Today was definitely the most backwards Monday i’ve had in the longest time. Normally, i get everyone up, feed them, make sure they brush their teeth and hair and look semi-decent, and send them out the door. We live across the road from the school, so miss Kayla (almost 13), also gets to walk. Haha, lucky Mom, i know 😉 ! Today, though, everyone’s sick and in bed (yip – they’ve been hit by round two, this time a stomach virus… so much fun…), and it’s Mom that had to be up and out the door at sunrise! Lucky for me, sunrise here is pretty late (7.30ish) … still managed to get a sunrise selfie! Lol! Definitely need some practice, though!
So, you might be wondering, what it is that had convinced me to leave the warmth of my bed at such an uncustomary hour? Especially when everyone else was still sleeping. Well… Mom’s gone back to school! I’ve decided it’s time to take my Spanish a little further than just the functional conversation stuff that i know at the moment. We have lived here for nearly three years, after all!
I’m sure i’m not the first Mom to do it, in fact, my mom got two degrees while we were little, and she’s doing her third now (yay, Mom!), and i bet there are a bunch of you reading this that are studying, or have studied, as Moms too. So you know… That feeling of walking back onto a campus for the first time…yes, it’s very exciting, but it can also be daunting.
There are many different reasons why a woman chooses to go back to school. It could be because of divorce, loss of a spouse or simply because she wants to further her education or change her career path. Regardless of the reason, the benefits remain the same… it’s a widely accepted fact that people with Tertiary Education qualifications (college degrees/university degrees) find it easier to secure better paying job positions, often with benefits and nicer working conditions too, and create a better future for themselves and their children. There are many more benefits to returning to college or university. These include
- an increase in self-esteem and general feelings of contentment.
- independence – sometimes, women find themselves in places they no longer want to be. Furthering their education can help them remove themselves and create a new space/situation of their own.
- education can bring with it a new excitement and zest for life.
But it’s not easy. Juggling housework with homework, finding time to feed yourself and the family while you feed your mind too… it can get messy, and the house probably will! The question is, how badly do you want it? Asking yourself these questions before you return to school will help simplify things from the start…
- What do you want to study? What are your interests? What are you good at? What do you like doing? – Asking yourself these questions, and then taking the time to answer those questions honestly, can mean the difference between a great first year/semester back at school, and having to re-register for a new course when you realize you’ve signed up for the wrong thing… don’t laugh…it happens! Take a drive, stop at a coffee shop, get yourself a big latte, a glass of wine, whatever helps you think, and take a good long look inside. Choose a course that you know you’re going to want to get up out of bed for, something that you’re going to love!
- How much time can you commit to your studies? – Be realistic. If you can only manage part-time studies at this stage, don’t stress, it’s not the end of the world. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare… you’ll get there one day, Mamma!
- Have you got your network sorted? – Even if you’re a single mom, in a brand new town, without a family member in sight, you STILL CAN have a support network setup. A good place to start looking is the local community center, the PTA, the church, etc. There are also great websites that offer support and community for single parents, like singleparentsnetwork.com
- How are you going to pay for your studies? – There are three main options.You could pay for it yourself, but lets be honest, times are tight, and education is expensive. So, what are the other options? You could get a loan, but you’d have to pay that back, and probably with interest. A better option would be applying for a scholarship or grant, that way, most, if not all of the cost is covered. Depending on the country that you live in, you may also have some great government study options available to you, so don’t be afraid to find out about those.
If thinking about these things brings on the cold sweats and nausea, back it up a little. Take a deep breathe. These mountains are not ‘insurmountable’, it is just a new leg of your journey. Like anything else in life, there are always things we can do to make the ride just that little bit smoother. Here are a few tips that i’ve found have helped me in the passed (when i was studying online).
- Draw up a study timetable for yourself – All students need to master the art of time management, more so a mother with an increased workload! By setting aside a specific time each day for homework assignments and studying, and making sure that everyone in your family knows it, you give yourself the best possible chance of keeping up with the rest of the class. ‘I had to cook dinner and do 2 loads of laundry’ may feel like a valid excuse, but you’re still going to get an F of that late assignment!
- Delegate – Pull rank, rally the troops, gather your men… explain to the kids and your partner (if there’s one in the picture), that they’re going to have to pick up the slack while you’re studying.
- Be realist and don’t spread yourself too thin – You’re already Superwoman… don’t over do it! Only take on the number of classes or courses that you can comfortably manage. Chances are, there’s going to be more pressure are a larger workload than you’re expecting. In the same breathe, don’t promise friends you’re going to see them on the weekend if you have a big assignment due for Monday. Even if you do go, chances are, you’re going to be distracted and that’s not fair to either of you. Set aside time for socializing, so that you can enjoy it.
- Draw up schedules – timetables and schedules are a student’s best friend! There are many, many programs and apps available, but there’s something about paper. I love having a printed timetable or schedule up somewhere. I found a pretty cool little resource lifeonpaper.com that has all kinds of printables for the home. (Please note: these are for personal use only).
- Be ready to compromise – Things might change a little. For example, you’re not going to have all that extra time (yeah, those 15 minutes are going to feel like ‘luxury’) to sit on Pinterest and look for recipe ideas, so dinner might be a little simpler. And you might find you’re wearing pants more often, because who can be bothered to shave their legs after a full day of hard-working, house-cleaning, child-rearing, back-to-school, still-a-woman, sexy-as-ever but tired-as-hell ‘this is my new life’ action? Compromise i tell you…
So, when it comes right down to it, heading back to school is not an easy choice. The kids might grump and groan a little (i remember i did when we had to pick up the slack at home when my mom did her Master’s, sorry Mom!), and you’re definitely going to be more than a little tired. You’re probably going to have hairy legs, and the dinner might not be Pinterest worthy… but i can guarantee you it’s going to be worth it.
If you’ve enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with your friends and family. Also, don’t forget to check out the rest of my weblog here (brightnbrainy.com). Also, you might be interested in choosing the right nursery school the first time round (a previous post) now that your heading to school. Good luck with your studies!