The decision to go back to school can be a tough one for mothers. School takes up a lot of time and costs a lot of money, and many moms may feel as though they should be putting that time and money toward their children. In fact, if you are a mom and you are thinking about going back to school, you are giving your children a gift.
You are a wonderful role model, demonstrating to them the value of education, hard work and determination. You’re showing them that it’s never too late to go after their dreams. On top of all that, a college education usually means a higher income, so in the long run, your kids will benefit financially as well even if the next few years are a little tight. The tips below can help you juggle school, parenthood and the rest of your life.
Rally the Troops
There’s a saying that no man is an island, meaning no one is completely on their own, and this is doubly true for moms. While this can mean that sometimes you feel like you never have a moment to yourself, there’s strength in numbers, and unless your children are infants or toddler age, you can get help from the whole family in supporting your return to college. Your family needs to understand that there are times when you’ll need to do schoolwork and can’t be bothered.
In fact, they may need to step in and take over some of the chores that you normally do. It can be hard to prioritize yourself when all your instincts are to always put your children first, but they will ultimately benefit from the example that you are setting. It may be helpful to pick a particular place in the house that is your study area. You might also be able to get more done if you get up early in the morning before anyone else is awake.
Work Out the Financial Side
Like any other student, you can look into your eligibility for grants, scholarships, and loans. Remember that if you don’t qualify for federal assistance or the federal loans that you get are not enough to cover your costs, you can also get a loan from a private lender. A student loan calculator can help you anticipate expenses after graduation so that you’ll have an idea of what your repayment plan will look like.
Know Your Strengths
If you’ve been out of the workforce for a long time, never thought of yourself as particularly good at school, or are simply anxious about returning to the classroom after such a long time away, think about the strengths that parenthood has given you. Even if you do not think of yourself as a particularly patient person, being a mother can make you a lot more patient. You probably have developed some great problem-solving skills. Schools usually welcome nontraditional students because they tend to have these kinds of qualities. Don’t be afraid to talk to your professors about your situation either and get suggestions about how to improve your work and make the most of your study time.