Juggling an Online MBA and Raising Children

Finding the time to earn an MBA while raising children isn’t easy, but our Student Ambassador Racheal makes it work for her and her family! Read her tips for managing online learning as a busy mother.

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As a parent, studying is both a challenging and rewarding task. It was a bit daunting at first to make out time to study around my children’s nap times, especially in the early days when my kids were still very young and trying to figure out their sleeping pattern. In this article, I will share some of my best tips for balancing my family commitments with study.


snack prep
  • Prepare some meals and snacks before studying

Hungry people are unpredictable in their behaviour regardless of their age. Especially my kids -- they become very cranky and restless, which is outside their norm of behaviour when they are less hungry. Before studying, I make sure there is a healthy and appetising snack for me and the kids. This is particularly important around noon, so if they wake up in the middle of my study time I won’t have to spend too much time peeling apples, for instance!

Full stomachs will keep possible fits of rage under control so I can concentrate without interference. My afternoon study sessions are often kept short – say, 30 minutes maximum –  which involves catching up on a tutorial or gathering some information for my coursework. I also use this time to review my assignment tasks and write down key areas I would like to discuss with my lecturer in my next tutorial.

  • Make your study a family activity

During my study sessions I involve my children with their own learning, screen time or even free play - especially when my husband is home or during weekends. Before I start, I set up an activity table for my children where they can scribble, or a play area for my youngest child. 
This doesn’t last long as they get bored easily, but at least it will take their attention away from me for a few minutes. This way, I can convert my study time into a fruitful family activity.

  • Study during their rest time

The best opportunity to study is when my children are resting. I try as much as I can to exploit this time, ensuring I have set up my study space beforehand so that I am ready to go. That way, I can peacefully transition into the studying realm, especially when I hear their delightful little wheezes coming from their rooms, and know that they are deeply asleep. 

Since giving birth to my kids and incorporating studies into my plans, it didn’t take me long to turn into a night owl. I seem to be more academically productive at night due to the peace and quiet I get from the late hours.

Studying in the evening
Self care
  • Make out time for self-care

Often as parents, we want to make sure everything is perfect in our family, in our careers, studies, etc. In the process of juggling all of these at the same time, it’s very easy to lose yourself. Hence, engaging in things that make me happy keeps me healthy and sane. For example, a 15 minutes workout with my favourite online fitness coach helps me kick start my day, and releases enough energy to get on with my daily activities. 

Especially in this difficult Covid climate, it’s important to look after our personal health just as much as looking after our family and studies. I try to find a balance, even though it can sometimes go the other way. However, that is okay too, as when it does I readjust and make the best out of it.

In summary, it is possible to juggle looking after your children and taking up an online MBA course. Learning to plan ahead of time is key and enables you and your family to enjoy every moment of your time being a student, together. With these tips, hopefully you can take one or two things away to help you get started if you are a parent and looking to start an online study. Good luck!