When Mom Decides To Go Back To School
Making the decision to go back to school is not easy, especially when you’re a mother. There are so many factors to consider and questions to be answered. Where do you even begin? You’re not sure, but one thing is clear, this is something that you need to do for you. Maybe you had put your career on hold to raise your kids, care for a sick family member, or you’re switching career paths.
Why Go Back To School
Whatever the reason, the first question that you need to answer is, “Why?”
“Why?” That nagging question that every five-year-old seems to repeat over and over… and over again. Why do you want to go back to school and why now? Anything we do in life, there needs to be a reason behind it, a passion or end goal for all the days of hard work up ahead. Once you have a solid answer, ask yourself, “How you plan to do it?”
Balancing Time & Finding The Money
Time and money, that’s what school requires. Like many parents, you may not have much of either. Well, you’re going to have to figure out how to get more of both. It’s time to go to the drawing board and get creative with ideas on how to increase your cash flow and free up some time in your schedule. But you can’t do it alone. Planning ahead is key. Make a list first thing in the morning. Schedule each hour out so that priorities are kept in the forefront.
The Kids Will Be OK
Regardless of what our aspirations are, the first priority is our children. If they are not taken care of, any additional planning is useless. Furthering your education may require around-the-clock care for the kids, someone to help maintain the house, manage finances, be a shoulder to cry on or a listening ear, and someone to hand you a paper bag when the stresses of life cause you to hyperventilate. So, who will support you in this endeavor? And how long will you need their help? Determine ahead of time who these people will be, then be clear about what you are doing as well as what you need from them in your discussions. Always have a backup plan in case the conversation doesn’t go as expected.
Stop The Mom Guilt, NOW
Lastly and most importantly, get rid of the mom guilt. One day your kids will leave you to live their own lives, just as we did. Don’t wait until then to start doing the things you’ve always wanted to do. There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious, as long as it doesn’t become an obsession. Let your kids see you struggle, persevere, and work hard to satisfy your hunger for “success,” whatever that may be.
Jennifer is an Army Veteran and single mom, currently enrolled in a Masters of Public Health and PA program. Her goal is to help other parents considering a career in healthcare through her blog, The PA Café, which features parents currently enrolled in various graduate-level healthcare programs explaining how they balance school with family.
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