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Possible to undertake a masters with a newborn?

(15 Posts)
alovelycuppatea Sat 22-Nov-14 12:21:55

Would I be completely bonkers to do this?! I have been looking to make a career change for a few years and this particular masters course is something that could really help me to make that switch. My issue up until now is that I can't really afford to take the time off work, but DH and I have started ttc and all going to plan would ideally be giving birth in the autumn - just as the course starts. My firm offers reasonably good mat leave - 8 weeks full then 21 half pay plus retaining all my extra benefits like car allowance, pension contributions etc. After 29 weeks that is it, but it I could take up to a year unpaid. It is a full time course but has the option to do part time....while I want to enjoy my mat leave, would I even have the time to think about studying or should I be focusing all my attention on baby to be?! It just feels like a very productive use of time and a good way to instigate a real change in career (which I am desperate to do). I'm 38 so cant really take a year out to study before having a child...any views or anyone been mad enough to attempt this? smile

morethanpotatoprints Sat 22-Nov-14 12:26:52

I would focus time on baby to be, although when baby is about a year old it is possible with lots of support from dh.
I think the support is the most important thing.
I did a degree with a one year old but dh was really supportive, I couldn't have done it without his support and I was still working through the night towards the end.
It is hard work and you need to be motivated, I'm not sure I could have done it with a tiny baby.

TonightTonight Sat 22-Nov-14 12:40:35

There are certainly people who have done PhDs while caring for an infant and I take my hat off to them. I couldn't have done it. Before I went on maternity leave I thought it would be a great opportunity to do some reading around some technical areas that I wanted to develop into - and I took a lot of literature home with me for that purpose. I did get a bit done before DS arrived but after that I was lucky if I managed to make a cup of tea. I went back to work pretty quickly and very occasionally managed to get a bit of work done in the evening, but most of the time I couldn't manage it. It will depend a lot on your baby's sleep patterns and temperament, what support you have and I suppose your tolerance for leaving him or her to cry.

Elllimam Sat 22-Nov-14 12:44:07

I did my MSc part time with a bump, then a new born and graduated 8 months pregnant with my second. It was ok actually but my course was mostly online, only a couple of study days a year. I start my doctorate in January with a 2 year old and a 6 month old shock

Mintyy Sat 22-Nov-14 12:45:39

The first year of my first child's life was the busiest and most exhausting year I have ever had. She wasn't a difficult baby, we got sleep sorted out by six months and I didn't suffer pnd, infact I was quite euphoric about being a mum.

However, I somehow didn't even have time to wear lace up shoes or do much in the way of proper cooking, keep up with friends, get anything done around the house ... etc, etc.

No way on this earth could I have studied for a Masters!

rastamam Sat 22-Nov-14 12:53:11

I finished my masters just before my ds was born, no way could I have managed it once he was here. I think someone else on the course (online) dropped out/defered when her baby was born. Its hard work with a newborn and pretty exhausting (but awesome).

Inbl00m Sat 22-Nov-14 13:11:30

I've got a 10-week-old and thought maternity leave would provide a good opportunity to get back into a few hobbies (photography, etc.) that have fallen by the wayside what with having a very demanding career. The reality is that although DD is an amazing baby (very content, sleeping through, etc.) there still aren't enough hours in the day. I struggle to keep on top of the basics like making a sandwich and washing my hair. It's due to the way babies organise their days. Everything happens in short bursts so you only ever get a few minutes downtime and you never quite know when it will be! Unless you already have a lot of experience with babies you're also learning SO much caring for a small person for the first time that your brain prioritises that above all else. This morning I've forgotten the word 'tupperware' and called my dog the wrong name. Twice.

It's lovely having a baby but personally there's no way I could study at the same time smile

alovelycuppatea Sat 22-Nov-14 14:37:37

Gosh thanks all for the feedback! I think I am maybe kidding myself that it is do-able. Maybe will look into distance learning and doing just a module at a time online as you suggest Elllimam - good luck with your doctorate!

Heels99 Sat 22-Nov-14 14:39:12

I couldn't have done it. Unless I had full time childcare. New bored are hard work. Masters are hard work. Combining the two is very hard work and you will likely not be able to enjoy either!

Elllimam Sat 22-Nov-14 18:28:57

Thanks smile good luck with your masters. Mostly online learning definitely worked for me, I had a lot of long nights breastfeeding and studying smile

Amummyatlast Sat 22-Nov-14 18:56:17

I certainly couldn't have done it. Like others have said, in the first 6 months I was lucky if I had cup of tea, let alone try to study. I'm just getting back into my masters (I'm doing it online so I could take a break) and even now, with study leave from my employer and a SAHD, I find it hard to find the time.

Chunderella Tue 25-Nov-14 12:46:42

Why do you only get 29 weeks paid? If in the UK, you should be getting at least SMP until 39 weeks.

RunnerHasbeen Tue 25-Nov-14 13:04:44

I would still apply for the Masters, if you can plan to do it part time and your job part time, you don't know when you will get pregnant and I wouldn't put life on hold to that extent. Would part time work leave you with much less money than when you are paying childcare? I don't think you can combine a newborn with a Masters though, even if it makes financial sense, but you will be able to take a year off in the middle of the Masters, perhaps doing your dissertation part in your own time with a baby, thus shortening it.

I suppose it also depends on the Masters, what is it in? The one in my department is pretty much full time lectures with work on top but there is a flexible on-line, part time version that takes 3 years. Have you investigated the chance your work will pay you to do it if it is related?

Peppageorge Mon 01-Dec-14 19:33:28

I did my second year of my Masters course with a new born. Went to a seminar 3 days after giving birth - looking back I think I was still euphoric/in shock/denial (?) from the birth!!! It wasn't easy but I was v lucky and had help from my partner and my parents with childcare. Tbh the first few weeks my son slept loads so I was able to do lots of reading. I remember doing a lot of reading in the wee hours. If I remember correctly I had one seminar a week for a module. My advice would be to do it over 2 years - I wouldn't have been able to do a one year course in that maternity year. You say you are ttc - well it might take you some time to get pregnant. Also you might find that you can defer a module? Also lower your expectations - I did the masters to help me move into University teaching - I didn't ever hope to get more than a pass mark! (And I didn't - but I did get a Masters that has helped in my career. Good luck! )

MaybeDoctor Mon 01-Dec-14 20:53:21

I have just finished a masters with a pre-school age child and I think the thing that you have to bear in mind is that there just isn't that opportunity for long, leisurely hours of reading and getting your head around something - the only time you can study is when they are asleep or being looked-after by someone else. Don't get me wrong, I became a published writer while on maternity leave, but of 1000 word articles not postgraduate assignments!

I also think it is easier to go back to something rather than start something new while you are on maternity leave - can you start a module now to see how you get on and get into the swing of things?

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