What I’ve Learned from Having a Baby in College

Erika Pokrivsak and family. Photo Courtesy Erika Pokrivsak / Didco Photography Erika Pokrivsak and family. Photo Courtesy Erika Pokrivsak / Didco Photography
Erika Pokrivsak and family. Photo Courtesy Erika Pokrivsak / Didco Photography
Erika Pokrivsak and family.
Photo Courtesy Erika Pokrivsak / Didco Photography

By Erika Pokrivsak
Contributing Writer

1. College students are just like toddlers. 

They are constantly whining about being hungry, bored or in need of a nap.

2. It is possible to type a paper on your laptop while simultaneously breastfeeding. 

It just takes some patience and practice, some creative balancing and the ability to tune out the constant sucking noise. Also, be prepared for when the baby unlatches mid-suck. Breast milk and Macbooks don’t mix.

3. 8:00 a.m. classes are a lot easier to get up for when you’re trying to escape your cranky toddler. 

Seriously. Every daycare teacher, grandparent and daily caregiver deserves a round of applause.

4. You instantly become the parent voice of every class when everyone finds out you have a kid.  

Any discussion that relates to parenting or children will result in you giving your opinion about whether boys should play with dolls or if kids actually learn anything from TV.

5. Your purse full of snacks and Advil will come in handy with all of your friends and the random girl in the bathroom.

Also, prepare to be referred to as “Mom.”

6. You will often find your pens replaced by pacifiers. 

Because the toddler took your pens to scribble in your math book, which is also missing from your backpack.

7. Being up all night during the early months of having an infant prepares you to stay up through the wee hours of the morning to finish papers. 

While the toddler sleeps on your lap, because the toddler doesn’t sleep in her bed. And don’t try writing it while the toddler is awake, because she enjoys smacking the keyboard of your Macbook.

8. Using all of your patience on your well-meaning toddler decorating the walls (and probably herself) with spaghetti means you will have a low tolerance for the excuses of the college students in your classes. 

“I didn’t have time to finish my paper because I worked at Starbucks on Saturday,” becomes invalid compared to the hoops you have to jump through to write a paper or even go pee alone.

9. You will find creative ways and places to read and do assignments. 

Like sitting on the lid of the toilet next to the bathtub while keeping one eye on the child growing a soap bubble beard and pouring water over the edge of the tub.

10. Trading places with your boyfriend who works 60 hours a week suddenly sounds like a vacation. 

His job doesn’t assign homework, need a bath or gag at the sight of peas. It also doesn’t poop.

11. Time management is EVERYTHING. 

This one is no joke. Use a planner. Write down every assignment, every due date, every appointment, everything down to having lunch with a friend or going grocery shopping.

You cannot remember everything on your own. This also applies to non-moms.

12. Many professors are extremely understanding and accommodating of atypical students. Rather than asking for extensions on due dates, ask for assignments early and let your professor know if you run a tight schedule. Most will do their best to help you succeed. 

It turns out that “my kid deleted my entire paper while I was chasing the dog around the kitchen table trying to retrieve the last not missing pacifier,” is a completely valid reason for turning in a paper late.

Variations of this include, “my kid threw up all over me, the couch and the living room carpet an hour before the paper was due.”

13. No matter how busy my days, or how sleepless my nights, I wouldn’t trade this for the world. 

It’s all for you, Sadie.

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