Being a student is hard enough – learning and retaining new information, meeting project deadlines, staying up late to cram for a test – now throw in being a single mom and working full-time into the mix! It sounds impossible, but there are success stories every day.
In the past, adult students were considered “non-traditional”, but this is no longer the case. More and more adult learners are returning to school to learn new skills and trades.
There are many reasons why single moms return to school. They may be recently separated from their spouse, laid-off from their jobs, or are just tired of their current line of work and want to better themselves. Mature students may be driven to return to school to train for a specific career, or they may be searching for a better lifestyle for themselves and their families. Whatever the reason may be, the struggle of balancing work, school and family is definitely worth it in the end. The trick is just getting through it!
Here are some tips for single moms and other mature students who are either currently in school or thinking about returning to school.
Have a discussion with your children so they fully understand what you have signed yourself up for. Let them know exactly what to expect so they can pitch in and help out. Older kids can be a great help around the house. Ask your family, friends, and neighbors for help! They may be your biggest resource in terms of childcare if you have younger children who need to be looked after.
This is one of the most popular options for busy moms with hectic schedules. There are many programs and courses that now offer distance learning options that are specifically geared towards adult learners. You can learn a new skill and better your career without having to sacrifice your current job. Those who are stay-at-home moms can plan their study schedule around their kids’ school and activities.
Good time management is the key to success; especially for distance education students. It’s far too easy to put off school work, especially when you don’t have a set schedule. If you have a regular job and regular weekly hours, figure out when the best time each day would be for you to study. Commit to this schedule each and every day – no excuses. Ensure your family is on board with this schedule and understands that you will need interrupted time for school work.
Think about your kids’ school schedule and when they’ll have breaks. For example, the kids are home for about two months during summer holidays. Think about a realistic study schedule during this time. If you know you’ll have less time for school, see if you have the option to work ahead in your studies or be able to catch up after they return to school. Be in touch with your school to find out what your options might be. Also, plan for any family vacations that are coming up. If you are doing a course online, see if you can take your studies with you.
If you are struggling with your school work, do not be afraid to ask for help! Schools will always have support available to you and are always willing to lend a hand. Your success is their success. Classmates are also great resources. Make friends, network, and start a study group!
Remember to schedule in some down time so you don’t get overworked. Pencil in a few days off here and there and enjoy yourself! Even supermom needs a break sometimes.