Following three years in the same job, I felt the time had come to do more learning around my area of expertise. I have known for a while that I wanted to better myself, get more qualifications and in turn get to the next level of my career, but some things have been getting in the way. One of those things is finding the time. Learning and full time work, while also having a child to look after and entertain isn’t easy…
My work and what I’d love to learn
I work in digital marketing. It’s a role I fell into after a copywriting background because of my blog. I struggle with my confidence a lot because of this. I’ve never trained in digital marketing. I often struggle with imposter syndrome regularly. All I know, I taught myself. I grew my personal Twitter account to 2000 followers with hard work and determination. I didn’t understand how to use the right hashtags for visibility, I just knew how to engage. I’ve learnt so much in my 3 years as a digital marketer, but I’ve still got more to learn. After looking at the British Academy of Digital Marketing’s Digital Marketing Diploma, my work and I agreed that it looked like the perfect place to start getting me qualifications in the area I know so much about. It’s a Level 3 Diploma, which is the equivalent to a Foundation Degree, and means its a lot of work on top of everything else.
Learning around work
Until very recently I lived 35 miles from work. I drove there and back because travel sickness means I am unable to do anything else in the car anyway. I work full time. So the commute meant I had an 10.5 hour day out of the house for work. With a half hour lunch break I doubt I’d be fitting any of my learning in during work time! I have moved closer which has freed up a little time, but most of that is time when Spike is around…
Learning around home
Factor in the getting home, making tea, sorting things out and wrestling my daughter into bed, I’m sitting down around 9 most nights. We used to have to be out the house at 7:30 in the mornings so bedtime was around 10-10:30 most nights. Even with a little later out of the house time, I’m not getting any more sleep in. With a blog and exercise once a week as well, that leaves little time during weeknights to work. An hour each night if thats all I’m going to do! Weekends are pretty much out too…
Explaining the concept of independent learning time to a preschooler
My daughter doesn’t understand the concept of personal space, or independent learning. In fact, anything that means I am not giving her 100% attention, 100% of the time. If me or my partner try to pick up a book or, heaven forbid, the iPad, when she is around its like 20 questions. Usually it results in her taking the iPad to ‘write her name’ which is really cute and I want to encourage her writing and typing as much as possible. But yeah, it makes trying to work on a weekend very difficult. I can only blog/work and pretty much do anything that doesn’t involve her after bedtime.
Restructuring my priorities
I started the Diploma over Christmas and with a good break from work I got loads of reading in. I wanted to do some work every few days but switching off mum brain and housework brain makes it difficult. I always think about what else I should be doing around the house and with Spike. I guess I put bettering myself as last priority, which shouldn’t be the case! If I want to sleep I am going to have to sort out my priorities and organise my life a bit so I can fit it all in, yet sleep as well!
My new Tuesday night routine
After having a chat with T, and my weekly exercise class changing its start time to 1.5 hours later than it used to be, I started fitting more time in. Tuesday nights are my ‘me’ nights. I get home and sort tea but once it’s eaten T takes over. He keeps Spike downstairs, he gets her ready for bed and baths her, reads her a bedtime story etc. All while I stay in our room and work on my course.
Fitting it all in,
I have also started, whenever possible, doing our food shopping online. Spike goes to swimming lessons every Saturday morning and as the leisure centre is next to our local supermarket, I was doing it while T took her to her lesson. Instead I’ve been doing the food shopping online and getting a good hour and a half of work in while they are at her lesson.
I’m really enjoying the work I’m doing on my course, its really interesting and although I have only done the first one and a half assignments, it looks like its going ok. I have between 9 months and 3 years to complete it but I am hoping to complete it this year if I can fit it all in!
Are you learning as an parent? I’d love to hear your tips for how you fit it all in!