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Story of a mature student

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Being a tutor and a mother; finding the balance

I face a certain amount of stigma as a mother and a student tutor. Firstly, there’s that presumption that I have my life together and that I will be 100% prepared, 100% of the time; I’m not, I’m a complete mess just like any other students. But also, oddly, there’s a feeling that I must be applying my maternal instincts to my students. Should I feel bad that I don’t feel that way about my students? In my opinion, when they hit 18 they’re adults, they need to be responsible for organising their own schedules, managing their own time, and doing their own work. I will not pander to them as I feel others presume I would. Part of my thoughts on this may also be due to me being a mature student, but I digress. The difficult part of being a mother whilst being a tutor, actually, is when I go home.

When my kids are running around screaming, fighting over the iPad or refusing to eat the (admittedly, not amazing) dinner I slaved over, the absolute last thing I want to do is sit down and prepare my tutorial slide or grade assignments. The result for me is a lot of chocolate, coffee, energy drinks, and late nights. I manage my time pretty well but I’d argue my time management isn’t even about me anymore; I have to organise the daily lives of my two kids and sometimes my husband too! So even the best laid plans tend to go awry. Despite this, I love my degree, I love my job, and I love my family. There’s nothing that I would change about it. Sure, it’s hard and inconvenient and my husband complains about having to entertain the kids all weekend while I sink coffee after coffee, grading assignments and giving feedback to students; but, it’s also worth it. I would never ever suggest that being a full time student and part time tutor would mean that I can’t also be an amazing mother (because lets’ be honest, I am), but there definitely is a balancing act here. I think I’m doing ok at walking the line down the middle; there’s no denying that it’s hard, though.