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Six Top Tips for Staying Sane as a Mom Returning to College
Making the decision to return to study can be a huge one, whether you have decided to improve on your current education in order to gain a promotion at work or look around for a better position, or whether you’ve decided that a complete change of career is in order. Regardless of your decision and the stage of life that you are currently at, there’s no denying that returning to education can be a tricky situation to find yourself in. But when you are a mom, it can be even more difficult – especially if you need to give up work to study, or have to change your existing working hours to fit everything in.
There are many benefits to be had for parents who study – gaining more qualifications, seeking a higher-paid job, or finding more satisfying work in the long run are just a few. However, putting yourself in a position to get these benefits can come with challenges; loss of income and struggling job constraints are some of the most common. So, as a mom, what can you do to make sure that you can fit studying around your busy life as a parent without losing it?
#1. Use a Study Timetable:
There’s something about having your schedule mapped out in front of you that makes it easier to stick to. When you have a timetable in front of you on paper, on your computer, or on an app on your phone, you can see exactly where you need to be and at what time, making it easier for you to juggle work with study, childcare, and everything else. Start mapping out your study timetable a few weeks before you start your course; that will allow you to make adjustments when needed in the run up to your studies commencing and make it easier for you to get started straight away without needing to worry about managing your time.
#2. Study Online:
When it comes to juggling studies, work, and your little ones, then an online program could have all the answers that you are looking for. You can find all kinds of different topics available to study online from high school diploma level qualifications to an MSN leadership and management degree for nurses who want to take their career to the next level. When you study online, there’s no need to be there in person for lectures and tutorials at 9am in the morning, and you won’t need to worry about changing your working hours as other than the occasional tutor session, you can pretty much fit your studies around your life and determine when is best for you, whether that’s at the weekend, during the evening, or early in the morning.
#3. Get the Kids Involved:
If your kids are old enough, getting them involved with your studies is a great way to not only help them learn new things, but to continue doing things together as a family and make sure that you are spending quality time together – something that many moms who decide to return to education are worried about. You can do homework sessions with your kids; for example, write some questions and answers on flashcards and get them to test you on your knowledge; this can be made into a really fun game and your kids will feel super smart. And who knows – it might be the thing that sparks interest in them in what you are studying, inspiring them to follow in your footsteps.
#4. Make a Priority List:
As a busy mom, it can be all too easy to get quickly overwhelmed with the amount that you need to do when you’re also studying for a degree or other qualification. So, a priority list rather than a ‘to-do’ list could be a better idea if you’ve begun to feel like you simply don’t have the time or the energy to get everything done. Write down your to-do list as normal, but then pick just a few things that you need to do first, and separate them from the ones that can wait. This could be any task, whether you need to start working on a big assignment, or you’ve got stuff that needs doing around the house. Do this every day, and eventually you’ll find that it’s much easier to work through your to-do list without it getting you down.
#5. Take Time for Yourself:
Don’t forget that taking time for yourself is just as important as spending time with the kids, revising and going to work. The last thing that you want is to find yourself suffering with symptoms of burn-out, so make sure that when you put your timetable together, you give yourself at least an hour or so of uninterrupted ‘me time’ each week. This could be to do anything that you enjoy from getting in a nice bubble bath with a new book, to shopping with friends, hiking, going to the gym or spending time on a hobby you like. Lean on your support network of family and friends so that you can have a little bit of child-free time to focus on you when you need to.
#6. Ask for Help When You Need It:
Last but not least, it’s most important that moms returning to study don’t feel that they are alone. There is no shame in asking for help when you need it, regardless of who you are asking. If you have a supportive partner or family members, be sure to take them up on any offers of help and support when you need to. Or if you’re on your own, your friends will certainly be there for you if you ask them, whether you need them to come over and have a coffee because you feel you haven’t socialized in days, or you need a babysitter so you can get some important essay writing done. And finally, you can always reach out to your college tutor if you feel you are really struggling – they are there to help!
What will you be studying as a mom returning to education?
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