Parenting, university and real life!

Parenting, university and real life!

During February, I took part in an internship as part of my university course.  Now juggling the needs of a very grown up toddler with coursework commitments and so on is tough.  Adding something on top of that showed me what real-life will be like once I’ve graduated.

At the moment, we’re in a great cycle of Lily’s childcare fitting in neatly around my lectures, so we still get half the day to do something together as a family.  During my internship, I learnt how different life is going to be.  We’ll need to practically double our child care, and the days Matt is away working are going to be even more complicated.

Internships are meant to show you what you can expect from a career once you leave university and the expectations that will fall on you.  For me, it felt like a trial run for juggling two careers (Matt’s included), parents’ evenings, household chores and career commitments.  I feel like I need to be similar to a balance artist form the circus.

In light of this, I have come up with three key points that I think will help.


Confirming appointments

Confirm everything at least five days in advance, then again the day before.  This gives you time to not only change childcare arrangements, but also plan ahead with all your commitments.  Knowing where you need to be and when is vital, but if something falls through and you get an extra hour to seize, you can make it really count.  For this, a diary is essential.  We all have them on our phones, but I’ve found a hard copy better.  In my area, signal drops in and out so much that I can’t rely on my phone to keep updated.  An added extra for this can also be writing contact numbers next to appointment entries just in case!


Group chats

I love a good, useful group chat on platforms such as Whatsapp.  At university we have them for group work assignments, but for parents, they can be great between the parents and babysitter.  That way there is no confusion over confused conversations or missed information for everyone.  It’s there for each party to see and respond to.  For example, if Lily is being looked after by a family member or family friend, Matt and I can both keep in touch and see if any plans change without having to be called out of meetings.  Texts are more discreet than phone calls – though both are technically unacceptable in work meetings, but you get the idea.


Pre-prepared meals

At 6pm after long days at work and so on, no one really feels in the mood to cook. Try and take an hour or two on a weekend to pre prepare meals for busy days for the freezer.  Dishes such as lasagne, Shepherd’s pie and pasta bake can all be reheated well and fit perfectly in small takeaway dishes.  If you own a slow cooker, then this can also be a great way to get dinner started early and ready for when everyone gets home and the end of long and lately, very cold day.

With everything else in parenting (and studying) this has been a learning curve.  If you’re studying at university and juggling parenthood, don’t shy away from the possibility of internships.  At university they are marketed as great work experience, but for parent-students, it’s a great opportunity to test timings and childcare arrangements.  Take this trial-run chance if you get an offer – it’s more than valuable.

Creator and writer for the Young Mummy Survival Guide, a blog aimed at helping younger mothers from the view of a younger mother. Currently studying PR, media and marketing in Canterbury, Kent.

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