The decision to go back to school is one that will affect the entire family. In the long run it likely will mean a better way of life for everyone, but in the short term there will be hectic schedules, late suppers and childcare providers to find. Knowing what to expect and how best to deal with it will make the experience less stressful for all and increase the chances of earning that degree.
Graduating with a degree can be one of the proudest moments in anyone’s life, but there’s no doubt getting there as a busy mom provides extra obstacles not encountered by traditional students. Overcoming those hurdles will require some planning before the first term paper is due.
*Talk with kids – Success in school is going to require the cooperation of everyone else in the family, especially the children. Sit down with them ahead of time and spell out what will be expected of them, from helping out with household chores to being responsible for their own homework assignments. Determine if there is anything, such as laundry or packing their own lunches, they will need to be taught ahead of time. Discuss whether there will be rewards for completing these tasks along with possible bonuses if they go above and beyond. The more they are willing to help the easier studying will be for their parent.
*Get organized – Time is going to be at a premium so planning tasks ahead of time as much as possible will help. Create a calendar with everybody’s special events, major homework assignments and test dates listed. It could also be used to easily show who is responsible for what chores. Make sure the children are able to read and understand it to avoid any misunderstandings later.
*Set goals – The more specific the goals the easier it will be to be reminded why the hard work is worth it. Make sure the goals are realistic. It might help to write them down and put the paper somewhere it can be an occasional reminder.
*Seek financial aid – There are several grant sources available to help provide some funding for women going back to college, including grants for single mothers. Federal and state governments offer some grants in an effort to encourage women to enter traditionally male-dominated fields, while some employers offer financial aid hoping what the employees learn will benefit the company. It is worth investigating what aid is available. Unlike loans, a grant is free money that doesn’t have to be paid back (providing certain criteria are met).
*Studying – Study time will have to be whenever an opportunity presents itself, including after the kids go to bed and during lunch breaks. If the children have their own homework, a group study time could be established.
Teamwork will be the key to success for a busy mom heading back to school. All the hard work will be worth it once that diploma is hanging on the wall in its frame and that new, better job has been found.
Christina Lloyd writes for a website that has lots of useful information about grants for women going back to school. She thinks time management is the key to balancing returning to school with being a mom.