Mum to a 1 year old AND a full time university student…

Uncategorized

I am not the only parent who studies, I wasn’t the first and I won’t be the last. It is so important to remember that just because a parent you know may make it look easy, it isn’t. Life as a parent is hard enough some days without chucking the extra pressure of deadlines and what feels like never ending reading but here are my thoughts or I guess things I implement to try make it that little bit easier…

I am a Swinburne Online student (SOL) and complete all my studies from home in my own time. I currently take on 9 units a year (8 units per year is considered full time for my degree) so I still have heavy workloads, assignment deadlines, online tests and exams just like a normal campus student. Studying correspondence takes discipline and motivation and it can be done if you really want it bad enough. I some how manage to do it with a baby, supporting and trying to put time into a new business with Luke, study a cert 3 and 4 in fitness on top of my degree and chucked in starting a blog.

Be realistic that it isn’t going to be easy

It will test you, it will push you and the chances are you will want to quit every time there is an assignment due. When I re-enrolled back into university after Mason I decided to do one subject so I could find my feet with a timetable, refresh myself on how to write assignments again and work out if the degree was right for me.

Universities are really helpful when you first start, if you tell them you haven’t studied in a while they should be able to offer you a unit to re-teach you academic writing skills and research and the bonus is, the unit is an elective and is apart of your degree (so you are not wasting you time or money!). I did an Academic Skills for Success so I could better prepare myself after being away from the workforce for a year and not having been at university since 2012.

This really gave me the confidence to go into TP1 2019 and commit to studying 3 units per TP. I thought about amping up to 4 units for TP2 2019 but opted against it as we are trying to juggle enough at the moment. If I can continue on with 3 units per TP I will be done Jan 2021 which really isn’t that far away but I understand that not everything may go to plan.

Planning

I am sure you have heard ‘planning is the key to success’ and truly for me it is. SOL posts unit previews for the up and coming teaching period anywhere from 1 week to 2 weeks prior, this will give an updated curriculum and assignment, online test and exam due dates with SOL students also gaining access to ‘Canvas’ (our units) the Thursday before Week 1 (which is a Monday).

This enables me to

  • Read the unit outlines to gain a better understanding of the unit and the learning outcomes
  • Read any past assignments before TP starts to get an idea of the content
  • Plan out my diary for the next three months and have a rough idea on how heavy the assignment workload is going to be
  • Plan my white board for assignment dates and collaborate sessions for the teaching period
  • Getting ahead of my readings with the 4 extra days given to us before the official start date
  • Create a rough study time table

I will go into further detail in another blog and show you what I actually do!

BIG TIP : If you can get ahead of your readings and get a head start on your assignments it will really help for the weeks when the kids are sick, your partner is working a heavy work week or you are just struggling to keep everything together and need a break.

When do I actually study?

Before starting my first TP it was really important for me that I allowed myself sufficient time to study so that when I was with Mason ,I was present with him and not staring at a computer screen. So we decided to enroll Mason into 2 days a week at day care so I could focus on my studies and he can be at school getting the full attention he deserves PLUS he is gaining great social and educational benefits. The days that he isn’t at day care I am with him giving him what he needs from me although I do use his nap times some days to squeeze in some extra research or get house hold chores done.

Once Mason is down in bed of the night I normally tidy the house, have a shower and then go study however this TP I may need to adjust this as Luke no longer works nights so last TP’s routine didn’t impact our time together and I really don’t want it to start.

If I am struggling to complete an assignment on time I ask Luke for extra support and he will either take Mason out for the day or he will just keep him entertained at the other end of the house. We are also very lucky that both of mothers will come to help as well as my two close girlfriends who just love having him. I know not everyone has this support either so if you do it solo I seriously commend you.  

Knowing it is ok to say no

This is such an important one for me because the guilt that used to come over me when I would say no to something or someone was pretty bad. If people are going to whinge and complain about you saying no because you are working on your goals to better your families situation or personal goals, it says more about them then it does about you. People who want you to succeed will support you and understand, these people are invaluable in your life.

TIP: it is ok to say no to studying for the day as well, don’t try to constantly squeeze 10 minutes of study in because you feel guilty if you haven’t looked at any course work. You will drive yourself mad!

Be organised

If you know me, you know it is very rare that you will come into my house being a mess or unorganised. I never spend long actually cleaning my house and it allows me the mental space to sit down and study without the ‘oh man I have dishes still to do’. Here are a few off my daily tips;

  • No dishes to be left over night
  • All toys to be put away before bath time
  • Clothes to go away as soon as they come in off the line
  • Put things away as you go
  • Power clean a couple times a day; pick up toys, tidy up the benches etc
  • Write a to do list
  • Use a diary to remind yourself of things you have agreed to
  • Ask for help if you need it
  • Eat healthy foods that increase your energy and mood
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Have down time so you don’t burn yourself out
  • Talk to someone if you are struggling with it all, you will feel better

Have a breather ..

Go out for a meal with friends

Catch up with a friend for coffee

A night out on the town with a vino in hand

Sit on the couch and watch your favorite TV show

Have a nap

A dip in the beach

Whatever it is, go do it with or without your little babes

Most importantly you must have some time to just do something for yourself, no kids (if you can) and no partner. It is so important to be happy in your own company.

My first step to a better life

Uncategorized

At 24 years old, I was filing for divorce, selling my house and thinking how the hell did I get here!?

Six years together, one year married and I felt like a complete failure. You hear people comment all the time that marriage doesn’t change anything ‘it is just a piece of paper’ and in my case it was exactly right. Marriage didn’t change anything because I had been in a toxic relationship for years and I left the marriage not knowing who I even was anymore.

It is so easy to sit there and say ‘I would never let that happen to me’  or ‘I would never let someone treat me like that’ but please don’t judge anyone who has been or still IS in a toxic relationship. It really is so hard to find the strength to leave when someone has worn you down so badly. I lived years of my life being told to get hit by a bus and die, having my clothes thrown out on the front lawn, joint money/savings to be transferred into his separate account over and over again. Having people in my house all the time, men that would disrespect me in my own home and even once a full grown man with his own family spit in my face. That night was the worst, his friend stood up for me and said it was unacceptable that he allowed me to be treated like that and then all of a sudden we were apparently sleeping together. Witnessing my Dad being punched in the face by him, having him yell in my sisters face with my fairly new niece in her arms because she called the cops after he had arrived home at 5.30am after drinking all night, telling me I couldn’t take my own car to get to work for a 6am start, just another typical episode. She lived with us and as much as it haunts me that she had to witness it all, I am so lucky she did because it was her and my niece that pulled me out it.

I coped so much abuse from his friends, his family because they couldn’t understand why I was the way I was but truth is they never really understood how bad it was or why I just wanted to stay away from everyone. I had pushed away close friends who told me to leave, guy friends because he always used to say ‘they just want to f##k you, I know how men think’ but worst off I distanced myself from my parents because my heart couldn’t handle telling them that they weren’t welcome to stay in my home because my husband didn’t like them. I couldn’t image Mason doing that to me, it ruins me just thinking about it.

I remember my mum sitting on the end of my bed one night as I cried telling me ‘one day you will wake up and all this pain will be gone’ and I didn’t believe a single word she said, I remember thinking that the pain in my chest was never going to go away. It had been months since making the decision to leave, the weight on my chest was still as heavy as the day I left. Was that because I regretted my decision? Most definitely not but I did expect this giant weight to automatically lift off my shoulders but it took me a lot longer to heal and process the years of control.

Although I was making steps to build a new life for myself, I guess i wasn’t prepared for the on going bullshit that came after. I have been a full time worker since I was 17 but I was constantly reminded that I didn’t earn as much money as he did (per week). However, he really did forget about all the time he spent in between jobs and that it was my consistent and stable income that was coming in. Money was always his driver, it was always an issue and it was always held over me. Nothing was ours, it was his and very rarely was my own money even mine although we ‘equally’ contributed to the mortgage, insurance, bills and assets such as cars etc. So as you can imagine when we split it was an absolute war zone on what belong to who, who had to pay who out, the money in the bank was an issue, the dog that had been by my side every day for 5 years and my sister’s all time favorite the famous ‘if you take my super, I’ll kill you’ comment.

Now all I wanted what was rightfully mine, hell I didn’t even want his super this comment was made one night while watching home and away a year before our split, it left my sister and I gob smacked. He was still in control, he thought he could control the division of assets to keep me thinking that I didn’t deserve what I had equally contributed to. I had to really push myself to fight for myself after all I worked hard for these assets. I am so glad I did because the day that house sold, that’s when the weight lifted off my shoulders, I was no no longer financially connected to him and I had the financial backing to walk away and start a new life.

The good and the bad are apart of life, I don’t regret anything in my life because everything I have been through has lead me here today. People come into your life to teach you something and then they leave, be grateful for when the bad leaves. Now don’t mistaken this for a slag off, I don’t think myself or others write about their toxic relationships to slag off friends, family or ex’s it is just apart of their story, as this is mine.

Looking back yeah its painful and I sit here crying wondering why anyone would have to go through so much bullshit when life is just too short. Then Mason cries because he wants another bottle and then I look at my phone and Luke is calling me from the kitchen saying ‘can you change his bum Linda’ and I am reminded why because it has led me to my greatest accomplishment, the little family I have created for myself.

My mum was right one day I woke up and the pain was gone, my thoughts were no longer consumed of the past every day. I hope that if you are reading this and are in any type of toxic relationship that one day you can sit back and look how far you’ve come just like I can.  

Uncategorized

Welcome to Our Journey to Better lifestyle blog!

Starting a blog has been on my to do list for quiet sometime however the fear of judgement and the unknown of where to start has held me back. However, I woke up this morning and decided ‘I am just going to go for it, what have I got to lose!’ So here I am putting pen to paper in the modern world and starting a god damn blog!

Now let’s set the expectations right here, I am no professional writer, I have no experience in blogging or website design (I am writing this as I have a break from the nightmare of setting up a domain). I am not sure what exactly my own expectations are of this blog, where it will take me and if anyone will even read it (besides my inner circle ha ha).

The thought behind the name of ‘Our Journey to Better’ is exactly the journey I am on now. Bettering myself through studying, health, fitness and food, supporting my partner to reach his goals through his business. Making small steps to leaving a lighter footprint of this earth, educating ourselves to assist Mason in his development. Most importantly, bettering our future as a family to give Mason and ourselves the best future, lives and chance at happiness.

There are so many thoughts that run through my head on the daily, how can I be better, how can I do better, I want to be better but the realistic thing about it all is that it just can not be done at once. So here is my first step on my journey to better by kick starting this blog.

WISH ME LUCK!

Don’t forget to leave me a comment, it would be great to see some support!