(1 June, 2011)

My two week reprieve from blogging/writing is over…and so are my exams!! Hip hip hooray. I have never studied so much in my life, even without a little grublet to take care of. I was studying Abnormal Psychology and Learning and Memory, both of which turned out to be extremely heavy subject loads…and wasn’t helped by the chaotic and confusing teaching styles. In the end the exams weren’t too bad…in fact, I felt they were pretty easy. So fingers crossed.

There are a surprising number of mums of young children in my external psychology classes. One girl lives on the Gold Coast and has two littlies, and I swear she is the most organised student I have ever met! Another lives at Suffolk Park with an eight month old baby and a 5 year old, so she struggled her way through semester…but appeared to do fine. As a friend mentioned recently, isn’t it amazing we can live in a time where we can raise young children and study a post-graduate diploma online. And even more so that the mums who are studying appear to be amongst the most diligent and well organised.

There are a few reasons for this. The first is that for most of us, this course is a second time round, and unlike the first time round of studying where the primary aim was to pass, this time there is more at stake and we want to do well. The second is that we need to do well if we want to get into honours, and for most people studying psych, this is their aim, especially if they want to go on and practice. The third is that we have such little time available, that when we do get a chance to study we go for it with guns blazing. The Gold Coast lady mentioned above studies 6 hours straight on weekend days while her husband takes the kids. The Suffolk lady was trying to squeeze in as much as she could after babies/children were in bed – but as we all know, that is the most shattering time of day. Another lady I know works a few days a week, and has two kids under 5 and does two subjects online. Needless to say, she is just superwoman. I was fortunate to have Greg home 3 -4 days of the week so he could take Elka, and when my Mum is in town she plays with Elka while I study. Other days, I go between friends who take Elka for an hour here and there so I can do what I can. So I believe I have it pretty good.

It’s great to study whilst being a mum, and for some, great to work. Another part of the brain is activated and we are challenged in different ways. At first I found it hard to go back, especially straight into statistics, as there was such a crevice between my maternal ways and the dry logic of stats and science. But it was also good having my own space and to commit myself to a goal, to be challenged and to work hard at something that wasn’t sucking on my boobs. In psychology, they call it the Protestant Ethic Effect – given the chance, even when it’s not necessary, we want to work. Even children and rats do it.

But despite all that, I am glad to have a well earned break, catch up with friends, and watch Mad Men on DVD. Until it all begins again in three weeks time! Go Mums who study and work. Hats off to you all.