Deciding to go back to college or attend higher learning courses for the first time is a huge life step that requires resolution, dedication, and persistence. And when you have children, this initial step can become a real challenge.
That’s why having a plan before you start classes is key. Whether you intend on earning your teaching certificate, getting an associate’s degree at a local community college, or attending one of the Southern California vocational nursing programs, you need to plan ahead for the familial and collegiate challenges you’ll be facing.
As you begin your journey, here are some tips that will help you organize your school life around the responsibilities you still have to your children.
- Teach your kids responsibility early on.
A family that operates cohesively and efficiently begins with teaching each family member what they are responsible for.
You can start teaching your child to be responsible when they are toddlers. Have them take their dirty plate and silverware to the dishwasher after dinner. Teach them how to dress themselves and put clothes in the laundry. Show them how to clean up their toys. The sooner you take these leaps of responsibility, the easier it will be for you to manage your household.
- Move closer to family if possible.
If finding childcare is a challenge for you, see if you can move closer to family. Ideally, your parents, in-laws, or aunts and uncles will be able to help watch your children when you need them most. Even if it’s only in emergency situations, being nearer to relatives helps keep your family more centered and gives you a bit of leeway when it comes to the usually high cost of childcare.
- Get the kids involved in your studies.
There’s no law that says you can’t teach your children what you’re learning at college!
Let’s say you’re attending one of the Southern California vocational nursing programs available. Naturally, you’ll need to learn about the parts of the body, the inner workings of the organs, and overall health and nutrition lessons. These are all things that can benefit your children too!
Have them quiz you on your vocabulary terms, or practice understanding your lessons by explaining them in simple terms to your kids. They’ll benefit, and you will too.
- Use your travel time wisely.
If you have a long commute to school and back, use this time wisely by listening to lectures in the car or playing recordings of yourself going over study notes and vocabulary.
- Be honest with your professors from the start.
If you know that the upcoming semester is going to be a challenge, speak to your professors about what you’re going through. Being upfront with them about the challenges you’re facing as a mother is far wiser than just trying to wing it and get by without saying a word. Often, they’ll be more than understanding and have flexible options that you can take advantage of.
- Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan.
As a mother, a huge chunk of your job is getting everyone fed. Of course, you want everyone satisfied with their meals and snacks, but you also want them to be nutritionally fulfilled as well.
This is no easy task, but meal planning can help.
Start by getting yourself some reusable storage containers and a packet of reliable recipes that you and your family like. Next, sit down with a calendar and a pencil to start planning out the coming week’s meals. You’ll need to set aside a time when you can go grocery shopping for the week and a time when you can assemble all of your meals for storage.
It may not go easy at first, but over time, you’ll build up to success, and meal planning will become second nature.
- Don’t forget to take time for yourself.
Lastly, remember that in addition to fulfilling all of your work and college responsibilities and taking care of your kids at home, you need to fill your own cup as well. In fact, sometimes you need to fill your cup first.
This means that self-care is critical. Take time for yourself in the morning to enjoy a cup of coffee without rushing around to begin your day. Relax with a bubble bath at the end of the day. Tell your family that you need a few moments to lay down and take a nap. Find time to shop for yourself and buy yourself those small things you need to make life easier and more fun. You’re worth it.
Congratulations on taking the initiative to improve your education while raising a family at the same time. This is no small feat and is definitely something to be proud of. Use these tips to make the transition easier and speed the success of your collegiate career!