Parenting as a full-time student
Going back to College as a stay at home mom who freelances and is raising 2 kids while her husband is in the military has been a roller coaster ride. Not to mention doing volunteering work, running a book club, focusing on my fitness and other things that add to the list.
Do I regret going back to school to focus on my education... nope! It has been challenging, yes, of course it has but it has also made me 100% more aware of my potential and I am embracing the road ahead to accomplish my goals.
I understand that school is not for everybody and I know that life tends to get in the way...hence why I am back at school. However, I also know that it is possible to do all the things mentioned above and more if you set your mind to it along with some other things which I will discuss.
Am I an expert? Far from it. But I am sharing what is working for me so far to tackle life as it is now which is something new and exciting in my opinion.
So, how do I make it all work out? If you are reading this and work from home, are currently raising kids or just want to know how to tackle going back to school...this is what is currently working for me.
Create a flexible routine. I am not telling you to wake up at 3am to do homework or chores, I like my sleep. A flexible routine allows you to have realistic expectations while understanding your priorities. For example; I am currently taking 4 classes, for each I am given 1 week to submit all homework, quizzes, projects and more. I aim to tackle all of the items due from 1 class in the span of 1 to 2 days. The courses I take publish homework Monday so I have a whole week to finish everything. You might change this depending on how easy or hard your class is and the amount of workload given by your professor.
As a mom, chores are a thing that come up daily. What has helped me is to communicate more with my partner whenever I need more help getting things accomplished. It has also been beneficial to create a cleaning schedule that works along with my homework and freelancing schedule. I aim to focus on 2 things daily such as cleaning the kid's bathroom and mopping the floors one day and doing laundry and dusting another day. Find a balance between the workload at home.
If you are taking classes on-site, finding reliable care way before classes start is a must. Whether you have a partner to help or already a baby-sitter that has been working with your family this is so important. Honestly, finding a back up baby-sitter does not hurt. Find care for the kids and communicating with your professors that you have children can be helpful in case of emergencies.
Stick to naps and bed time routines. If your children still take naps stick to those while you can. Using their nap time appropriately either to organize the house, meal prep, homework or simply for you to take a nap as well (because self-care) is important. keep in mind this applies to bed time routines; keep them intact. This will help you have enough time at night instead of spending hours and hours doing work instead of getting some sleep.
No parent-guilt allowed! Going after your dreams should not come with horrible mom-guilt. Everyone should be doing something that they love and will benefit them. If you are going to school for knowledge, accomplishment and to eventually find your dream job them go for it without feeling like you are giving up on your children. Being a student does not make you a bad parent, on the contrary...It sets a wonderful example for your children. They see the goal-oriented and fierce parent they love unconditionally...you should see yourself that way too. Go after your dreams with our bringing mom-guilt along. Remember that taking 1 class, 2 classes or completing multiple semesters is a phase. But yes, make time for fun and laughter and all the cuddles because those moments are special...so even if you are busy during those week nights, make the weekends count!
Life does not come with a manual, it is all trial and error. I am not a perfect mom and no parent is perfect. We just wake up every morning and try to be the best version of ourselves.
Remember that what works for me might not work for you but it is worth giving a try.
I hope you find your flexible routine, I hope you accomplish your goals without parent-guilt, I hope you enjoy the road ahead as you take on focusing on you. I wish you all the luck in the world!