My Dilemma

I’m thinking and puzzling and pondering and cogitating here. I have still not reached a decision either, which is frustrating.

You may have read my post where I was deliberating over recommencing my Open University degree this year, and then my excitable post sharing that I’d decided to go for it, and have registered for my course. I remain interested and excited about that course, that has not changed at all. I have the set books here, and have started to dip into them.

OU study books


I want to get lost in them. I’m looking forward to the day (or at least I was until recently) that my materials and texts all arrive and I can immerse myself in piles of paper, grab my highlighters, scribble notes in new notebooks and get going on my assignments. You see my love of paper and stationery is all entwined with my love of studying!

But the dilemma? Well, my main initial concern was over whether I could actually make the time to study and do this, with balancing the home, kids and this blog. I decided that with Little Man starting nursery for two days a week from September, I’d go for it, and hope to fit some work in of an evening, too. It would be a challenge, as this blog takes a lot of hours of my time, too, and I’ve just started to get the right balance between this and family life. But now there is a new issue.

Little Man is no longer starting nursery in September. He is not ready for it. Which means I have him still at home with me every day, and as you’d expect, he’s starting to drop his naps, too, which I’ve been fortunate to have until now as I’ve used them all for getting my work done. My available time to do anything at all is shrinking, let alone time to study.

If I could be certain he would start in January, as we’ve deferred it, I would just go for it and ride out a challenging 2-3 months of work. But I am not sure he will be ready in January either, which means I’ve a full year of attempting to fit studying in alongside everything else.

My nature is the sort to just say go for it, I take things on and figure it out later. But I do know that sometimes the blog/family balance can slip and it makes me unhappy when it does. I want to be fully present with my family and I don’t want to be short-tempered with my kids because of deadlines, so I am concerned about adding a whole other pile of pressure and deadlines on top of that. One alternative would be to scale back here, but this is my income and one that we can ill afford to lose, quite apart from the fact that I love it and it’s often a place to unwind.

And no, I cannot defer it for a year. I have until 2019 to complete my course or I lose two years worth of work that I’ve already completed. I need all four years to do that in, as I don’t foresee a time when I could be a full time student for a year and double up my credits to make up for lost time. So it’s pretty much now or never.

So that’s my dilemma. I don’t need the degree. I can just say no and walk away, no problems or stress caused. It’s just that I want the degree. I want to study. But my kids come first and I know that Little Man needs to be with me now. I made that decision and am happy it’s the right one. It just means I’m wavering over my History course now. I need to decide quickly, before the materials are sent, before my fees goes through.

I still haven’t got an answer. Your thoughts are more than welcome…

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21 thoughts on “My Dilemma”

  1. I say go for it – as you say you don’t *need* the qualification so if you do start and find that you are completely overwhelmed and have to quit then it won’t matter (other than the money) but you won’t know unless you try. I’m like you I’ve ways loved studying but glad to say I got my degree and my HND and Masters and TEFL qualification all before having children – one of the benefits of being an older mum! Good luck with whatever you decide! X

    1. Thanks for the advice, Sam. You are right, I am thinking of it a bit from a ‘what’s to lose’ standpoint. Still worried, though! x

  2. Wow, that’s a biggie. There’s no doubt that it will be tough for you to juggle the family/blog/study balance and I’m sure you’re concerned about getting it right. Little Man not being ready for nursery is an issue but I’m convinced you’ve done the right thing by him by deferring that. Now you need to do the right thing by you – good luck with your decision.

    1. I’m convinced of that, too, I do know that’s the right decision. Doing the right thing by my kids come easy to me, trickier to do it for myself! Thanks x

  3. That’s certainly a dilemma, but one that might be workable around…
    I can’t remember if LM is now 3? Or coming up to 3? If he is, you would be able to use his allocation of hours per week in a daycare setting – ie a nursery that’s not attached to a school, or a childminder. He would probably find the smaller groups easier and that would give you an extra the 2.5 hours 3 times a week (I think those are the numbers and they might have started the allocation from 2 years now but I might be wrong, I haven’t kept up with all the facts since stopping childminding).
    It’s very difficult to find the right place to leave your child, but a lot of the time instinct plays a big part.
    That may be a way around freeing up a bit more time, but it has to feel right for you and LM, otherwise you’d spend those hours worrying that he’s okay.
    Drop me an email if you need to, hope you reach a decision that works x

    1. He may do better there, though he really takes a long time to warm up to people, and I’m not sure he’s ready for me to put him through that yet. Thanks so much for the advice, though, definitely gives me something to think about x

  4. I finished my last professional exam 7 months pregnant with middle child. Youngest loved her afternoon naps so I just fitted it in round her…and the bump. I have a friend who took an OU degree while working as a childminder, with her own children. She used to study in the evenings and weekends. Admittedly, that was before blogs. If you really want to ge the degree, I’m sure you will find the time. No bad thing for children to see you studying along side them. A fabulous role model for them in the future.

    1. This is the problem that I see, as if my son stays awake all day, I’ll need my evenings and weekends for blogging, which leaves me with little time. But I do want it, and you’re right, a great role model, too. Thank you x

  5. This is a toughie. Would it be possible for LM to go to a childminder for a few hours each week? It would give him a chance to mix with other children and perhaps be a more gentle introduction to nursery life? x

  6. I didn’t think my middle son would be ready for nursery when he started. And when he did, there were several weeks of tears and lots of behaviour resembling your son’s. But the thing was, he’s just never been good at starting something new that feels unfamiliar. It turned out I was wrong that he wasn’t ready for nursery, because the tears about me leaving always ended when I left, and within a few weeks he was absolutely loving it there and his best friends now (aged six) are still those from nursery. You know how much kids change and grow up, too. So I think you should go for it now, struggle through, and decide that in January you’ll push through it with your son at nursery, knowing that he’ll settle and then love it (and if he doesn’t, you can always change your mind). Imagine it in exactly the same way as a mum going back to work. Your blog and your degree are your work. If you had to go to a university or an office to do either, he would have to go to nursery and you’d both have to go through the hard transition before coming out happier & stronger on the other side.

    Hope that helps. Bear in mind I’m someone who would spend lottery winnings on doing a masters as I love to study and can’t afford it, so I may be a little biased!

    1. They are my work, ’tis true, but as I don’t ‘have’ to put him through the tears, I’m loathe to do so. I do know that a few months can mean a great deal to little ones, so he may well be ready by January and all will be well. Ah, what to do! Thanks so much for the advice.

  7. i think you have nothing to lose by going for it. Your little one could very easily be ready for nursery by January they change so quickly. Maybe just set aside one evening a week for course work – not sure how that would work with your deadlines? And see how you go from there? X

  8. If you love the course and really get something from it, I say go for it. I ummed and ahhed about starting my blog business, as you know. And my main issue was that I thought it would impact time at home. Which it does, but time with the hub rather than H which I still feel guilty about. But less so. But I love the work and it is hopefully leading to the day when I can quit the other job.

    It’s always harder to regret something you never did, rather than something you gave your best effort to. I say go for it, work on getting little man ready in January and if it doesn’t work? Then you gave it your best shot xx

  9. hope you have been figuring this out, it is a tough decision. is there an option to start and drop out if it turns out to be unmanageable, or does that involve a financial outlay that wouldn’t be refundable? I tend to think the tasks we have expand to fit the time available, and that also we always find time to do the things that have to be done, but it’s whether trying to squeeze it in makes it more of a chore than an enjoyment, and what else, less necessary things would drop off along the way, that actually you may not want to compromise on. xx

    1. I’ve decided to go for it, as I feel I’m more likely to regret not trying than I cam going for it and having to stop. We will see how it goes… Thanks x

  10. Pingback: And It Is Over! #OpenUniversity - The Reading Residence

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