Juggling a Newborn While in Graduate School

A blog post from SOLES MA in Counseling, Clinical Mental Health specialization Ambassador, Kim Macias:
I am a 3rd year Clinical Mental Health Counseling student here at USD. When I last wrote, I went over the transition from the work force to being a student. Today I am writing about a very different experience: balancing family and school.
At the time of this blog post I have a wonderful 7 month son Mateo. It has been an amazing experience thus far. Both my husband and I are in graduate school. There was a learning curve trying to balance school, work, and a child. I want to share some of how I do that with you.
First off I was lucky enough that we could afford for me to quit working. While I am determined to complete my degree on time and be the very best mom I can be, I knew I just couldn’t work. This last semester I was also able to work with my school schedule so that I was away from Mateo for just one day and my husband was able to stay at home that day. Also, I was able to take this summer off because of taking summer school last year, and carefully planning the upcoming school year.
During the actual semester, my husband and I had a good system down. I would take care of Mateo till my husband came back from his program. At that point, he took over baby duty so I could finish the school work I wasn’t able to do while Mateo was napping or otherwise entertained. There was some trial and error involved, and my family would stop by to make sure we were eating and weren’t buried under a pile of laundry.
With all of that being said, I am very fortunate that things worked out the way that they have. The three main components that made this possible are:

  • Support systems

I cannot say enough how important a support system is. In our program, we are taught that support systems are so important for our client’s success in their counseling journey. The same can be said for everyone going through a trying time. My mom is such a big help. She understands what I am going through and is able to provide the extra support I need.

  • Asking for help

Don’t be afraid to speak up when you need help. There will be times where you may feel like you are doing too much, so let those around you help. Also, the instructors and faculty at USD have been beyond helpful whenever I have had a question or concern about continuing schooling.

  • Time management and planning ahead

Again, shout out to the faculty at USD. When I found out I was expecting, I sat down with my advisor and we came up with a game plan that allowed me the most time at home with Mateo while still graduating on time. Once he was here I made sure that I was on top of my deadlines and kept track of everything I needed to do; scheduling doctor appointments and play dates around essay due dates and group projects.
This coming semester I will be starting my practicum at an amazing site. This will also bring more changes to my family. I am lucky that my mother will be helping out those first few months as I return to school. I have no clue how it will all turn out, but I do know that with the support systems I have I will make it all work while enjoying my last year of school and our little family.

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