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Is it possible to do a masters with two young children?

22 replies

roseability · 03/03/2010 14:24

I am torn between being a SAHM or doing something for myself and furthering my career

I am a nurse with a first class honours degree. I always fancied doing a masters in research, as I feel I am suited to the academic side of things. Needless to say I didn't get round to it pre children.

I am 30 with a four year old and a nine month old. My Dh's career has taken off and we are in a financial position for me to give up work. Whilst I don't love my one shift a week job in a hospital, I am craving doing something for myself. I do love being a mum but my confidence has taken a bit of a knock.

Is it possible to study to this level without neglecting your family? Will I have bitten off more than I can chew? Should I just enjoy these years and maybe study later, when both kids are at school?

I am stuck! And what is more dh wants more kids! I am not sure really. I had a difficult childhood and teenage years and settled down quite young. I am craving doing this for me.

OP posts:
castille · 03/03/2010 14:28

I started my MA when my DDs were 3 and 5. For the 2nd year I also worked part time and DH was away for weeks on end. I did my MA work in the evenings and at weekends.

Mine was part time over 2 years, mostly via correspondence/internet though I had to attend the university for exams. Is that possible in your field?

If so, and if you are motivated and organised it is possible!

roseability · 03/03/2010 14:35

I think it is mostly self directed study. Although I would give up my job if I was doing it. I might wait another year and apply to start in September 2011. My kids will be 2 and 5 then. It is a bit late to apply for this September and my DD is still a baby.

OP posts:
castille · 03/03/2010 19:50

Yes I think it might be a bit optimistic to do it with a baby, though I'm sure plenty of people do! In fact there was a woman on my course who had a newborn when we were taking exams...

I say go for it!

ememum · 03/03/2010 22:00

I tried it when my dd was 6 months old and soon gave up. However the reason I stopped was that the course was not what I'd thought it would be and I found a lot of the work dull. If it had been something that really interested me I would have been able to find the time. I'd say do it - but make sure you really research everything beforehand. Would you be studying something that you'd genuinely be happy to read about now in your 'free' time? At the time I asked for a reading list before the course started and was told not to worry about it - I should have insisted.

ememum · 03/03/2010 22:03

I tried it when my dd was 6 months old and soon gave up. However the reason I stopped was that the course was not what I'd thought it would be and I found a lot of the work dull. If it had been something that really interested me I would have been able to find the time. I'd say do it - but make sure you really research everything beforehand. Would you be studying something that you'd genuinely be happy to read about now in your 'free' time? At the time I asked for a reading list before the course started and was told not to worry about it - I should have insisted.

Acinonyx · 03/03/2010 23:17

It's as possible as it is to work full or part time. But that is how you will need to view it and you will probably need some childcare to pull it off succesfully. Also, funding for masters is as rare as hen's teeth - so be sure you can cover all the costs.

I did a masters before dd, then had dd during my PhD. I took time out then she started childcare 2 days/week at 14 months then upped to 3 days/week. It's totally doable if you treat it like a job - whether that be full or part-time.

moondog · 03/03/2010 23:26

I've just completed my MSc-started when kids were 2 and 5 and I have worked f/t throughout.
My dh also works abroad for long periods of time.

It was very hard work but I don't think I neglected my kids.
I got rid of a lot of stuff from my life thoguh, such as tv.
It's the best thing I ever did. I needed to stretch myself and go in a slightly different direction workwise and it has happened.

I am very proud of myself-got a distinction too.

RedbinDippers · 03/03/2010 23:32

I think that the MSc is less challenging timewise than a first degree, it does require you to think a bit more. Do it.

BlacknoSigar · 03/03/2010 23:35

why does a nurse need a honours degree. is it that hard to clean bedpans.

Ellokitty · 04/03/2010 00:15

I think it depends on how flexible the course is. I started my MA a year before my DD1 was born, and completed it weeks before my DD2 was born (3 years later). I am now working on my second MA (but this one is for fun) and I have two children (6 and 3). I manage it very slowly, and because it is flexible. That I think makes a huge difference. I have worked part time throughout.

tortoiseonthehalfshell · 04/03/2010 00:19

My husband is studying towards his PhD with one young child (she was born when he was a year in, he took over the main childcare when she was 5 months) and it's fine, but we do have to use some childcare now she's mobile.

He studies all day Sunday and Monday (I'm home Mondays), looks after her Tues and Wed, and studies again Thurs and Fri when she's at nursery. So he has four full days to study/work.

So I think go for it, but you will find it hard if you're fulltime at home with the kids. If you're happy to use some nursery, it'll work.

Mongolia · 04/03/2010 00:31

DS was born just in the middle of my MA studies, what I found difficult was:

  • It was impossible to study while DS was awake, therefore my study hrs were 8 pm to 3-4 am.

  • I couldn't enjoy DS as much because I always had all the amount of work at the back of my mind, I couldn't enjoy the studies as much as I was always feeling I was missing on DS.

  • I was very tired, even before starting the study time, my memory (thanks to lack of sleep/ pregnancy or wahtever) was nil. I read a lot, took notes, even wrote summaries of everything I read and the next morning I could only knew I had wrote that because it was in my handwriting!

  • The main problem with a master by research is that you have the added stressor that you never know if you are going to find that very precise and important article you so much need for your research. You may find it today, tomorrow or next year, so better to take it easy or plan ahead as early as possible.

  • As it was said you need to treat it as a job. It is doable, very hard work, and if working on your own, you will need a lot of self discipline. Otherwise, forget it. But is worth it, I enjoyed mine a lot, and was stupidly proud when I got distinction.
mears · 04/03/2010 00:52

Probably easier to do masters with young children. I started mine when working full time and with 4 teenage children. There is no doubt my family suffered as a result of it. So did I. I exited with a post graduate diploma and look back on it all as a horrendous experience! Younder children who sleep would have been a bonus!!

mears · 04/03/2010 00:52

younger that is

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Mongolia · 04/03/2010 12:15

Free advertising it's ok for good causes, but FGS go and start your own thread!

Ellisa · 04/03/2010 22:56

Not doing my Masters yet as I'm only in the last year of my BA, but with a 14 year old and a 6 year old, I'd think about who will help the children with homework if you leave it they they are older and have theirs as well as you doing your study...

Have now got DH to agree to help DS2 with one part of his homework each night when DH is off work and that eases it a bit, and of course DS1 being 14, he gets on with most of it on his own.

Painten · 04/03/2010 23:22

My sister has is just about to finish her degree. It was a full time 3 year degree sorry i don't know the letters. It has been hard work. Her kids were young when she started it. Her oldest is 5 this month and her youngest is 4 in july. So both were still young when she started it the youngest not even a year.

It has been so hard but like you her hubby had a good job and they could afford for her to get the qualifications for a career. She has worked really hard and is inline for a 1st.

The worst thing for her though is that although her husband said he'd be supportive and he understood that she'd be happier and they'd have a much better income, etc he found another woman and left her last year citing that she wasn't spending enough time with him.

I would say go for it but really make sure your hubby understands that for a few years your time will be spent on kids and uni and he will may not be as much a priority with you as when you are not studying.

Snuppeline · 05/03/2010 12:19

Hello Roseability, great thougth you have there. I think its a really good idea to do something in terms of studies and furthering your career while your children is young. That way you maintain a sense of selfworth which isn't connected to doing a fab job as a mum (which I am sure you already do). I had my daughter when I was just starting a PhD. I didn't plan the pregnancy and just left a well paid job in industry to take up the degree so I didn't want let it go and was initially planning to do it full time. I was advised against that by my supervisor (who had just had a baby himself) and so registered as part-time instead. It has worked really well so far. When she was a few months old and we had a bit of a routine going I worked around her sleeping patterns and also did a few things in the evening when my partner was home. I would advise you to have your partners firm support before beginning as there will be times when you have deadlines, or just to have a routine where he puts the children to bed a couple of nights a week to give you space to work for a few hours.

Speaking of hours, a part-time degree should be 16 hours a week. It should be fairly easy to find at least 12-14 in your week without giving up everything which resembles social-life and family-life. I would then plan to work a little extra round exams and that.

My perspective have changed a bit since becoming a mother and I'm no longer aiming to change the world dramatically with my research, but I enjoy it on a more fundamental level now and I relish using my brain and having 'me-time' through studying. I also still have time to do the occational coffee morning, sing-time and baking session childhood requires. In fact I think I have more freedom than I would have had if I were working yet I have access to both wonderful worlds. If your planning to study full-time I think you should consider it as a full-time job (with more freedom) which means childcare and that sort of thing for the children.

So for me it has been worth it so far and I would recommend it to anyone. And if I am on the right track I will in fact graduate before my daughter does!! (A joke my more settled friends had with me while I was pregnant). Best of luck!

mathshoneybunny27 · 05/03/2010 22:51

Do it! And you will thrive and enjoy it, no doubt.

anotherusername · 06/03/2010 09:35

Hi, I would say go for it if you can do it part time!
Just always remember to reevaluate how it's effecting your kids as obviously they come first.
I did a year's fulltime college last year and I do think my boy, (whom was aged 1.5-2.5 during that time) did suffer a little bit.
With travelling and all We were leaving the house at 8am and not getting home until 6pm, I would only get a couple of hours a day with him, and he'd scream most mornings I left him, he never got used to it how they said he would, I even picked the best daycare centre which cost a bit more, after a year his speech was very delayed, he didn't speak much.
He obviously did not thrive from being away from me in daycare, however within months of me finishing college his speach suddenly all came on at once and we were both obviously much happier.
So being away from your kids is a sacrafice to both them and you, just make sure you don't sacrafice too much.
I'm going back to college in september (with another baby now) and have decided not do more than 16 hours this time.
They're only babies once I want to enjoy them and give them all they need from me.

mrsseed · 08/03/2010 15:42

Definately do it - I finished a degree course (my second degree) when I was 7 months pregnant - I had to redo 1 exam with a 3 month old baby. I work full time and am now putting together a chartership portfolio while 5 months pregnant and expect to have to do presentations and interviews again with a few month old and the bonus of a 4yr old.
A friend has done her masters with a baby and a toddler and a full time job,

Its doable, is hard work, but worth it. You just have to make sure you are incredibly organised -oh and if you can get a cleaner!

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