Success stories are everywhere. You see pictures of smiling young women effortlessly juggling a job, a business, a family, getting a degree, doing yoga, writing in a blog, God knows what else.
And you think: “I can do it too!” So, you decide to level up your education and go to grad school, being pretty sure that all it takes to succeed is believing in yourself. Here’s some not so good news: it takes much more than that!
All the success stories usually lack some important details that make all the difference. We suggest that you think about these details beforehand and make a plan. This will help you balance motherhood with getting your degree. However, if you’re already feeling imbalanced, there are also some ways to get you back on track.
Here are some tips on how to make your life as a student and a mother more balanced, whether you’re already enrolled in some program or just consider going back to school.
Choose the Right School & Program
If you’re not a student yet, the first thing you need to do is to pick the school and the program carefully.
The right school for you as a parent means a family-friendly one. This implies that it offers some benefits for students with kids, like:
- Campus-based childcare and (or) pre-school;
- Flexible schedule and (or) online programs;
- Family activities like family days out, family fairs, etc.;
- Financial benefits for student parents;
- Near-campus accommodation options.
It’s also great to consider such options as:
- Taking an online program;
- Choosing a public school in favor of a private one;
- Trying to get into a funded program.
Ask For Help With Your Assignments
It’s nice to believe that you can do everything on your own but the truth is, sometimes you can’t. Even if you don’t sleep all night. Even if you drink jars of coffee. You just can’t.
So, you have to let this realization sink in and then ask for help with your assignments. You can turn to your professor, fellow students, your partner, friends, and relatives – whoever you know is competent to assist you.
Another option that can save you much time is to utilize professional writing services to help you out with academic papers. If you don’t know how to choose the best service and avoid scams, read essay writing service reviews carefully and then pick the one you like the most. And please don’t feel guilty about doing this – it’s a very common practice!
Prioritize Your Tasks
Prioritizing is key when you have a lot of tasks. You can even try to do it without detailed daily schedules if you like, but you definitely need to know what your most important tasks for the day are. There are usually not so many of them, but they need to be done first-hand. The rest you can put aside and do some time later (or not at all).
Another important thing is to be able to say “no” to certain tasks and activities that are not on your top-priority list. It may be difficult to do it, but there’s really no way how you can do everything all at once. If there’s something that you really want or need to do, just try to fit it into your weekly schedule and make it a priority on one of the days.
Avoid Last-Minute Deadlines
Setting deadlines is good – setting last-minute deadlines is very, very bad! Anything can go wrong at any time in anyone’s life. But if you’re a parent, chances are much higher that something unexpected happens at the worst possible moment. So, be wise – do everything you can in advance.
The general advice is to complete important academic tasks like papers and other time-consuming projects several days ahead of the deadline. If you can’t do that, try to leave yourself at least 24 hours extra just in case. Anyway, papers need editing, so 24 hours is the minimum time to be left for some final touch-ups.
Remember That Your Child Has Other Relatives
Some may forget about it, but it’s not only the mother who’s responsible for the child. If you have a spouse or a partner, work out a schedule for your family that involves the father taking responsibility for the kid(s) and your household on a regular basis. This person can take the kid to daycare and bring back home, cook dinner, go shopping, and more.
Other relatives – from grandparents to aunts and uncles – can also help. Of course, you have to discuss your schedule in advance and make plans, especially if they don’t live nearby. Just remember that this option exists and it’s okay to ask for help.
Beware of Burnout
Another important thing that you shouldn’t forget is that you need to take care of yourself. Seriously, it’s vital. All in all, we’re only human.
Burnout is a very dangerous thing, and it can lead to far more problems than an occasional break from all your duties. So, if you feel like you’re exhausted and can’t take any more, however hard you try – take a break right now.
Reschedule everything you can and drop all the rest, ask anyone you can for help. Don’t let yourself get into a condition where you don’t want to do anything anymore.
Motherhood is a huge challenge, and every mother sooner or later needs to return to her “normal” life and usual responsibilities. Kids do change women’s lives significantly, but it’s still possible to pursue other goals while being a parent – get a degree, build a career, etc.
Indeed, having a child comes with certain limitations. So it’s important to plan everything carefully if you want to be successful as a student as well as a mom. We hope our tips on how to balance getting your degree with having a kid will help you do that!