Continuing on then with stuff that I don't want to forget and things that might help someone else in cyberspace in a similar situation - here’s my take on comparing yourself to other Mums, making the most of ‘team Mum’, the pitfalls of juggling too much and the benefits of problem sharing.
DON’T MAKE COMPARISONS: Quit looking at others for comparison. So what if all the people you went to school/university with are enjoying wild crazy professional lives with the disposable income to match. You keep studying – yours will come later, and by that time, your kid(s) will be grown, you’ll have more disposable income than they have now and you’ll have the maturity to know how to use it! (Or you’ll blow it all on expensive handbags – but hey, that’s your prerogative!)
You are living your life, so just do the very best with it that you can – after all, that is all everyone else is doing too. Other people’s lives only look greener from your side. Remember though, the grass is greenest where you water it! Just do the best that you can do with what you’ve got.
‘TEAM MUM’: If you want to pass, then you just have to accept help from Team Mum – they want to help you believe it or not. So, quit the denial. Yes, I know it’s hard – especially as us young Mums often think we have to prove that we can handle it all despite our age or lack of preparedness for parenting.
Trust me, you don’t have to prove anything. No one is waiting for you to fall and you’ll be happier for just saying ‘yes please’ and grabbing all help – with both hands! ‘Help’ could mean anything from your Mum having the kid(s) for a day, allowing a prolific commenter to write a guest post for your blog (Note from Young Mommy: “YES!”) or borrowing a coursemate’s book. The funny thing about help is that if every time you decline help, the ‘giver’ might think that you genuinely don’t want/need it, when in fact you’re just being stubborn/proud/in denial (delete as appropriate).
A PROBLEM SHARED IS A PROBLEM HALVED: Make friends with other Mums (or Dads) at playgroup, nursery – wherever! Just as I said before, these people know what you’re going through with your kid(s). Even if they’re 35, and seem to have everything, it’s nice to see that their kids act up just as much as yours do and that your kid’s behaviour is more a result of them being kids and not a result of your hectic (fine, I’m making assumptions) parenting schedule. No parent is perfect, but sometimes you need to see other less than perfect parents to really believe it!
DON’T JUGGLE TOO MUCH: Try not to do too many things at once. Raising a child(ren) is hard enough, never mind doing it whilst trying to figure who you are and what you’re about (typically done during our teens and twenties). If you then add studying – it’s enough on one plate – don’t you think? It’s not that I believe the ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ proverb, it’s just that if you want to pass, you do need to be able to focus and the fewer distractions, the more able you will be to create a masterpiece in your studies. Creating that masterpiece will give you the leverage to do all sorts of things afterwards.
HAVING A PLAN: Make the plan and try try try to stick to it. Now, don’t feel bad if it goes awry sometimes. I always have a plan – whatever the situation. BUT, I only stick to it about 50% of the time, and still I continue to make my own little plans. Let me explain. You see, for me, the process of making a plan helps me to see all the things that I have to do. Sure, I often freak out when I see the list of ‘must-dos’ and then I pray on it. BUT, once I work out my priorities and separate them from the ‘would like to dos’, then I start having a real plan, and having that little piece of paper/napkin/bus ticket/envelope makes me feel that little bit more secure – that little bit more in control. If I fall off my plan. I don’t panic, I just make a new one. I don’t know if this is good advice really, but it’s worked for me. I am sure God has something to do with me falling off certain plans in order to get back on the right plan – his plan!