A little babble and sneeze just came out of the bed room from the supposedly napping baby J. I started homework for the day, meaning rolled back the rug so I don’t get charcoal on it and now here I am back on the goddamn internet. Writing bloggy thoughts is more productive than Jezebel (BEYONCE MIGHT BE PREGGO AGAIN?!) so here I am. Yesterday at school, I went to this forum about Student Parents. It was inspiring, heart warming, all the things, and then finally someone got down to it and said what everyone was thinking: I just wish we had a daycare. I guess there used to be a Early Headstart on campus, until there was some renovation and it had to move and there wasn’t a space for it to move back into. The current plan for the college is to secure private funding (getting funding from the state has not been fruitful, big surprise), like 2 million dollars, to build a new building and run a daycare. Meaning it won’t be happening in my semester here, or in the near future. And although “no one is against having a daycare” it just does not seem like a priority.
Um hello people, THIS is the way that people can change their life circumstances. Convenient childcare so they can not only go to class, but have actual time and space to do homework. Knowledge is power, but knowledge cannot happen with constant “mom mom mom mom mom mom” or baby pulling lamps over their little heads.
I am lucky to have lots of family support. I am so happy that family can take my daughter during class and for some homework time. Not everyone has family living close (um like upstairs) and not everyones family can take the time to watch baby and with those luxaries, I have a good amount of homework and vast amounts of time alone with Jolene. Here are my tips thus far for studying with baby. (Studying with 3 year old? Dang, I will get back to you on that one…)
1. Try everything to delay your babe from crawling because thats when (I hear) everything gets crazy and studying goes down the toilet. JUST KIDDING. You should never try to stunt your child’s development to fit your schedule duh. But you can hope in a tiny corner of your mind you get a late crawler.
2. Hire a mothers helper. Lots of 10-12 year old kids are great with babies a little too young to actually babysit. My wonderful family friend/ mothers helper comes over once a week and I get a solid hour of homework in without having to pump milk.
3. Tack on studying after class. If you are going to class and have a little time before you have to be home/ pick up baby, hop right to the library and do the homework for the class you just had. The material is fresh in your mind. Many people on the panel I went to found they did their best and most focused work at school, not at home where there are 200 million distractions.
4. I haven’t done this yet but BOOKS ON TAPE. I usually don’t advocate for multi tasking, but you can get reading done in the car, going for a stroller walk, or just hanging out on the floor playing with the little one. There are lots at the library, and interlibrary loan is your best friend. (edit. wow I just realized I called them books on tape. Hello it is not 1997 because you are not seven years old. I ment to say “audio books.”)
5. Get ahead. I know it sounds impossible, but if you have finished your chapter and baby is still napping, start on the next one. I always try to be a chapter ahead so if I have some sort of baby crisis, the homework is done.
6. Talk to professors before stuff falls apart. This is kind of obvious, but make sure your professor knows you have child(ren). Particularly at a community college or non traditional student program where many folks have children/ jobs, professors are usually very understanding and helpful. If you are late with something and you have a legitimate “my baby blah blah…” thing that happened, it will sound like an excuse. No one likes to hear excuses.
7. Find someone else with kids and childcare swap. I haven’t done this yet either, but meet up with someone for two hours. You each have an hour to study and an hour to watch both babes. Boobs will be close by for nursing if needed.
8. Sit on the floor and do homework with your baby. I don’t like “not being present” with Jolene, but the work has to be done. I give her a stack of books so she doesn’t grab mine. I try to frame it this way- her seeing me doing schoolwork shows her that we value learning in our family.
9. Get off the internet. Get it done. Oh yeah that means me…