Nursing student and mom, how to juggle

  1. I start my nursing program in the fall and I've been working at this for 5 yrs... I am beyond ecstatic about it still kind of in shock too, i feel mentally prepared for the program itself, but what I'm nervous about is how to juggle school and my family. I need to put school first without actually putting my kid on the back burner...i have been told by nurse friends that i have to make a plan and stick to it... Library/study time and family time. At this rate i am willing to do whatever it takes to get thru it because i know thats the hardest part. Any advice on what will make it easier... Or anyone else gone thru or going thru the same thing?
  2. Visit lala2017 profile page

    About lala2017

    Joined: May '14; Posts: 13; Likes: 4
    Admin assistant/CNA; from US


  3. by   akulahawkRN
    First off, make a plan and stick to it. Don't feel like you have to handle everything because you don't. If you can pass responsibility for certain household tasks to someone else, do it. Master Jugglers know how many things they are able to juggle at one time and they know that if you give them more stuff to juggle, they'll put some stuff aside for later. Don't be afraid to put stuff down so that you're only juggling that stuff you must. Those other things can be picked up by someone else. Let them.

    Make time available for YOU and make sure you build into your schedule time for you to study away from home if you must. Coffee shop or library works well. At first, figure you'll spend 2-3 hours studying per unit hour. So, if your class(es) are 12 units, expect to put in between 24 and 36 hours per week studying. Do that the first Semester and vary what you need as you go along. If you get your schedule and reading assignments early, start the reading as soon as possible. You do NOT want to be behind because it's not easy or fun to catch back up to "current" stuff.

    The questions on the exam will be very different from what you're used to. You will have to know the material in order to come up with the correct answer, but rarely will the correct answer be super directly obvious... or even close to verbatim from the book.

    This is going to be an interesting ride, full of stress (good and bad) and you'll be challenged like never before.

    Just never forget to take care of YOU first.
  4. by   lala2017
    Thank you, definitely needed to hear that. I know its going to be stressful and im prepared for it. I know that the time away i spend from my family now will only better our lives in the future.
  5. by   michelleh913
    I am also a mother and a nursing student. I do a lot of planning each session/ week/ day, to be able to incorporate the things I need. I try to pre-plan my ideal weeks with a weekly planner, so I know how much time I have left over after class, commute, work, etc. (I use this one and color code the blocks). Then use a calendar to keep track of all assignments, appointments, special dates, etc. to help me not forget. I do rely a lot on family for assistance because I have to commute and leave in the mornings before my son is able to leave for school or get picked up on some evenings. I try to utilize my down time efficiently: the hour between dropping off my son at school and going to work, I study at the park; any quiet time to quiz myself I go for it.

    Take it slow, try not to take on to much at once. Get any assignments out of the way when you can, and try to keep up on studying.
  6. by   lala2017
    Thats a good one. Im pretty organized , so i just need to set up a plan...i dont have all the details of my program yet so im waiting for all the pieces.
  7. by   akulahawkRN
    While you're waiting, get everyone used to the idea that things will be different around the home. Start gathering your resources, even though they're not going to be needed yet, so that they're also on-board with your plans and so they understand that they may be needed on short notice after a certain date.

    Since you're starting school, you may have been given deadlines for things to submit to your program or thing to have ready to turn in on your first day. Make sure that you get those things done so that you don't have to stress about not having that stuff done/ready as you approach your deadlines.

    The calendar idea is a very, very good one. My program supplied us with a semester calendar and we made modifications to it along the way. If yours doesn't, or you want to roll your own, that's great too! Make sure you have all your due dates, exam dates, clinical dates, and so on all written down ahead of time. It helps to refer to that calendar often too. I lived and (never died) because I remembered to update and reference my calendar.

    I have a google account and I use their calendar app to keep track of most of my major activities, and there is a way to set up recurring activities that end on a certain date too. Since school lecture, lab, clinical prep, and clinical times were all recurring, it was easy to get that all set up for the semester and also helped make planning other things easier too.

    The biggest thing that badly thumps nursing students is disorganization. You can be completely disorganized in other aspects of your life but do NOT allow yourself to become disorganized in matters regarding school. That will bring about a most horrible fail...
  8. by   RunBabyRN
    There are a bunch of threads here with this topic, as many of us are moms. I know for me, I really had to figure out what my priorities were and what I could allow to slip through the cracks. My house, now that I've graduated, is a complete disaster, and I am slowly getting my way through it one project at a time. But my son (age 5) still loves me, I did very well in school, I have a fantastic job offer (once I pass the NCLEX), and my husband and I survived.

    My tips:
    Time management is huge. Make it all count. This will likely be exhausting, honestly.
    Figure out what works for you for studying. For me, I HAVE to leave the house. HAVE to.
    Figure out how you will manage your stress. You NEED something that is just for you to decompress. For me, it's running. Find a way to fit it in, as this MUST be a priority.
    Meal planning. 'Nuff said.
    Large cooler. Carry your food with you to school, clinicals, study sessions, whatever. This will save you money and calories, and will save you time trying to search for somewhere to eat. That said, get a registered Starbucks card, because you'll be earning those stars and earning free drinks. Yup.
    My husband and I text each other every little thing that comes up, like when he meets with the dog trainer or a customer, and I tell him when I'm meeting with my study group or am volunteering with my son's school. We each have our own way of tracking our calendars (him on his computer, me on a paper planner), so a quick text allows us to get it in where we need to. We also have one in the kitchen that we each update every couple of days with everything going on.
    I try to study with my son, but it's hard. Sometimes we'll read together outside on our porch, but this is usually for a much shorter period than I really need.
    Carry study materials everywhere. Everywhere.
    Rally up the troops. A friend you can call if your kid is sick and your SO has to be at work. Someone who you can call and cry to when you're on the verge of a breakdown. Someone who can fold your laundry. Whatever help you can get.
    Schedule a date night with your SO whenever possible.
    Schedule a day at the beach/park/whatever with your kid when you have a slow moment. Even just a couple of hours of fun makes a difference. For this, ignore my rule about carrying study materials everywhere. This also applies to date night.
    You will likely feel like the "every other weekend" parent (or at least I did), in that you make every moment count by doing fun things when you're together and feeling like you're absent for everything else. Be honest with your kid. I've held my son and told him how much I miss him when I'm at school and how much I wish I could be here more. I think that honesty helps him to know that I'd love to be with him more. I have also kept him abreast to how much longer school is and such, and give him things to look forward to. I also keep my word.
    Tuck your kid in every night you possibly can. This is a special time that we don't have for much longer!

    Good luck!
  9. by   Dohardthings
    I have 8 children and just finished first semester. 3 hours for every credit hour is what I put in. I had 15 credit hours but was in class really 21 and spent 60 hours total a week. My husband had the brunt of the work because he only worked 40 hours a week and I made the weekly time with family, weekly time for husband, and weekly time for me, or at least I tried. I did get 2 A's and 2 A-'s.

    What helped. for a family calender. I cooked a ton of freezer meals beforehand and then my husband cooked 3 batches of Saturday's dinner (1 to eat and 2 to freeze) and 3 batches of Sunday's dinner (again 1 to eat and 2 to freeze). Friday nights were pizza night. So with the previous frozen dinners there was a wide variety of dinners to put in the oven or slow cooker Monday through Thursday. I would make and divide all my proteins for my lunch salad and freeze them so they were ready to go.

    What also helped were study buddies that could fit my schedule. If I had to meet them somewhere it would motivate me to study because quite honestly, you get sick of all the work at about week 3.

    Good Luck! You can do this and it can be done!
  10. by   Dohardthings
    PS. I showed my hubby this video and it helped him prepare.
  11. by   lala2017
    Thanks that was a great reply!!
  12. by   aeris99
    I use Cozi too. I've had it for almost 2 years now. Best app I've vet bought!
    Weed through your house now and cut down on any junk you can.
    Best of luck
  13. by   Stitch3296
    Having a large calendar on the refrigerator with everyone's schedule color coded. Including when I have tests coming up. Also keeping my study materials with me when I take the kids to their activities so I find ways to squeeze in extra time to read or study. I tried freezer meals, but my family generally wouldn't eat them so they ended up being a waste of time for us. The thing I found that does work is having fruits and veggies cut up in the fridge and having them help cook dinner or for the younger ones planning. We also keep dinner simple and have breakfast for dinner a lot more than we used to. My house is messier than I like it to be, by a lot. But I've learned they don't like it either and are starting to participate more in keeping it clean. I just got them each a laundry basket and they are in charge of their own laundry, even the 7 year old. The biggest thing for me was to find what works for me, I spent the 1st quarter trying to go to all the study groups and manage kids, household, etc. That was too much and I had a lot of guilt when I couldn't maintain study group. For 2nd quarter I found a couple mom's in my class who felt the same way. We study together by sometimes meeting, but mostly by texting questions and checking in that way. All 3 of us have better grades now than when we were trying to make study groups work.

    I didn't want my kids to have to sacrifice their activities for my school, so I spend a lot of time reading/studying in the car so I make sure to have something with me at all times just in case the time presents itself to study!
  14. by   Mommy_RN1211
    I agree with most of the mommas up here. I only have 1 son but he is in the "momma attached toddler stage." So getting anything done is impossible with him around. I made sure to make my son the first priority when I could (even if that meant making plans for my husband with my son so collectively he was the top priority.) I also have a job that allows me to study at work so that helps. I am moving on to the next semester so it must have worked out some how. Good luck, you will do fine!