One of the toughest challenges that you may face as a mom is going back to school while your children are still at home. This can make you feel like you’re faced with a no-win situation. Returning to school may be the step you need to take to boost your career and therefore your earning power, leading to a better quality of life for everyone. And yet, at the same time, you can feel as though you’re abandoning your children. Below are a few ways to deal with this challenge.
Everything to Everyone
There are two big hurdles for moms who are returning to school again to overcome. One is that they may feel guilty and selfish even if the degree is something that will benefit everyone in the family since more money will be coming in.
The other is the very practical reality that in many families, mothers still do the bulk of the caregiving. In order to deal with the latter, you’ll need to get your family on your side to pitch in and help.
Another option is to try to connect with other student moms and see if you can help each other out.
Maybe you could trade off child care, or you could have study nights at one another’s houses where you bring the children along.
Another big source of guilt for moms may be the cost of college. Once again, even if the degree is going to mean a higher income, you might feel bad about the money you are spending on tuition.
However, you may be able to get some grants and scholarships, and you don’t have to pay those back. Federal student loans are also an option along with private student loans. You may be able to quickly find out if you are eligible for the latter, and if your credit is good, you may be offered low interest rates. You will need to pay these back, but you’ll have a long period of time in which to do it.
Time spent going to school and doing schoolwork is time you can’t spend with your children. Your feelings about this may be sadness, relief or some combination of the two.
This may be particularly tough if you have younger children who are going to struggle to understand why you can’t give them attention when you are around.
Find ways to have fun in the small moments of free time you have so your kids still feel prioritized.
Then, if the other parent can care for them while you get in some study time somewhere else, such as at a coffee shop or the campus library, this could help.
If you have older kids, you might feel bad about being away from them so much, but it may not be a big deal for them.
Teenagers are in the process of stretching their independence and wanting more time with their friends. Furthermore, it can be good for them to see their mother taking on a big project like going back to school and succeeding at them.
You may not be able to be for them quite as often, but you can be a great role model.