Headed to School, Mama? Here’s 7 Tips on How to Rock It!
The day-to-day work of being a mom is extensive. There are babies to nurse, toddlers to hug, and school-aged children to help with homework. There are also often lunches to be packed, doctors appointments to be scheduled, and lots and lots of mental work around how to raise the best little person possible. If you’re also in school with a baby to care for, your day-to-day workload might sometimes seem totally unmanageable. Following your dreams and furthering your education is important though, and moms who have completed their education after their baby came into their life hardly ever say they wish they hadn’t gone back to school. If you need a little inspiration, and some great advice, check out the tips below from real moms who’ve rocked being a student with a baby in tow.
Find your support Finding your support network as a mom/student is vital. “When I was in school I found out who else had a baby and made sure to make friends with them,” said Morgan. Having people who can send you notes when you have to miss class for a sick baby or who can commiserate about challenges can make all the difference in your school experience. Whether you support system consists of your family members, fellow student-parents, or classmates, finding them early is important!
Follow your heart Even though becoming a parent during school can lead to some tough choices, it’s important to follow your heart and make choices that you’re going to be happy with in the years to come. “The most important thing I’ve learned is to follow your heart,” says Erin, “I got pregnant with my daughter right before high school graduation and had her after I turned 18. I’m now in nursing school trying to earn a degree with a newly 5-year-old!” Reaching your goals with a baby in tow can certainly be hard and, often, it will take you a little longer than it would have without a baby but it’s still important to reach for your dreams!
Be open with your teachers Being open with your teachers or professions is a must. While you don’t have to go into all the details of your personal situation, giving them a heads up that you’re a parent can help you if you end up needing a little more flexibility. “On the first day of class I’d always introduce myself and tell them that I had a baby at home and that, while I didn’t foresee any issues, I might need a little more flexibility if there were any issues,” says Caroline. Being vocal in class and getting to know your teacher or professors can also help if you do end up needing a little flexibility.
Use your time wisely “My biggest advice is to make a realistic plan and stick to it,” says Caroline, who had her son while she was in college. “I dedicated every Sunday to the library and studied every night after my son went to sleep.” When it seems like you have to cram 28 hours of work into just 24 hours having some clear guidelines on how you’ll spend your time can help you get it all done!
Schedule intentionally When you’re making your schedule, think about when classes are offered and don’t be shy about picking the times that work with your schedule. “I took a mix of daytime and nighttime classes,” said Annalisa. “Most younger people were in daytime classes but I knew that I needed to have a mix so that I could spread out my child care.”
Don’t buy the extras While being at school is important, it can also lead to inadvertently paying for lots of unplanned “extras.” From parking fees to lunch to school events expenses can add up quickly. Do your best to plan before you head to school to avoid feeling like you have to spend money you don’t have. “Pack your lunch, bring snacks and a water bottle, and don’t feel like you have to say ‘yes’ to every event,” said Ky’ana, “when you plan ahead you can avoid spending money on things you really don’t need.”
Don’t quit! Even when the going gets tough, you’ll have to use your mama strength to push through! “Don’t Quit!!” say’s Shannon. “I had mine in college and I quit, it’s my biggest regret!” When you feel tempted to quit, remind yourselves of how far you’ve come and how worth it it’s going to be when you finish school!”