Heading back to school can seem intimidating — at first. However, considering that you’ve been ensuring the survival of one or a few small humans, returning to finish or further your education is the kind of challenge that most moms can crush with flying colors. Of course, some days moms can struggle even finding the time to shower, so how is school going to fit into you and your family’s schedule?
It can seem impossible but according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, “Over a quarter (26 percent) of all undergraduate students, or 4.8 million students, are raising dependent children … Women make up 71 percent of all student parents, and roughly 2 million students, or 43 percent of the total student parent population, are single mothers.” Mothers entering the educational realm once again has increased and is projected to keep increasing, and most schools are not blind to this. Today, many resources exist to help parents balance family and school, giving you the best chance to pursue and accomplish your education aspirations.
One important skill to master when returning back to school is definitely time management. Finding a balance between kids, work, and homework (while still hanging on to your sanity) is quite the challenge. Fortunately, experts at Washington State University suggest a fews tips for helping you achieve this balance. They recommend:
- Scheduling times for studying and children: Set aside specific times for studying and spending time with your children. For example, you can dedicate yourself to family breakfasts every morning and story or game time at night.
- Reviewing child care options and costs: If you have young children, you may consider getting help from a source outside to care for your kids while attending class or completing your coursework. Choosing your preferred form of assistance a few months before your first day of school can allow you to have a dry-run of your adjusted schedule. By doing so, you can make sure the choice fits with both your child and your schedule.
- Concentrating on the end goal: You may need additional motivation during stressful times. For example, an advanced degree can help you transition to a more fulfilling career or achieve a promotion in your desired field, which can ultimately translate to higher job satisfaction.
It’s also important to remember that this strict schedule won’t last forever. It can be stressful trying to balance it all, but your family has your back, and pushing through the next few years will be all the more rewarding knowing you accomplished your goals with your kids at your side.
During this time it’s going to crucial for you and your family’s well-being that you don’t push yourself too hard. While it is exciting to start a new path (one you should be extremely proud of), stretching yourself too thin can have major impact on your physical and mental health.
As Johns Hopkins University explains, it’s better to focus more on being a high achiever rather than a perfectionist, “Contrary to the perfectionist’s belief that it is only through giving 100% to every project, assignment, or cause that they will find success, studies have shown that perfectionist attitudes actually interfere with success by leading to…”
- Low self-esteem
- Lack of motivation
- Obsessive/compulsive behaviors
- Eating disorders
- Relationship problems
Forcing yourself to juggle more than you can handle can take a serious toll on your body and relationships, which means you might end up crashing halfway through earning your degree. Going at your own pace might seem time consuming, but in the long run it can help you achieve your goals in a healthier, less stressful way. Ultimately, in the end, you’ll still earn your degree, but without the sacrifice of your health.
As women continue taking great strides to further their education, the workforce can expect — and has already seen — an increase in women who are both highly educated and raising a family. According to Arizona State University, “Over the past few decades, the earning power of women in the workforce has improved dramatically, largely due to the growing number of women who complete Bachelor’s and graduate degrees. Women now earn more than 40% of the shared income for married parents, a 33% increase since 1970, and are the primary breadwinner in nearly one-third of dual-income couples.” Considering the options we have available today, such as online courses and remote work, mothers are finding the possibility of continuing with their schooling more attainable.
With the growth of highly educated women within the country, the workforce is likely to see an increase of working mothers in careers that require a degree. While it can be quite the balancing act, working hard towards your educational goals and eventually earning your degree will surely inspire your kids and show them that almost anything is possible. How do think parents balance continuing education and home life? What are your thoughts? Please share in the comments below. I really would love to know.
Until next time, shine amongst the stars!
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