Stay at Home Study Parent

Remember when I said I would never study while pregnant again…

I’m in my third trimester and studying Discrete Mathematics for Computing (Shh… as my husband says when I mention uni. Get it, discreet…yeah) with an 18 month old. I’m only in week 2 but it hasn’t been as chaotic as I thought it would be. Well, my home life hasn’t impacted as much as I thought. My lecturer isn’t as on the ball as my other coordinators have been. It’s less like studying externally and more like being a student who doesn’t go to classes. I think, any other time and I would be fine going week by week and having to wait until all the on campus classes have finished to get a recording of the lecture. But, I really need to try and be ahead. In Week 11 I’m due to have a baby. Not, that babies necessarily follow a schedule.

I’ve been in contact with my SRO (Student Relationship Officer) to find out what supports are available for pregnant women. I can’t really go through disability services as it’s not an impairment, it’s a temporary condition that then becomes a personal issue, e.g. post-partum recovery, adjusting to new routines, newborn stuff.

Ethan has been surprisingly helpful so far. When he wants to study, aka draw pictures and colour in my notes, he will get up in the high chair and yell “Chair. Sit. Mum mum!” or throw things at me if I’m not fast enough.

Time to study mummy

Time to study mummy

He’s having a nap now so I’m getting everything uploaded to my Google Drive account. That way I don’t have to deal with being in the study while he is awake. I can just read my lecture slides from my tablet or mobile phone.

We’ve also enrolled him in day care on Mondays so I have a whole day dedicated to study (and rest). From what the ladies at his day care said, he loves it there. We had to keep him home this week due to a rather nasty cold. So I am a little behind this week.

I’m still new to this whole stay at home study mum deal. But these would be my top tips:

  • See if your toddler/child will sit and draw or read while you study
  • Make sure you can always access your materials for micro study sessions
    e.g. when Play School is on, nap time, or when they decide to ignore you
  • Look into having them baby sat one day a week
  • Consider using a tablet or other mobile device to access material
    • I personally use Google Drive and save all my lecture recordings and pdfs/ppts there so I can study while Ethan naps on top of me
    • Sometimes I watch it through my Xbox and make Ethan endure a 2hr lecture on Programming

That’s how I’m doing it so far. I’m sure this list will change when I have a newborn and a toddler…in about 10 weeks time

2014: Year of Connections

I have seen a few blogs talking about picking a word to represent their goals for the year. Mine would have to be ‘CONNECTIONS’.

With an ongoing battle with depression this pregnancy, I felt I had lost some of the closeness I had with my son and husband. And, with myself.

So, I have been making an effort to have more quality time and fun.
- we took a trip to Southbank and chased the birds.
- we went shopping for swimmers. We were stuck in the centre due to a storm so had a big play in the playcentre
- we stayed in and drew on his water doodle mat, cooked some food, and played dress ups. ..with the dirty laundry of course

Today we are off to the park for a picnic and a play!

Farewell 2013 and Hello 2014

new years resolution

Tim’s been bugging me about my NY Resolutions so here are mine for 2014:

  • Take better care of myself
    • Healthily lose the baby weight in the 2nd half of the year
  • Spend less time on my phone/Facebook/Tumblr
  • Spend more quality time with the kids + go out more
  • Enjoy more couple time with Tim

I really haven’t been as kind to my body as I should be. Not enough fruit, veggies, and exercise and possibly too much take away and sweets. And, lets not even start on how crap I am at keeping hydrated. I can feel that my body is not liking how I treat it. I have fatigue issues as it is and the crappy foods and sedentary lifestyle is compounding it. The baby weight is something that will improve my health. I am sitting above what is healthy for me and I’m feeling it in my joints.

I’ve fallen into a routine of just scrolling up and down Facebook and Tumblr feeds. Half the time I’m not actually paying attention, just mindlessly scrolling. I do it in the morning, while Ethan’s playing quietly, when he’s taking a nap. I spend a lot of my day mindlessly looking at the screen. It’s getting to the point where Ethan actually takes my phone and puts it on the floor to get my attention. I’m a little ashamed that it’s come to that. I really want to break that pattern. Plus it will give me more time to tackle my last two resolutions.

We spend most days indoors. Partly because it’s summer and Ethan’s already got a tan. But secondly, because it feels like such an effort to go out anywhere. Tim works hard so I don’t want to bug him about outings on his days off. And, I’ve lost a little confidence in myself about taking Ethan on an outing solo. The only time we go out together is shopping or my doctors’ appointments. We’ve been to the park twice in his life. I know he’ll love seeing new things and I think it will have a positive effect for me too.

And finally, most of my interactions with Tim are as an awkward-confused parenting duo. We rarely do things together as husband and wife. I think it’s a normal thing to happen in a marriage when the kidlets come along. Our focus and priorities changed. We have this little person who needs us and everything else gets pushed down a rung. I can’t speak for Tim, but I am not worried about the state of our marriage and relationship. I still love him as much as I did the say we said “I do”. But that doesn’t mean we can’t improve on it and add more special memories. We only had a month of married life before Ethan joined us. And, most of that time was me sleeping on the couch because my pregnant body was uncomfortable.

So, I say farewell to 2013…a year with highs and lows, new ventures, family health scares, milestones, and many memories. And, I welcome a new year filled with possibility and memories to come :)

Happy New Year to you all!

Oh yeah, I was doing the blog thing

It has been way too long between posts. I’d completely forgotten all about it until WordPress charged my PayPal.

A lot has been happening but I’ll start with the big news…

17 weeks

1. Our little clan is growing! I will be giving birth to our second child in late May 2014. I’ll have 2 little Dovahs to keep me on my toes. Tim and I are really excited and terrified about adding to our nerdy family. As this will be my last pregnancy, I’m already looking at some geek-tastic maternity shirts. We have affectionately named my little one Stormageddon or Stormy for short.

stormageddon

2. I finished my first semester of uni!
I was in my first trimester during exams so I was very pleased to find out I got an A for both subjects. FYI: An A is equivalent to a 6, or a Distinction. I’ve decided to take semester 3 (now) off as well as the first semester of next year. Depending on how I am coping with two kids, I’ll be back for the second semester next year. Even with the missed semesters I should still be right to graduate on time. I may just need to take some courses over the summer. I’ve missed being at uni but also grateful for the break while pregnant. I’m not my “normal” self so it makes study a real struggle.

3. Ethan turned one!
My little guy is growing up. He’s walking and talking. And often being a cheeky little kid. He’s outsmarted my childproofing efforts and has shown amazing ingenuity. We’ve even moved him out of our bed and into his very own ‘Big Brother’ bed (aka a double mattress on the floor). I still end up in there through the night but it’s progress.

Ethan trying his luck

Ethan trying his luck

4. Next-gen consoles came out!
Tim and I got neither of them. We really can’t justify the cost when we have piles of games we are yet to complete. Not to mention the fact that little dovahs + gaming is a difficult thing to juggle. How much of GTA V do I want my little one to see? And, do I really know how much he’s taking in? I did get a very pretty blue 3DS XL for Christmas so it’s kind of next-gen, right?

Maybe I should make regular posting a resolution for 2014.

Study study study

Image

Study overload

Again, I’ve been mighty slack with regular updates here. I’ve been busy both studying and procrastinating about studying.

I’m in my 9th week of my first semester in Info Tech. In that time I have completed:

  • 3 JavaScript programs;
  • 2 boring PowerPoint Presentations, and;
  • 1 big-ass Access Database.

Not to mention the weekly quizzes, readings, practical workshops/units, and lecture watching. It’s been over a year since I was last in uni and back then I didn’t have a one year old who likes to pull out the computer power plug and eat my pens. I had intended on making a post about my awesome organisational skills. But instead its more like this.

Image I’ve had a few panicked moments when I’ve forgotten to check if I have another PPT due or if I’ve completed the quiz for the week. I started off the semester so well, too! I sat down with my study schedules and combined them into one Excel file and I have a colour coded system for the items due:

  • Green – completed
  • Yellow – started, but not yet completed
  • Red – overdue

Image

 

As you can see, I probably should be studying rather than writing this blog post. I’ve had to rearrange my study times because my former night-owl tendencies have disappeared. More than once, I have fallen asleep in my books. It’s proving an interesting challenge as Ethan-face can hear my typing and will bang and cry at the door until I say hi. I have to sneak in here while he’s outside with Tim. 

It’s difficult too because I want to be playing outside with Tim and Ethan. Most times outside time is daddy-son time, according to Ethan. But, it does make me sad when I can hear them giggling and I am in here reading up on functions and HTML elements. Right now, Ethan is having his afternoon nap with dad-dad, while Tim gets some Defiance game-play in. 

I guess in those sombre moments I just need to remember that after this degree I will have a better chance at working in the industry that I love. And, that I genuinely love studying…and it is good to have something in my life for me.

 

Mental Health and Illness

I was doing so well with regular updating and then I fell off the blogosphere. Life happened. Some good, some not so good.  Back in May I hinted at some of my mental health history. For some people, mental illness is acute and then seemingly never reappears. For me, and a fair few people I have met with mental health issues, it’s a reoccurring  part of life. A number of normal life stresses popped up;

  • anxiety around starting a new degree;
  • the ongoing work that comes with being a new mum;
  • finances;
  • changes to my marriage – (nothing major just new dynamics with our dual roles as parent and partner)
  • feeling helpless about my husband’s stress at work;

People with or without mental health issues could or would struggle with the compounding factor of all these things. But, I found that the weight of all these made it difficult for me to cope in a healthy way. It felt so unbearable that I found myself going back to old, harmful, ways of dealing with stress. From the age of about 10-11 I have used food to deal with my emotions. I battled with Bulimia Nervosa for many many years and put my body through hell. And, recently, I found those old urges and thoughts come back. .

I was embarrassed and ashamed. I thought I had this eating disorder thing sorted and it was in my past. Unfortunately for me, being overweight/obese means that a lot of medical professionals focus on it as the root of all ill-health. During the course of my disorder, I was overweight (normal weight and underweight) and I had ill-informed GPs tell me that if I lost weight X, Y, or Z would magically get better – everything from pains in my ankles to depression. Anyway, this focus on my weight and how it is “bad” got twisted in my head. The stress in my life was due to my weight rather than from normal life stuff.

My husband has been wonderful during this whole experience. He doesn’t really understand eating disorders but he’s been a great support. Even taking a day off work to help look after Ethan when I wasn’t doing so well. I also have the support of my psychiatrist and I’m on the look out for a good GP who is knowledgeable in mental health issues.

Ethan and I

Ethan and I out and about

In the past, I’d have just let myself fall down the hole that is Bulimia and Anorexia. But, since getting married and having a child I have so much more to live for. I can’t have both – some people can continue functioning with an eating disorder, I cannot. And, out of the two, I’d rather a life with Tim and Ethan. Things are finally starting to improve for me. I’ve discovered exercising, specifically going for a walk, seem to help release stress. I’m also linking in with a dietitian who specialises in eating disorders so I can get my eating back to a healthier place. And on that note, I should actually be studying JavaScript and e-waste so I’ll leave it there.

If you want more info on eating disorders – Butterfly foundation
If you are feeling distressed – Lifeline (13 11 14)
or KidsHelpline if you are between 5-25  (1800 555 1800)

I’m nerdy and I know it

MjAxMy1lZjE4ZTIwOTU2MmQ2OTRj

Some things don’t really change. Uni doesn’t start until July 15 and yet I am sitting here in the study going through my first weeks’ material. I am actually recovering from a nasty stomach flu.

My computer is set up, course notes are being printed and perused, and I am excitedly waiting to get my course textbook. I have a mattress set up in there so bub has somewhere to sleep while I study. I think my best bet is going to be studying at night and cleaning during the day with Ethan. It’s going to take some juggling but I’ll get there.

It will mean less Doctor Who reruns or Star Wars movie nights. But, in the end it will be worth it.

My love affair with the slow-cooker and the dishwasher

ethan nap

Quick! Time to get things done

I went into this SAHM gig knowing that it was a lot of work. I have to say a big hats off to the mum’s who manage both home and work. But, I didn’t realise how difficult it would be with an active, inquisitive 9.5 month old son. I need to juggle the running of the household with impromptu games of chasey (on all fours).  I wish the all day ABC Kids channel kept him amused. Alas, once the theme song is finished, Ethan is bored with the TV and is off finding something else potentially dangerous to lick or headbutt.

Being able to chop up some meat and veggies then whacking it in the slow cooker has reduced my 4-6pm anxiety. I love my slow cooker. Especially, the nights that my husband works. The time he leaves coincides with dinner time and Ethan’s bed time. So, I was trying to cook dinner with a cranky and tired baby.  Now, I just get it all ready during his day time naps or while he’s playing with his dad and by dinner time it’s ready to serve.

Sad thing is, we have had the slow cooker the whole time. Tim’s folks got it for him before he’d even met me. It just took a while for things to click for me. I can be a little slow some times.

Then, once he was asleep I’d be running around trying to get all my “quiet” housework done. Now that my wonderful FIL has installed the dishwasher, I can put things in and set the timer to wash while I fold/put away Ethan and Tim’s toys.

I love things that make my life easier. And, I am not ashamed to say it. It means I get quality time with Ethan and can use his nap times to catch my breath instead of the mad dash to get everything done before he wakes up.

All I can do is laugh type of day

ecard

It has just been one of those days. The kind that start at 4 am with my son overfilling his nappy. We have a family bed arrangement so if one of us wets the bed, we all sleep in a wet bed. Lucky for me, bub was cuddling me when the nappy had hit full capacity…leaving me with a uncomfortable wet patch and a wide-awake child. By 5am we gave up and got out of bed to watch the news and have coffee.

My husband works from 12-9 PM on Saturdays so he was busy ironing uniforms and getting ready. Ethan and I were laying on the couch watching TV when he rolled towards me and my heart stops. His face was covered in blood…as was our pillow. I managed to hobble (I’ll explain the hobbling in a sec) to the bathroom to get a face washer to wipe his face and stop the bleeding. You know what it was, a tiny scratch that had scabbed. It’s on the bridge of his nose and he must have wiped it everywhere. Yeah, not cool Ethan, not cool.

Now, the hobble. Before I was pregnant I had a possible disc injury. The drs never actually investigated it so I don’t know for sure. I’ve also got a cruddy spine and a pelvis that never recovered from the pregnancy (Those SPD/PGP stuff hasn’t gone away).Something has gone awry so I can’t weight bare on my right side.

Then there were some funny moments:

  • Ethan trying to touch the bubbles in the toilet
  • Gherkin yelling at the cat across the street
  • The discovery of Tim’s chocolate stash and watching Ethan’s reaction to the small taste he got of it.

Just when I thought I’ll try and get some housework done now that Ethan is asleep, my washing machine managed to liberate the drainage hose and flood our garage…Two things there: 1. It’s a 6.5kg capacity machine that had a full load, and 2. Did I mention we only moved in about a fortnight ago so most of our stuff is in cardboard boxes…in the laundry.

I swear, it’s Wine O’clock and I don’t even drink.

All I can do is laugh…I’m not game to cook dinner in case I set it on fire (again)

The machine just finished and is singing at me to get back into my good graces. I’m not convinced.