"I’m Remi, I’m 23 a student mum. Before I was a mum I was a student and working part time. I live in Brixton and I don’t really have hobbies (I’m too busy) but I am a writer. So, as a result I read a whole lot of books and I write for leisure as well as work."
1. In the first year of university when you discovered you were expecting, how did you feel? In what ways did your life change?
“Shocked would be a reduction of describing how I felt stunned maybe but even that just about summed it up.” I wrote a piece over on my blog called RETROSPECTIVE, it’s all about how I found out and felt about my new pregnancy. It changed my life in all of the best ways and honestly I was spurred me on to finish my degree.
2. How has your decision to be at university affected your family?
"We never had any other plan but for me to continue my degree and there was never any talk of me dropping out. So there’s not been any friction in that department, the main benefit is the long game. Our future as a family with my degree looks more financially stable than without. Currently I’d say the only issue we have is time, I’m at uni 4 days a week. So I don’t see Sanaa as much as I’d like. However, Ed is very supportive and does as much as I do with Sanaa. Even if I don’t spend as much time with her in a day as I’d like, I know she’s spent quality time with one of her parents."
3. Once you have graduated what are your future plans?
"Firstly I want to be relaxed and maybe take a few months off and travel. Then the plan is for me to become a teacher. I’m yet to decide in what capacity though. I’d also love to write a compilation of my work. That’s definitely a dream but it's a part of the plan."
4. Do you ever consider returning to work on a part-time basis? Do you feel it would be too much to take on; being a mum, studying and working?
"Well, I don’t want to go back into work part time between the two of us we are keeping ourselves above water. I also don’t think that I have the time while I’m juggling everything as it is. Unfortunately though unless my writing takes off or I can create a freelance career next summer I’ll have to get a job."
5. In your eyes what do you think is the perception of mothers in education?
"There isn’t one."
6. What are the negatives of being a mother in education?
"Well because there’s no face or voice of mothers in education it means that we are massively under-represented. I find it difficult occasionally when I am treated differently because I am a mother. Also, some higher education institutions don’t have guidelines for new parents or pregnant women so they can get away with a lot. Luckily for me my university does and its come in handy quite a lot."
7. What are the positives of being a mother in education?
"Personally going back into uni as a mum is so different than before. I have so much focus. I enjoy my new found art of being more organised. It's a skill that I’ve applied to all areas of my life. Also as long as I’m a full time student, the SLC provide a non-repayable childcare grant. Which if you know the cost of childcare you’d understand how helpful this must be."
8. Whilst you are at university does Sanaa attend a childcare establishment?
"Sanaa goes to a childminder 3 days a week. 1 day she’s with our family and 1 day I have off of uni so we have Mummy and me days. I found it incredibly hard to choose someone to look after her, I wanted to be able to do it. However, I know that its very beneficial for Sanaa to spend time with other children. Moreover, our childminder is wonderful, local and happens to be a family friend who sends us pictures and is fine with us popping in anytime."
9. When interacting with other mums who are not in education, how do you feel?
"Mums in general are quite supportive. When they find out I’m at uni they really show support. However, I don’t really speak about being a student as much as I could because my writing and family are where I’m passionate. I don’t know if they fully understand my reasons I’ve not asked but I know they respect them."
10. Do you feel that there is an adequate amount of support for mothers in education?
"Not at all."
11. What does a typical day in your shoes look like?
"It’s very busy. It usually starts at 7 and ends at 12. I tend to Sanaa and then Ed takes her to the childminders. Then I get on with any writing or uni work I have. Then I go to uni and stay there after lectures to finish any work I have. I always try to be home before Sanaa goes to bed as much as possible. This way we get in some family time with the 3 of us and I get to see her in the evening."
12. How do you balance motherhood, education and family life?
"I wish I knew, sometimes I guess I balance it great via time management and my diary. Other times (usually when I’m going to a lot of events and networking loads) Ed has let me know that I’m on the path to being overwhelmed and I need to re-evaluate how much I’m taking on, which I appreciate and think is important as we both have to help each other navigate through life so our parenthood is as stable as possible."
13. After a long day how do you unwind?
"As a couple we do a lot of movie watching and card playing. I’m also close with my neighbour so lots of chats with her in the evening as well. Finally I write. I write when I’m happy, sad and everything in between."
14. What advice would you give to mothers in education or mums wanting to return to education?
"Hang in there girl. Ask for help and find out what help you need. Plan all your days or else it’ll get overwhelming quickly. And if you believe in yourself the way you believe in your child(ren) you will be fine no matter the circumstances."
15. Please tell us more about your website?
"My website is where I share my writing, my deepest thoughts and feelings along with updates on us as a family and me alone. I chose to share my candid stumblings and discoveries with whoever will listen. In the hope someone will find some comfort in the knowledge that we’re all just winging it. I also have a podcast where I interview women who have had children under unconventional circumstances. Its not all about motherhood but it is all about my interactions and observations of the world and life."
16. Finally, please tell us where we can find you on the internet?
"Come by my Instagram: BooksBabyandBack (which is where I am often and how I share news about my work) My website is: booksbabyandback.com"
Thank you, Remi, for discussing what life is like for you as a young mother in education. It is so refreshing to interact with a young lady who knows what she wants in her life and seeks to provide the upmost best for herself and her family. I hope that you continue to persevere and attain all that you have set out to achieve (and plenty more), you are most definitely on the right track and all things shall work out for your good.
I love to read everyone’s comments and stories about their own first-hand experiences with motherhood. I feel that as mothers we have so much to share to help others because you would be so surprised at how your story could help to inspire or encourage mothers. I am excited to see how the different topics planned shall unfold and of course to meet so many remarkable and diverse mothers. If you would like to be a part of my series, please feel free to contact me at;
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