I think the key to surviving this year of university is to remind myself that I am now 33, unfit and a mother.

The last time I did this I was 23. I didn’t have anyone but me to worry about, not in first year anyway. I had an on-campus job, for which I missed a lot of classes. Now I have a whole house full of people to talk care of, I have a little seedling of a business. And I have my health to worry about.

In order to get through this push through school I need to switch things up. I can’t live the way I did when I was a student in my 20s, and I can’t live the way I did when I was a work at home mom, taking contracts where could find them. I have multiple top priorities now – school, work and parenting – and I need to make sure I have what it takes to stay on top of at least those three things. I’d also like to stay on top of housework, exercise and my marriage, but I think three top priorities is what I can start with.

So I need to remember:

1) Sleep

I’m used to late nights. I have always been better at working at night, my brain seems to switch on later in the day. But I now have a little girl who likes to be up and going early, as well as two 8:30 am seminars. Thinking all day is exhausting.

Late at night I often manage to forget how horrible it feels to be trying to get through the day without enough sleep. I suck at putting myself to bed. I’m almost as bad at getting myself to sleep as my daughter is… maybe worse.

2)  Fuel

I’m terrible at eating too. I’m the kind of person who is bad at eating breakfast, and I am also the kind of person who will forget to eat lunch. It’s especially hard when eating involves packing food and carrying it with me. I stumbled. often. When I do remember to eat, it’s not always the best fuel. I need fruit and vegetables, I need protein for my brain. And I definitely need less bread and less sugar. The sugar crash is the known enemy of the 12-hour day.

3) Fun

I have 15 hours of lecture a week. I have travel time to and from campus. There will be studying and assignments to do. I have at least two and a half hours of work every day. I have this child that demands attention.

It’s easiest to cut out reading a novel or going to a movie, especially when I feel guilty already for the time I’m spending outside the house, but if I don’t do some things just for me I’m going to go crazy, and that won’t be good for my studies or my family.

4) Exercise

I have time. There are parts of the week when I don’t have to be in class, when the kid is in school. I have time to get to the gym or go downstairs to my treadmill. I know how much better I feel when I do. It relieves stress, it helps me think, and it makes me feel better about myself. My first week, last week, I spent this down time napping, which I needed, because holy build up of stress, but there I time when I sat at my computer playing a game and trying to think of what I could write my essays about. You know what? Inspiration will probably come quicker on the Spinning bike.

That’s not too complicated, right? I mean, if I’m going to be a B.A. Hons, I can probably handle those four things.

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