The further I delve into the world of web design and development, the more I realise that coding really has a lot in common with parenting.
- For starters, the tantrum the console throws up if you miss off a semi-colon is tantamount to the four-year-old’s melt-down over the wrong juice in the wrong-coloured cup.
- Who would have thought a simple capital letter could throw hours of work into disarray. It is cannily similar to the mess made by the children in their bedroom in the two minutes you have your back to them as you sort the wardrobe.
- And while we are on the subject of tidying and order, the mere-ist hint of code popped in the wrong place renders your project useless. Not unlike the loss of a favourite toy, that was definitely put on the kitchen table and nowhere else, with an added refusal for the day to remain on hold until it is found.
- Then there’s the database that refuses to log the data. You have been through that code with a fine-toothed comb. Even your tutor can’t find a error. But it refuses to listen to you and will not do as it is told. Strikingly similar to the small child who refuses to hear, that’s if he listens at all.
Little Mr Matching
- Meanwhile, trying to choose the correct shade of blue for a header and match it with the right font, for just the right look, is reminiscent of Mini Cooper 2’s inability to leave the house without his hat matching his shoes.
Art is in the detail
I love coding for its detail. I love how powerful a simple line of code can be. But in the same breath the frustration and relentless refreshing gets repetitive and tiresome pretty quickly. I love every bit of every child. I love the way they each see the world in a different way. But in the same thought I could sometimes do with 10 minutes where I am not answering a question, listening to a whiny complaint and, dare I say, a couple of hours uninterrupted sleep.
Learning as you go along
No one said learning would be easy. No one said parenting would be easy. Joining the two together seems like craziness. Welcome to my mad, Mad world.
Since I have been back at the books I have tried to create pockets of time for study. While Mini Cooper 3 was in the teeny newborn stage, there seemed to be several opportunities for this. Studying while feeding, studying while she naps, studying as she sits in the bouncy chair. Now she is 9 months old and that’s a game changer…
While she hasn’t quite cracked crawling, she is shuffling her way around in that lightning quick way that they do. I put her in one place and a second later she is somehow across the room. This has changed my study spots somewhat for no sooner have I popped her down with her toys and grabbed the laptop, she is pulling at the fireguard or pulling herself up to stand by the sofa, needing me to come and ‘Reset’ her.
Time for change
So study times have changed. As I knew they would. It means a change in expectations from me as I struggle to complete the next course unit. It seems that along with less time to study, motivation is also on a dip (read more here: This is the Wall). Not a great combination when I was trying to stick to such a tight schedule and complete this course by January.
I am now trying to create some extra time (wouldn’t we all like to do that!). By that I mean I am using Mummy Multi-Tasking to give me those precious extra moments. Suddenly by creating them, it seems only right I use them as they were intended, so they have a double use as they are helping to focus me on the task in hand.
Bye bye bland
Enter, my secret weapon, my slow-cooker. I have had the slow-cooker for about five years. Every Autumn I blow the dust off it and pop it on the side. I might make two or three lack-lustre dinners in it and then back in the cupboard it goes. Not this year. This year it needs to earn its place on the kitchen side.
Over the last few weeks I have tried to inject some flavour into the meals and last week I cracked it. Now this is going on the menu once a week giving me an extra hour of study time between the school run landing and dinner time. Now that is gold. The recipe is below.
Slowly does it
While I am at it I have put together this quick cheat sheet. Every time I bung ingredients in the slow cooker I find myself scouring the internet (and ultimately texting my slow cooker guru sister) to ask how long to cook it for. This time when I found the info I decided I would not lose it again . So here that is too (and it’s Pin-able! Follow me on Pinterest and I’m on Instagram too)
- Is the slow cooker your friend? If you want to share any slow-cooker secrets or recipes then please do so in the comments.
Slow Cooker Beef and Onion Stew
500g diced beef
3 small onions (red or white or a mix)
1 medium carrot
1 medium parsnip
1tbsp of tomato puree
A handful of fresh flat leaf parsley and fresh coriander
- Brown the meat (optional)
- Chop all vegetables (potatoes may need cutting in half to ensure they cook through – use as many as will fit!)
- Add tomato puree
- Add vegetable stock and bouquet garnis
- Stir to mix
- Pop on low for 8 hours
- Serve with fresh herbs to taste
- Enjoy with fresh crusty bread
*Made using a 3.5L slow cooker like this one…
(Please note I am now signed up to the Amazon Affiliates scheme which means I may benefit from anything you buy through this link)
Posted in Learn Direct, Mini Coopers, Studying Tagged with: knowledge, Learn Direct, learning, mini coopers, motivation, mum, studying, time
We have been camping.
While I was sat on a tree stump squinting at the LearnDirect study pages on my phone, I had an image in my mind. A vision of a warm cup of tea, a clear kitchen table, my laptop, a napping baby and an hour of study time.
As it was I had to make do with a tree stump, a sleepy baby on my back and a website which isn’t really suitable for mobile consumption and allows you to read approximately 2.7 words per scroll.
Camp studying comes with its own challenges. Not least, ensuring my phone had enough charge and enough data to enable me to log in to my remote learning course. Thanks to my ickle pink power brick and an obsession with Airplane Mode, I managed to have enough of both to enable me to continue to study.
But studying in the sun’s rays, surrounded by the woods did have its perks. I found it very grounding to be studying surrounded by nature. By a world that just grows by itself. Greenery that just has the knowledge to flourish and survive.
With nature ringing in my ears I continued my reading and note-taking between games of Scrabble, toasted marshmellows and glo-stick revelry.
Camping is about enjoying freedom. The open fields, the space, the night sky, all o their best to remind us we are part of something much bigger, It’s these two ideas that have stuck with me over the last few days. As I get my head around being accepted as a #DigitalMum and get excited by the freedom that opportunity should offer and the idea that I could be a small part of the big digital age picture.
Usually a camping trip is about getting away from technology. Leaving the chargers at home and letting the digital world rage without me. This year I have needed to bend the rules – just a little.
Camp studying reminds me that grabbing the odd 15 minutes here and there makes learning possible. That anything I learn in 15 minutes is enough. It isn’t about sitting at the kitchen table for hours on end. It’s about making a positive effort to do a little every day and setting a realistic goal.
So I logged in with the intention of spending 15 minutes studying each day. Some days mini Cooper 3’s nap allowed me a bit more time. But it didn’t matter if she didn’t because I was only ever aiming for a quick win in a short amount of time.
If I managed to learn something new in just 15 minutes, then I achieved my goal.
Like nature I am slowly but surely growing. I may not notice it on a daily basis. I may not see a massive change in a week. But eventually the sum of all these 15 minute study sessions will be a big change in mine and my family’s life.
The Kitchen Table… somewhere under there (honest!)
And so we return home with three muddy children stinking of camp fire. To a house of empty cupboards, forgotten toys and a telly. I fire up the lap top, log in and venture towards the kitchen table.
Alas, my dream is not to be once more; mini Cooper 1 is making HMS Victory, the washing we didn’t take camping with us is folded and piled up along with The Piles of Doom which continue to grow and never seem to diminish (and never will all the while I spend my time writing blog posts and studying rather than sorting them).
What’s a mum student to do? I gaze out the window at the nature, pop the baby on the toy mat, return to Sofa HQ and log in.
Posted in Studying Tagged with: camping, growth, knowledge, learn, mum, studying