Working Together Can Make Things Better When Mom Takes On A New Role

Moms always want to be their child’s most significant role model.

We work to teach them right and wrong through our own words and actions, and model different behaviors to give them concrete examples along the way.

And some moms want to better themselves and show their kids that anything is possible – but it’s not always easy.

Are you a mom (or dad) who is going back to school after a long absence?

Perhaps you had kids right out of college and want to go back for your graduate degree.  Or maybe you didn’t have the opportunity to go to college and now you are a bit more financially stable and want to go back.

Maybe you just want to take a few classes to improve or refresh the skills needed to excel in your career.

Whatever your reasons, it is obviously much harder to be a student when you also have a family to take care of – but there is a way, and it will show your kids that you never stop learning or striving to improve yourself.

Whether you are a stay-at-home mom with small children, a mom who works full-time, or a homeschool mom, there will be unique challenges depending on your family’s needs.

We’ve all been in a situation where we had to work on a project or deadline while the kids run screaming around the house, you’re nursing the little one while trying to type on your laptop, the desk is covered with papers and playdough – and then you discover a melted popsicle on the project you just spent hours on.

No, it’s not easy.  But take a deep breath, and take one day at a time – you can achieve your goals.

Stay-at-home moms with very young kids have to plan their class times and school work around their child care needs, and if they don’t have available child care in the form of dad or another family member, the financial stress can add to the balancing act.

Homeschool moms may be juggling their own studies and assignments along with the preparation of lessons and teaching time for their kids, which can lead to long hours and burnout.

And moms who work outside the home may be away from their kids for additional hours on top of their regular work schedule, which the whole family may have trouble adjusting to.

Whatever your situation, there are a few tips that should help make the process easier for everyone.

First of all, sit down as a family and have an honest discussion about what is going to be involved when Mom goes back to school.

It will be an adjustment for everyone, and Mom will need more support and help around the house, perhaps giving over more responsibility to the older children with chores or helping with younger siblings.

Kids may be resentful of the extra time away when Mom needs to attend class or work on assignments.  If you prepare them for your new schedule and let them know it is only a temporary situation, it may soften the fear of change.

Talk about why you have decided to go back to school and why goals and self-improvement are important to learn and grow no matter what your age.  Tell the kids that you are doing this to better yourself and, in turn, it will make you a better role model for them.

Make sure to carve out special time with each child (and your hubby) that does not involve work, school, or household responsibilities.  This is not only important to give yourself a mental break, but to show that you are still putting your family first.

And, most importantly, sit down and plan things out with your spouse and family members before you even begin taking classes.

Write down a realistic timeline to achieving your degree or other educational goal that does not leave you so completely overwhelmed that you are stretched far too thin to take care of anyone, including yourself.

Speak with an advisor at the school, laying out exactly what your goal is and how to most efficiently achieve it.  It is important not to spin your wheels taking classes you may not need that take you away from the kids.

When you have papers, research, or other projects to take care of, plan out some special quiet-time activities the kids can do working alongside you at the dining room table or other workspace.

Get them involved in simple ways that make them feel important.  For example, they can help choose the color of a presentation folder, help you choose images for a PowerPoint or even just press the buttons on the printer to help you with your “homework.”

And you and the older kids can set aside a family homework time – you do yours while they do theirs.  Everyone is working toward the goal of completing their work so they can spend time together.  You may even want to use incentives like, “If we get all our work done by 6pm, we can go out for ice cream.”

Remember that you are going back to school for a reason and it is likely to have a positive effect on the family.  You will feel more accomplished and show your kids that hard work pays off.

Once you reach your goal, plan a family celebration for all you have accomplished as a “supermom” who balanced it all and survived!

Are you currently a mom who is also a student, or a mom who previously went back to school?  What are your tips for balancing work, kids, and classes?  Leave us your thoughts.

 

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