How to Be a Stay at Home Mum and Study at the Same Time
For stay at home parents, it can seem impossible to even think about juggling study with parenting. When your norm is long nights without sleep, breastfeeding, sleep schedules and keeping your child entertained, it can be challenging to find time for yourself, let alone for study.
But with our access to smart technology and the increasing availability of online study, it’s never been easier to juggle a healthy study-life balance. There are also a range of mum skills that can be transferred in to the workplace and make you even better at juggling study with home life. Although it can be difficult at times, studying online courses while being a busy mum can be extremely rewarding.
Despite the rewards, taking the plunge to enrol in your dream course is easier said than done, especially with so many uncertainties and risks to lose sleep over (as if you haven’t lost enough already).
In this article, we’ll explore the best aspects of studying while being a stay at home mum, the challenges and how to overcome them, as well as answering all those questions that keep popping into your mind:
Are you ready to do something for yourself?
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In eight chapters we explore how you can jump hurdles and find success during your studies.
Great Jobs for Mums
As a mum, it can be super difficult to both raise a family and work at the same time. But there are so many jobs that can now be done within the comfort of your own home! These jobs below are the top working from home jobs for mums. If you’re keen to dive straight in, click on any of these jobs to discover more about them:
Why study and be a stay at home parent?
Are you a stay at home mother or father raising a family? Many stay-at-home parents are looking for something else to fill their time besides raising children. Whether that be working out, taking up a new hobby or studying towards a qualification, it’s a great way to make use of your time and catch a break from the younger ones.
Studying courses through distance education, online learning or even in a classroom can be very beneficial. It also allows you to think about your own personal and professional goals outside of being a parent. It’s never too late to study something new.
Tips for Studying Parents
Making time to both study and look after your children can be difficult. If you’re considering taking an online course or distance learning, there are ways you can accomplish both. Studying from home requires two key things: organisation and motivation.
Staying motivated can be incredibly challenging, but this range of living and study tips can help you both gain your qualification and be a successful SAHM.
Running the household, studying and getting through your coursework and assignments is something that requires planning and organisation. To successfully organise your time, here are a few simple yet effective tips.
How to Stay Organised:
Buy yourself a calendar and a planner. The calendar is used to jot down any important events or dates such as assignment due dates, doctors appointments, birthdays or significant events such as parties.
Place the calendar somewhere in your home where you will see it every day and get yourself into the habit of checking it before you leave the house.
Your planner is a handheld calendar that has more detail. Look through your course content and write down all the relevant due dates in your planner. Write down what is required weekly and plan out specific time slots to study accordingly.
Set up a space in your home that is child-free and mess-free. A cluttered study space makes for a cluttered mind and this can make it difficult to concentrate.
Do your daily chores as you go and clean up straight away. For example: making your bed as soon as you wake up, doing the dishes straight after cooking, putting your child down for a nap and using that time to do your washing. Hopefully this’ll mean that your mind won’t be preoccupied with the chores you need to complete while you study.
Dedicate specific days for specific work. For example, Mondays are for course readings and lectures, Tuesdays are for assignments, Wednesdays are for admin and so on.
Get a babysitter! Whether that be hiring a local teenager or a fully qualified nanny, babysitters can be extremely helpful in giving you a much-needed break.
If you complete all these tasks during the day, in the evening you can dedicate your time to being a SAHM and hanging out with your family, rather than stressing about studying or chores.
Staying motivated is something that all students struggle with, and alongside raising a family, it will be twice as hard. You need to ensure you have systems in place so that you don’t burn out or procrastinate. Remember that you’re not in this alone, family and friends are always willing to help out when you’re in need.
“‘Intertemporal markers’ encourage us in two ways: by making people disconnect from past failures, and by promoting a big-picture view of life.”
Wharton School of Business
How to stay motivated:
Give yourself a ‘fresh start.’ On the 1st of January every year we all give ourselves goals for the year ahead, but what if you’ve slacked off? Do you wait until next year to make a change? By giving yourself a ‘fresh start’ and affirming in your mind that things are changing, it may help to break some of those bad procrastination habits.
Set Goals! By setting goals, you can keep track of what needs to get done as well as complete tasks on time. Focus on the positive things that will happen when you complete these goals, for example: “By this time in two weeks, I will have completed all of my assignments.”
Take a break, get out of the house and breathe in some fresh air. What an excellent opportunity to hit two birds with one stone. Not only are you able to give yourself a much-needed break, but it’s also an excellent opportunity to tire out your children. Walk to a park or along a walking track for 40 or so minutes; hopefully, your kids will be tired and want to nap by the time you get home.
Reward yourself! When you complete an assignment or finish a semester, don’t be afraid to splurge a little by either buying yourself something beautiful or going out for a nice dinner.
Look for inspiration, whether that be through pasting a series of motivational quotes around your study space or watching inspirational TED Talks from entrepreneurs.
Don’t try to be perfect. Nothing will burn you out more than the pressure of perfection. Life is messy, so do your best and don’t be sad if it’s not always perfect.
Lastly, go for it!
Balance and fitting in your children
To keep a balanced day, you must stay organised and motivated. Pre-planning and organising your week is the only way you’re going to be able to keep a balanced life. Think of little tricks that may help you satisfy both you and your child’s needs.
For example, listen to recorded lectures while you’re at the park, on a walk or doing laundry. Get your partner or a friend to take care of your children for a bit while you study, and it’ll be worth it in the end.
Your children will constantly disturb you while you study and they will come to you with things that only you can fix. Studying around children can be challenging, but these tips may help alleviate some of those challenges:
Being a Stay at Home Mum
Stay at Home Mum Jobs
If you need extra cash but you’re unable to head back to work, starting a business from home could be a great alternative. There’s a multitude of benefits for working mums.
You can arrange your life and your schedule however you want. Allowing you to have more time to spend with your family, pick up the kids from school, take them to any co-curricular activities and fit in any of your social commitments.
If you’re not the sole earner or unable to work full-time, a second income is a blessing to any household. You can use this extra income to pay for groceries, bills or put it into savings for a holiday.
If you wish to rejoin the workforce when your kids are older, you’ll have a multitude of experience and qualifications to utilise in your new career.
“As many as 90% of mums think about going back to work someday.”The Centre for Talent Innovation
Study at Home Courses
With the ever-evolving capabilities of the internet, online study is one of the new and amazing products available for all people with a willingness to learn and access to a computer.
Online learning may not be a viable choice for everyone because you can’t ‘learn on the job’ or complete tests and exams. But it’s perfect for those stay at home mums who are looking to change careers or up-skill.
Great Business Ideas for Mums Who Want to Work From Home
The role of a consultant is to offer advice and expertise to others within your field. Online consultancy is a functional role for anyone wishing to continue working in the same field but on a more flexible and at home basis. You can be an online consultant for a range of areas such as marketing, finance, HR and many more.
As a virtual assistant, your role is to assist on an online basis. There’s a range of different fields you can be a virtual assistant for, making it a perfect business for stay at home mums. These fields include bookkeeping, data entry, customer support, telephone support, transcription and telemarketing.
Photography is one of those stay at home business ideas for mums that can eventually develop into something full time. This is due to the amount of experience and the networking connections that you can gain over time.
As a photographer you will mainly work events such as weddings or parties which mainly consist over weekends, meaning throughout the week your free to look after the kiddies. Once you have created a bit of a following and the right amount of experience if you feel the need to go into full-time work, you can always start a full-time photography business.
Curious about what it’s like to become a professional photographer? This photography career toolkit will equip you with everything you need to get started, including interviews with working photographers.
A career as a content specialist is one of those online jobs for mums that is exceptionally flexible due to the nature of work and the freedom to work when you want. If creating content is something you’re skilled at, then look to copywriting, editing, social media or blogging as your choice of career as a stay at home mum.
“In 2015, 49% of students worldwide stated they had taken an online course in the preceding 12 months.”Source: Statista
Creating Products for Sale
Are you extremely skilled at producing one thing in particular? Maybe you’re a jewellery making gun or an incredible visual artist or a cupcake making whiz.
Whatever it is if you believe it’s something people want to buy, you can sell it for profit. Websites like Etsy and eBay are the perfect platforms to sell your homemade goods from and some of these sellers turnover a huge profit regularly.
The world of digital is one with endless possibilities and can efficiently be completed anywhere there’s a computer present.
If you have a computer and a few software applications installed, you can work as a web designer, graphic designer or online marketing. All quickly done within the comfort of your own home.
Event management can be a hugely busy and hard-working job. But you can run much smaller and more local events from the comfort of your own home. You can organise kids parties, decorate events and hire out decor and other party materials as some of the many event planning businesses you can run.
These career ideas for mums are the perfect stay at home businesses due to their flexible nature and the ability they give you to work from any location. If that’s what you’re looking for, then check out the suggested business ideas and courses above.
How to Run a Business From Home
Running a business from home seems like a time-consuming and challenging task. You don’t get benefits such as annual leave, you’re in charge of everything, and you may feel as though have no separation between your home and work life.
But when you have children to take care of and bills to pay, running a business from home seems like a great alternative to a full-time job.
“While 71% of mums do work outside of the home, 29% are staying home. That number is up 6% from 1999.”
The benefits of running your own business include working on your own accord, working whatever hours you choose, and working from the comfort of your own home. In Australia, there are a few things that you need to complete before starting your business.
Here’s a guide that may help you run your own business from home:
1. Business Structure
Have a clear idea in your head of what sort of business you would like to run. Will it be providing a service in your home such as massage therapy or makeup artistry? Will it be a base to meet clients before working offsite in businesses such as photography? Or will it just be an office for you to do your freelance work?
Knowing your business structure is essential as this can impact things like your tax, personal liability, health and safety requirements and regulatory obligations.
There are four specific structures in which your business can run in Australia: Sole Trader, Company, Partnership, Trust.
A sole trader is someone who is operating their own business and is legally responsible for all aspects of the business. You can also employ people as a sole trader, and you’ll get taxed as an individual rather than a company.
As a company, you’re a legal entity that’s separate from its shareholders, which means that you’ll get taxed as an entity rather than an individual and that there’s no tax-free threshold. Generally, you should only classify yourself as a company if you have multiple employees and are required to pay a large amount of tax.
Are you and a few friends looking to go into business together? A partnership is an association of people or entities who run a business together, although not as a company, which means that you all share income, losses and control of the business. You can have employees in a partnership, although if you’re a partner, you’re not considered an employee.
A trustee manages all of your business activity for the benefit of others. The trustee is responsible for lodging returns, distributing income or losses and for overseeing payment of debts.
2. Create your Business
In Australia, if you wish to become a legitimate business, you should come up with a business name, open up a business bank account and an Australian Business Number (ABN).
Once you’ve come up with a business name, you will need to register your business under an ABN to classify as a ‘legal’ business. By having an ABN, you can:
3. Register your Business Online
Registering your domain name online is an essential part of starting any modern-day business. It’s the best way to gain traction and publicity for your business. Though having a website isn’t compulsory, it’s highly recommended by many successful companies and experts.
You can buy an old domain name or register your own through the Australian Domain Registration website, all you need is an ACN (Australian Company Number) or ABN. This website will list the costs, fees and options for anyone looking to purchase a domain.
Nowadays, there is also a selection of ‘website making’ websites you can use. You can find these easily by searching through Google. They’re fully customisable and are often free, and you will have to deal with the sub-domain that is often added onto your domain name.
You should also look into social media as a platform for relevant advertising. You can do this by opening up a business account on Instagram and Facebook.
4. Create business cards and a logo
Now onto the fun stuff! There are so many ways you can create your logo and business cards nowadays. You can use software such as Microsoft and Adobe to create your own. Otherwise, there are so many online creation platforms available with loads of features.
You can also head into Officeworks, and they’ll create business cards for you, or you can bring a USB with your creations.
5. Deck out your workspace
If you want to operate from home, you need to ensure you create boundaries between the business and your home. Set your office up in a space that’s separate or can get separated from the rest of the house.
This is to ensure that you not only appear legitimate and professional to clients/customers, but it also means you’re not distracted by anything in your home, such as children.
Decorate the space as though it’s an actual office and make it as pretty and as comfortable as you can. Put in some plants, books and artwork to fill the space.
If you paint the walls white that can help make a space look bigger and less cluttered. The last thing you want is to go into the same office every day that’s just like another room in your house.
6. Keep it clean and organised
Avoid taking up your desk space with old plates and mugs and ensure you keep your paperwork organised at all times!
A way to maintain your paperwork is by going through it and figuring out what you can throw out at least once a week. It will also help make sure that you don’t forget about any vital paperwork such as invoices and bills.
Organisation is also vital for the successful running of any home business. There are many ways to stay organised when running your own business.
Refer to the ‘Tips for Studying parents’ section of this article and adjust it to your personal needs.
“A clutter-free and organized office allows room for new, refreshing energy and ideas.”
– Feng Shui and Beyond
Mums Work From Home Network
As a working from home mum things can get lonely and painful. But thanks to the power of the internet, you can now join many extensive mums working from home networks.
Whether that be through entering a forum online or a group who regularly catch up outside of their work, it can be extremely beneficial in providing you with advice and support.
Stay at Home Dads
Though stay at home dads are still uncommon, they’re much more prevalent today than ever before. Many factors could contribute to this; the main factor is that men are no longer the only bread-winner.
Some women do earn more than their husbands, and therefore, it makes more financial sense for them to go back to work after maternity leave. Thus leaving the husband to stay home to care for the children.
Also, due to the change in societal factors, most people wouldn’t blink an eyelid over men being ‘house husbands’ rather than working the 9-5 daily grind. Some companies in Australia now also offer parental leave for men.
It can help relieve some of the stress on both partners during those first few precious moments of their children’s’ lives. You should investigate your companies parental leave and see whether you’re also eligible.
Returning to Full-time Work
Is your maternity leave up? Are you sick of staying at home? Or are your kids starting high school and therefore don’t need you at home anymore?
Returning to work can be a challenging and stressful process, but there are so many benefits involved. These include; extra income, further career progression, allowing your children to become independent and allowing you to have some time apart from your children.
If you’re unsure where to start, here are some tips that can help you return to full-time work.
If you find returning to full-time work is too much for you to handle, you can always cut down to part-time employment instead. You still get annual leave, sick pay and a regular income, just with fewer work hours and less pay.
Are you a stay at home mum and you want to jump back into the workforce? There are plenty of transferable skills that you’ve worked on at home that can be applied at your new job. Here are just a few of them.
While society often serves ‘mummy guilt’ if you work too much or don’t work at all, it’s ultimately your choice on what’s best for your family.
Don’t be afraid to study something new, start your own business or return to work. Keep in mind that there’s also nothing wrong with being a stay-at-home mum, just so long as it’s what you want or need.