Have you given up on your dream of college to be a stay at home mom?
I’ve been there myself. When I was pregnant with my first child I felt like going to college would be impossible. I’d all but given up on the dream.
During my pregnancy I had to make a hard decision. It was either getting back into the workforce or trying to finish my college education.
I didn’t want to leave my then little baby and miss out on that bonding time I had with him. But, we ended up setting a family goal that I would figure out a way to finish college and try to continue being a stay at home mom.
I was determined!
I chose college and ended up graduating with my BA in special education as a fully credentialed teacher.
This accomplishment was made all while being a stay at home mom.
It may not seem easy, but there are plenty of ways to accomplish this goal and be present for your kids at home at the same time.
How can you find time for being a student and a mom?
1. Consider and Online College or Courses
As people are beginning to embrace technology online colleges and courses are becoming increasingly common and reputable. However, be cautious there still are online colleges that don’t have the best reputation.
When I was pregnant I didn’t have a whole lot of baby resources as far as daycare went.
Going to school virtually allowed me to be a stay at home mom, being more present for my son and working on school during nap time and at night.
A lot of research went into choosing a college to attend. I ended up choosing Western Governors University, an accredited school with a highly acclaimed and affordable teaching program.
Do your research before choosing an online school and make sure it’s accredited. There are also many traditional community colleges and universities that offer online and hybrid courses and degrees.
You may also consider night courses hand in hand with an online program or by itself. This way you can be home during the day.
I took this route when I started at community college and took online classes and a couple night classes while my husband could watch the kids.
2. Be Flexible
If you are a momma trying to get through school you have to be flexible. You never know when you are going to have to change that next diaper or handle a tantrum.
Just take a deep breath and go with the flow. Use naptime and bedtime to your advantage. This is one of the best times to study and get classwork done.
3. Make Time for You
Don’t worry if your study time is interrupted by changing a load of laundry, cooking dinner, or feeding the dog. These brakes can be used to your advantage. It’s good to take short breaks from your studies.
When you get back on that laptop your mind and body will feel refreshed and ready to get back into learning.
Make time to watch your favorite TV show, work on a hobby, or have a date night. If I hadn’t made time for my hobbies when I was going to school I would have gone a little stir crazy.
4. Don’t Give Up
College is hard and there were several times I just wanted to throw in the towel.
Student teaching was especially hard, but I survived and didn’t give up.
Remember college is a temporary situation and the end result is worth it. If you can scrape by those hard days you will make it and when it’s over all of those challenges you faced will be a distant memory.
5. Rely on Your Support System
If there was ever a time to rely on your loved ones for help this is it.
Getting my degree as a young mother would have been impossible for me without the help of my husband, mom, and sister.
They watched my son when I had important testing and student teaching. Whether it’s a close friend or family member, don’t be afraid to ask for help and let them help.
6. Know When To Take A Break
Some things might happen along the way that require you to take a break from your schooling. Don’t panic, this isn’t the end unless you decide it is.
If you are having family hardships, health problems, or need a maternity break don’t be afraid to ask for that.
I had to take one or two breaks during the course of my education and it let me take the time for myself and whatever was going on at the time. So, when I got back I was ready to take school by the horns.
7. Find Out How You Learn Best
Going to college with kids running around the house is hard. Have I said that already?
This is why it’s especially important to find out how you learn best and stick to a good study method.
For me I learn best visually. I thrived when I was learning from the webinars that WGU had to offer. It also helped me to take notes as I watched.
Reading textbooks didn’t help me so much and sometime I had to find a video on YouTube of someone who could explain the concept before I really got it.
8. Find Creative Ways to Keep Your Kids Busy
Need 30 minutes to pump out an essay?
Get your kids started on a craft, playing with PlayDough, building a Minecraft LEGO set, or on an art/coloring project. You can even put on their favorite movie while you get to work.
The goal is to find something to keep your kids entertained so you have some extra time to work.
Oh, and make sure the house is baby proofed if you have a crawler. It will make study time so much more stress free.
9. Don’t Let Mom Guilt Seep In
Feeling guilty about letting your kids have too much screen time while you crunched for that exam or wrote that term paper?
Well don’t! There is no reason to feel mom guilt here.
You are working towards an honorable goal that is setting a great example to your kids and will no doubt hold endless benefits for your family in the future.
Set that mom guilt aside and praise yourself for going to school, with kids in tow.
If you get to feeling too guilty, set up a special time each day to bond with your kids. Here are some ideas on ways you can get that bonding time in!
10. Celebrate Your Milestones
Celebrate those milestones Big and Small!
I had many accomplishments throughout my college education. Getting an A or B was a huge achievement for me and something I worked hard towards. Passing exams, getting scholarships, finding a host school for student teaching.
These were all personal milestones and they deserved to be celebrated.
So celebrate! Buy yourself a new outfit for that internship or student teaching. Go out to dinner with your family or on a date night with the hubby. Do something for yourself. You earned it!
Celebrating these milestones gives you a boost that only helps push you along towards earning that degree at the end!
Are you a stay at home mom planning on going back to school? What challenges do you face?
Have you graduated college as a mother? What helped you achieve that accomplishment?
I would love to hear from you all in the comments below.