Remember how tired you were when you were in school? Whether it was high school, college, grad school or even middle school (because hormones are relentless), getting your knowledge on can be draining. Now, imagine going to school and being a parent. Yeah, there are a boatload of additional struggles only student moms can understand.
Hopefully, if you're a student mom, you are being supported in your brave decision to take on the world of academia while simultaneously taking on the world of diapers and nap times. Whether you have a helpful partner, a supportive friend, or you have an amazing professor who will babysit while you take a test, going to school while you're raising a kid(s) means putting a lot of responsibility on your shoulders, and hey, those shoulders should be padded with (at least a little) help.
But even if every available hand in the world is willing to reach out and help you, going to school while you're a parent is just exhausting: You can't sleep when baby sleeps because that's when you can work on an assignment; You can't go to bed when the rest of your obligations have been met, because you need to study or research or both; You can't fit your school schedule into just your life, because you're not worried about just your life anymore.
All of this is why I asked student moms to share their tips on fighting the mind-numbing exhaustion that can accompany motherhood and memorizing facts for your latest midterm. Because honestly, if all moms know a thing or two about being tired and overly taxed on their time, moms who are also students are, like, actual experts on the subject. So let's take it from those that know first-hand what it's like to be called "mom" and "student" on the same day. It turns out, there are ways to keep your head in a book, instead of sleeping on it.
STRONG COFFEE. On really bad days, which are rare, I drink a red bull. On days I don't have homework, I exercise.
No hack, just COFFEE all the time. I get up and work from 5-12, schoolwork till the baby's nap is done at 3, then usually don't get a chance to work on school stuff till after he's asleep at 8 or 9 (which should be my bedtime). So yeah. Coffee all day long. And sometimes I'll sleep till noon on a Sunday because my husband is amazing.
My best exhaustion fighting hack is actually working out! I can't have caffeine so I try to get a good workout in four times a week to give me a good amount of energy!
My trick for fighting exhaustion is exercise. I also very rarely did any homework after 6 pm. I would take the evening to relax even if it meant getting up early to catch up on homework. I think you have to decide if you are a morning person or evening person and do homework at the time when your brain is fully functioning.
Make yourself do something for yourself: workout, paint your nails, read a book, or God forbid leave your kids with someone and actually see those friends or family you have been putting off. If you don't care for yourself, you cannot care for those little energy sucking angels.
1. Taking a shower. No matter how lazy and tired I am, a shower will usually pull me out of an exhaustion funk. A warm and relaxing shower, followed by clean clothes and clean hair, can usually jump start my energy.
2. Peppermint Essential Oil. Put a drop in your hands, take a few deep breaths, rub the extra on your neck and wash your hands. It's a pretty quick and easy pick-me-up.
3. Long term, I'd agree that exercise is a great option. It's kind of a "takes energy to have energy" thing, so it seems counterproductive but after a few weeks it really pays off.
Honestly, the best way for me to survive my days without falling asleep face first into my dinner is eating healthy foods. I find that when I eat junk food I feel lethargic all day. Now I eat healthy protein, lots of fruit, and drink a lot of water. Also, most days, coffee is my best friend!
One word: coffee. Starbucks is my lover and I am so grateful that my husband supports my addiction and the fact that I have a lover. My husband is also my life hack, because he supports me and my decision to get my degree. What I'm doing now will only help us in the future. My mantra is "This is not forever." It helps.
Sleep!! Whenever however you can get it. Also coffee. I mean, how else would you survive?
I didn't date for four years because sleep trumped everything. Also, having my kid sleep in her clothes for the next day.
Working out and COFFEE are my energy boosters!