Going to college while raising kids is not easy, but it can be done. There are many challenges that face a student who is also a parent. Ultimately, it can be very worth the effort, as the life of both you and your child will be improved with a college degree.
I have the honor of being a child of a parent who when back to school when I was a small child. When I was two years old, my mom quit her job as a teacher and enrolled in one of the hardest academic programs around – medical school. To make it worse, she was a single mom at the time.
There were some things that my mom did to make her life at least manageable during her time in school with me as a young toddler. Let’s take a look at some of the more important issues that she faced.
This is the single most important aspect of going to college when you have a child. You absolutely must be organized. There is time to get everything done, but you can’t procrastinate, and you must be efficient with the time you have. If your child is resting, or off with another family member, you must use this time to get work done for school.
Plan your week ahead of time. Make time for studying. Make time for the family. Plan “downtime” where you can just relax for a bit. If you know what you are going to be doing ahead of time, you are less likely to be stressed out.
If you have family in the area, by all means, USE THEM. My mom got through medical school by using her mom and several brothers and sisters to watch me at various times. She also relied on my dad to watch me as much as possible. These were luxuries that not everyone has, but if you do have the support of a large, caring family, you are step ahead of the game.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Family are generally willing to help, especially if they see that you are in need because you are trying to juggle many things at the same time. Never assume they can help though, and have a backup plan in the even that your primary care-giver cannot help out at a vital time.
Make time for the kids.
This is an important thing to bear in mind. While school can easily become the focus of your life, remember that your child (or children) are only that age once and it is important to be there for them. My mother did a great job at this, although she did often feel guilty that she wasn’t around as much as she would have liked. She actually took me to medical conferences in large lecture halls from time to time, but I was a pretty relaxed kid who could entertain myself for hours with a book or two.
Going to college while raising kids is certainly not easy or even fun all the time. It’s possible, but you can’t be afraid to ask for help and you must be organized.