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Mothering & Studying

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Blog post by Rachel Lafferty 

As I wake from another night of broken sleep. I realise that my word count is not as much as I need it to be.

I get myself up and out of bed and hop on over to the computer desk. As soon as I power on and sink down into my chair the baby monitor goes off. It’ll just have to wait until later. I get my son up and we head downstairs for breakfast and to start another morning routine. The hours pass, from building with bricks, to playing hide and seek, the to do list has no ticks yet. By mid-day I’m praying he will have a nap so I can get my assignment finished as well as the mounting dishes. Once he’s down for his nap I wander back to my desk and begin to work; but my mind is filled with the to do list and the piles of washing that's building up. I let out a little sob and a sigh. The hours pass and I finally get my word count finished and I’m proud of what I’ve written and finally click submit. By the afternoon it’s time for dinner and yet another bedtime routine. Once he’s down and in a deep slumber, I head back to my desk and begin my studying into the wee hours of the morning and once finished I’m back in bed. I know the cycle again tomorrow will be nearly the same as the days before. 

It’s hard being a full-time parent especially when you're studying a subject such as law. Law is a great subject and has so many potential career routes to choose from. I personally want to be a solicitor. It would be great to get some other people’s take on how they manage their daily day to day lives especially those who are in the same boat as myself, with a young child and being a full time stay at home parent.

Some things that have definitely helped me with juggling the daily chaos is to have a routine, this obviously with a toddler does not always go to plan. I find that whilst he has his nap, I can try and squeeze those most needed study hours in. Having a good support network is also vitally important, my dad sometimes would call round at lunchtime for an hour, so again whilst my son is playing and enjoying his grandfather I can study. I try not to worry or stress if there is a day where maybe the routine is completely out of whack or if my son is ill. I always try to stay a little ahead with my work and studying so it gives me a little wiggle room if there are days where I just can't or don't have the time to get anything done, its life and life as a parent is like a wave. Sometimes it's calm and sometimes it’s stormy. 

Here is some of my top tips that I find helpful:


Pick certain days of the week that you know you will definitely have time to study and work. For example, my son goes to creche on a Wednesday and Thursday for two hours, this happens every week bar school holidays. I know I will always have those times available. 


If i'm out and I dont have my son with me, I will always try to take my notebook and laptop so I can study whilst out having a coffee or lunch.


Young children go to bed relatively early, my son goes to bed around 8pm. I normally get to sleep around 11pm which gives me 3hrs to do some studying.

Don’t be hard on yourself: I find that the more I beat myself up about not doing or getting something done, the more it lowers my motivation to actually get it done when I do have the time.


photo of Rachel Lafferty

Rachel Lafferty 

Hello, my name is Rachel and I'm a first year law student. I've previously studied psychology with the OU.

I have a two year old son who I look after full time as well as studying for my degree.

I thought I'd give you an insight into what it's like to study as well as being a homemaker and hands-on parent.