ignore these voices and just go. You'll be fine.

b) You will hate to come back to a pig sty. If the kids have missed you you'll feel guilty instead of empowered and enlightened by your knowledge.

Guilt, oh the guilt. Prepare for that to hit you like a ton of bricks. Sorry.


Write them in your head. Seriously. You won't get many chances to sit at your laptop, and when you do it is likely that a small child will be tugging on your hand asking to watch grown adults unwrap egg surprises on Youtube.

So write them in your head for a few weeks.

Then one day, when you feel ready ask someone to take the kids out for eight hours. It will probably be somewhere really exciting like town for a nice dinner, Taskers to buy a new mirror or just Pets at Home.Well anything will seem more exciting than the prospect of eight hours shut away.

This is the time you have for writing. If you mess this up, then it's on your own time. And by your own time I mean the hours of 10pm - 5am. Yes, you may just have to do one of those stints.

Work Space

Forget it.

100% forget it.

So there's the answer, that's how I do it. I don't know.


  1. I am already struggling and I am only doing an Access course at the moment before starting my degree next year. And through OU at that so not even really proper University. But I think I am struggling because I basically have a degree in procrastination. See, I should be studying now. It's the only day this week I have the whole day (well 9-3) to study. And I am here. And on eBay. And Amazon... Maybe I should have gone to actual Uni after all...

  2. That photo of you with your daughter on your lap is just hilarious! x


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