T.G.I. Naptime
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How to be a mom in grad school...without totally losing it.

We’ve all been there. 

Overwhelmed, cranky, panicky, miserable. 

Feeling like you are buried in to-do lists.

Maybe your kids are yelling, whining, begging for your attention. 

Your projects are late, your workload is

ridiculous. 

There is just too much. 

Too much. 

When you’re a grad mom, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all that you have to do. 

You probably know plenty of grad students who aren’t parents who report crazy high stress levels. 

This is not an easy point in your life. 

It's not a meadow,

it's a mountain. 

You will never eliminate Grad School stress, in fact, I think that would defeat the purpose. 

 

Grad School is teaching you to thrive under pressure, figure it out, and overcome difficulties. I’d argue that might just be the most important part. 

You can’t eliminate stress. 

So what can you do?

Are you destined for years of misery?

No.

You can strengthen your foundation, so you won’t crumble. 

You can prepare yourself to handle it so well that: you just might make it LOOK easy. 

This foundation has three layers, building you up to a pretty awesome busy mom life.

You can make sure you are rocking grad school WITHOUT losing it…or yourself in the process.

The foundation consists of Self-Care, Parenting, and Organization. 

Layer One

Self-Care

The bottom layer because it is THE foundation of all success. 

Success in Grad School, Business, LIFE. Everything. 

Without it, the other two layers cannot be supported.

This is the most important skill to master for your career and your personal mom|life. If you do not take care of you, the next two layers will be weaker.

You won’t be able to master them, and you will not see the progress that you are capable of making. 

There are many ways to practice self-care, and you have to find what works for you.

When self-care is a priority you will find it’s easier than you think to incorporate self-care in your daily routine. You can even include your children in your practice. 

The Exclusive Resource library will be home to some of my favorite self-care techniques, e-books, and courses to help you master your practice. Stay Tuned! 

 

Layer Two

Parenting

In grad school you are going to be busy.

Period.

Your children may not get the amount of your time that they are used to, or that you would like to give. 

It’s unlikely that we can change that, but working with it is entirely possible. 

It’s important to make sure that we are making the most of the time that we do have with our kids, and include them in our day to day as much as is realistic. 

Incorporating your children into your self-care routine is one way to spend quality time with your children.

Bonus: it’s also a wonderful skill to teach your children, one they can use to improve their own lives into adulthood. 

We all strive to be the best parents ever, sometimes that isn’t easy. 

As our stress levels increase, as they inevitably will in grad school,  it’s harder to be a good parent. 

 

When you are overwhelmed do you find it harder to be the empathetic awesome mama that you want to be?

I know I do. 

 

The stress of Grad School is gong to push your buttons, you will have your moments of irritability, and moments when you just can’t deal. That’s part of the process. 

That’s why it’s SO important to adopt parenting habits that help you to keep your calm when stress hits. 

Training yourself as a parent to respond positively even when it is hard will help you to handle those moments more effectively. 

Even better, children who are raised in a positive way generally are more well behaved. 

Less behavioral difficulties to deal with = less stress for busy mom. 

This is where positive parenting enters the picture. 

This method of parenting is backed by extensive research and is an evidence based practice used by a variety of mental health professionals. 

This is a skill that will help you through grad school, throughout your parenting journey, and it can have a lifelong impact on who your child becomes

Behind the scenes at Naptime I am working hard to develop a training to help you master this method.

This course will be based on Parent Management Training, the model used by practitioners treating behavioral problems including those related to ADHD, and ODD. The training will be ready to go in June 2017, but in the meantime check out: Parenting From The Heart . This is a wonderful resource where you can find advice on how to bring positive parenting techniques into your life. 

Parenting that promotes peace and helps to reduce conflict with your child will inevitably reduce your stress level.

Since I’m sure you are a human mom and misbehavior stresses you out, this can be life changing. 

 

Layer Three

Organization 

For a really really long time, this was my downfall. Still, I am not the most organized person naturally.

I’m that mom who is running around her house looking for matching socks for her kids and ends up late for pre-k drop off with a kid with one green sock and one blue sock. In fact, my child will no longer wear matching socks because of this little habit.

There are two components of why this is hard…. 

1. The busier we are, the harder it is to GET organized. 

Who wants to take time we DON'T Have to get organized. I know I don't. When I have too much to do, the last thing I want to do is spend time organizing. Unless I'm procrastinating of course in which case I clean #allthethings. 

2. The less organized we are, the busier we get. 

The amount of time it takes to accomplish ANYTHING increases when we have to take extra steps to even get started. 

 

Developing a system and putting a little time into the implementation is important. While upfront effort is needed, time is earned back. 

Taking 20 minutes to plan outfits for the week is something I hate doing...but when I don’t do it; I spend much more time running around in panic mode looking for socks

 

When it comes to Grad School, I’ve always been a go with the flow academic. I’m not into paper outlines or well organized research plans but...Sometimes, you have to be. 

My Trello system has been a lifesaver for me  

Yes, it takes a little time to set up. But my productivity has increased, and I actually know where things are, when they are due, and what my priorities need to be. 

I have a free course sharing how I use Trello for Grad School available in the resource library here. 

In addition to Trello, Evernote keeps all of my thoughts together and ORGANIZED. In one place I can jot down whatever I need to, add a tag to describe it and I can always find it.

Plus, it’s searchable. So if I fail at tagging, I can just type in what I’m looking for… YAY! :) 

More on that coming soon to a Naptime near you :) 

Need some more organization and productivity tips in your life?

Join the tribe for monthly content updates and of course access to the exclusive subscriber resource library!

 

Taking the time to implement practices that make your everyday easier WILL reduce your stress level. 

When you are less stressed, everything is easier. 

And when Grad School is easier, well there is less stress. 

 

Stress and responsibility compound in a way that can cause a spiral before you can even see what is happening. 

When we build a supportive foundation on which to achieve our goals, the reduced stress impacts all areas of our life. 

Increasing quality of life, levels of success, and fulfillment in relationships. 

Do you want to build a shack or a castle. 

A shack that is blown over at the slightest wind; one that needs to be rebuilt again and again.

Or a Castle that can take on a hurricane or a siege, and let’s be honest..make you feel like a: 

boss|queen|warrior

You have to build a strong foundation if you want to build your castle. 

and let's not forget:

Support

Your support system is not a separate part of your foundation, but a component entirely intertwined with every aspect. 

Let's call it the concrete holding the layers of your foundation together.

(Disclaimer: I build futures, not houses, so I apologize it that's not at all how a house foundation works...but you get the picture) 

Supportive friends and family can help you take care of yourself, and interactions with those you love can nurture your soul and make you feel connected, grounded, and fulfilled. 

 

Supportive family and friends can help you be a better parent.

We’ve all heard that it takes a village.

Well sometimes that village makes everyday easier for us, and some days the villagers try to give your kid a soda and 10 brownies instead of the well balanced lunch you packed him (true story).

Those who are supporting you on your parenting journey WILL have an impact on your stress level.

They will have an impact on your child's behavior and they WILL either uplift you or tear you down on your positive parenting journey.

It’s important that you find those who are supporting you and your goals, and that you are aware of those who may be sabotaging your progress. 

Organization requires support to the extent that you need others in your home and in your life to NOT be making things harder.

Life is harder when your partner, children or whoever is in your home leaves their socks, shoes, coffee cups, and paperwork….everywhere. 

When you can’t find your car keys because the last person who drove it left them somewhere silly.

This may well be the biggest challenge, getting others on board with getting it together.

I'm still working on this one, in fact that list was compiled by a quick glance around my living room... #momlife

It may be a long road work in progress, but it’s important to be aware of the connection this has to your stress and to work together to find ways to reduce that.

 

Grad School is hard, parenting is even harder. 

but, everyday doesn’t have to be a mess.

You will have moments where you just don’t know how to deal, no matter how prepared you are. Some days, things will not work. 

 

Having a foundation on which to build is essential to make those days less frequent, less panic inducing, and more productive

 

Looking for more on making Grad School and Motherhood work? Check out the Grad Mom Section here! Just for you #gradmom 😃 

If you need some like-minded moms in your life...we're building a community here

Thinking about becoming a Grad Mom? Read This First. 

Need some inspiration? Follow me on Instagram 😃  

Grad MomBrooke Cole