Trying to figure out what hair products to buy, how to keep my curls defined, my hair from drying out, and dealing with shrinkage isn’t the half of my issues. Being a Mother who works and goes to school full-time has been an on going struggle for me. For the first two years of my college experience as a full-time student, I was also pushing full-time hours at a top law firm located in the Wall Street area in NYC. And then there was this awesome life-time gig God assigned me to, almost 5 years ago today, being a Mom to my beautiful son, Cameron. I must admit, the journey has not been an easy one for me but I know I am not alone. I have mom friends who have 2 + kids with full time jobs while attending school and I look at them in amazement like “how do you do it?” So, If you fit this category I want you to know that I admire you greatly.
Thankfully, I was able to stay at home for a few months earlier this year to concentrate on JUST my studies and spending time with Cameron along with getting things done around the house, hanging out with family and friends (which I found really therapeutic), and just enjoying the extra time that I had since I had not been working. Towards the end of August of this year, I jumped right back into working and going to school, so here I am.
I want to share some tips on how to manage working full-time (or part-time), being a good student, and still being able to be an active mother.
Be ready for sacrifice
Taking on the extra responsibility is equivalent to taking on extra stress. Before you decide that being a college student is really what you want to do, ask yourself why. Write down a college plan that will lead you to your career. Predict what your home life will be like, time with your partner, your child, yourself. You have to be ready because your decision is going to effect not only you but your family.
Inform your employer
Let your employer know that you will be going to school now if you feel you need to. In my case, I had no choice because I needed to leave a few minutes early some days to make it to class, so I had to let my supervisor know what was going on.
Talk to your teachers
Most of my teachers mention absences and texting on the phone to be a problem. At the end of class on the first day of school, I let my teachers know that I have a child who is in school so I may occasionally look at my phone or step outside to make a phone call. If things are coming up and I know I may not be able to make it to class that day, I always let them know in advance or email them. Professors are usually more understanding when you speak to them before hand and tend to be very lenient (most of them in my college experience anyway), so be sure to communicate with your professors. Be considerate to them so they can be considerate of you when these moments happen.
Support and Supervision
One of the things I am extremely blessed to have is a rock solid support system. My son’s grandmother has watched him since he was an infant while his father and I would go to work and some days he would be at home with his dad when I was taking late night classes. THE most important thing about going back to school and work is to make sure you have the proper supervision for your child. If your a single parent with limited options look into the child care opportunities your employer or college may have. Also, asking friends and neighbors to recommend a baby sitter to you is also a good way to go about finding supervision for your child as you begin this journey.
Take time out for your child(ren)
Some nights I wasn’t able to spend time with my son at all because by the time I got home, it was time for him to go to bed. So I had to talk to him and tell him that on Tuesdays and Thursdays when Mommy gets home, you will have to go to bed. On other days that I do have time I try to take him to school in the morning and spend time chatting with him, eating dinner, and watching a show when I get home on earlier nights. Every little bit counts. So many people spend less and less time with their children because time isn’t on our side but I think it is important for us to MAKE the time.
Keep up with your studies
I found that finding the time to complete my school work was easiest. This probably had everything to do with not allowing myself to fail any classes on top of sacrificing sleep. During my down time at work, I was able to work on some homework. When I did not have the time, I found myself doing homework after I put Cameron to bed. The only time I would work on something while Cameron was awake was if I was in a rush to get something done. I spend many nights that turn into mornings glued to my laptop and books and my weekends are pretty much reserved for school work. The important thing is to keep up with your studies and to really put in effort so you can do well. There will be many nights of fun you will have to turn down, but the reward after completing school with good grades is much sweeter, making the sacrifice well worth it.
I can go on and on and on about ways to make life a little easier while on this journey but if I did you would be reading a book, lol. So please feel free to share some tips on how to prepared, organize, and keep sane during being a working student mom!