Before you scoff at this title and think that I am an utter crazy lady for putting university and motherhood in the same time title, please let me explain, that actually the two experiences have more in common that you might first think. Before I was a sleep deprived Mumma who lived on caffeine and chocolate buttons. I was a list writing border line alcoholic Politics student who survived on gin and Chinese takeaways. So while these two experiences by sound complete poles apart, it turns out the two have some surprising similarities.
1.You learn to survive on minimal sleep.
So when I was at University towards the end of my third year I was often having to pull all nighters to get my work finished and submitted in time. It turns out that some of my best work was produced at 2am. However I had to learn out to make it to those killer 9am lectures (9am! I would kill for 9am these days). It turns out this was just training for learning to cope with being up for those 3am feeds and still being able to function at 6am when Nora is ready for the day.
2.You learn that daytime TV is in fact pretty rubbish and know the importance of finding a good box set to watch
At University, I had roughly 8 hours contact time a week. Can you imagine that now? Just having to do something for 8 hours a week! (I literally weep at how much time I wasted). However the one thing I did learn at this time, was that there is only so much Jeremy Kyle you can watch without getting really angry and the world and feeling a little bit disgusted with the world. So I turned to box sets to feel the rather large void in my life. In those first few weeks of motherhood, it became pretty apparent that I had some spare time on my hands and I would not be lured back into daytime reality TV! Box sets really are the way forward, they are so much better than the woman that slept with her brother’s girlfriend and then married the Dad of her unborn child. (FYI that’s not an actual Jezza K case, well I bloody hope not, but you get my point).
3.You become extremely skilled at functioning and being productive with a hangover
It turns out writing a 15000 word essay with a horrendous vodka redbull hangover is way easier than looking after a baby with a chenin blanc induced one. Whodda’ thought it.
4.You become ever so inventive at creating almost edible meals out of the left overs in the fridge
As a student you’re often too poor to keep running to the Tesco express for ingredients every two minutes, and as a parent you are often too tired. University taught me to be the Queen of leftover cooking and this is a genuine skill that I have put into use recently. Roast potato pasta bake anyone? I kid I kid.
5.You understand the importance of good friendship groups
When you’re at University your friends become like your family and you’re there for each other 24/7, you’re there to swap horror stories of drunken antics the morning after the night before. The only difference in parenthood is, that although you might not live together anymore, the horror stories you now swap involve a lot more baby poo and a lot less vodka.
6.You develop great skills when it comes to dealing with people who aren’t quite your cup of tea
Lecturers are a bit like those random people on the street that tell you you’re raising your baby wrong. Don’t get me wrong there are some super cool lecturers who totally get you and respect your opinions. But you also get those super old fashioned ones who think they know best. This a bit like when you meet the crazy lady from down the street that thinks breastfeeding is only ok when it’s done by cows.
7.You become an absolute pro at optimizing minimal space
When you move into your University halls (which can only be described as a rabbit warren) you suddenly have to become an absolute ninja at finding space for all your crap. To be honest, parenthood is no different. You will completely underestimate how much stuff your baby will need and completely over estimate how much space you have. You will become an absolute pro at finding a space for everything.
8. Every day (even the shit ones) you’ll be grateful for the life you have and where you’re at in your life.
University is by far one of the greatest experiences of my life. I was living with my best friends and having an absolute blast pretty much every night of the week. However there would be days if I wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing and would question everything in my life. But now I look back and know I was exactly where I was meant to be. And it turns out that parenthood is pretty similar, whilst some days it can be a pretty rough ride and you feel like the world’s worst parent. A day will come when you’ll look back and know that actually this was the best thing you could of ever done.
So thank you UoL not only did you give me friends for life and one of those degree things. You also prepared me for the toughest challenge yet (well kinda). I mean I still struggle doing my taxes and other useful things like that. But hey, I’ll get it one day.