As a working mom, you’ve got a lot on your plate already. Sometimes though, it makes sense to get your degree before your kids grow up.
Your career is important and you deserve to invest in yourself and your dreams!
If you decide to go back to school, you’ll be taking your responsibilities to a whole new level. Juggling parenting, work, and school can be overwhelming, but extremely rewarding.
Here are some tips for making it work.
It’s easy to lose track of deadlines when you have so much going on. Whether you like to use a physical or digital planner, set up a time management system that will allow you to easily identify different types of responsibilities so they don’t fall through the cracks.
Staying organized also means making a schedule and sticking to it. If your kids go to bed at 8, can you get two solid hours of study time in before you go to bed yourself?
Make sure to put family time into your schedule as well. You don’t want to fall into the trap of checking work emails when you should be spending time with the people you love most.
Be Realistic About Your Priorities
You’ve probably heard the saying “if everything is a priority, then nothing is.” It’s important to remember this when you’re thinking about everything you need to do.
When you go back to school on top of working and parenting, some areas of your life will need to become less important for a while, and that’s okay. Be honest with yourself about what’s most important.
It’s also important to learn how to prioritize the work that does need to get done as soon as possible.
Take a look at your work and school assignments every day and pick a couple to work on. Once you’ve finished those, pick a few more. It will help reduce feelings of overwhelm and keep you on track.
Delegate and Streamline Household Responsibilities
Speaking of keeping your house spotless, consider delegating some of the activities you would usually take on.
If you have a spouse or partner who can pick up the slack? Great! If not, it might be time to hire someone to clean for you, if it’s within the budget.
Grocery shopping and preparing meals can be challenging when you have so much else going on. Ordering groceries online or opting for meal delivery kits can be a great choice. Or, alternatively, you can make freezer meals in big batches for busy nights when you need more time to study.
Make Sure You’re Sleeping Enough
Unfortunately, many working moms who go back to school sacrifice something very important: sleep.
Getting enough rest is critical for your health, well-being, and focus, so it’s not something you want to cut back on in favor of studying or working.
When you make your schedule, be sure to factor in time for a good night’s sleep. If your kids are young, having them on a consistent nap and bedtime schedule will help you manage your own sleep.
Take the Occasional Break
When you’re working and going back to school as a parent, your socializing time is likely to be minimal.
However, it’s important to take the occasional break and spend time with friends, having fun and relaxing.
You’ll need these breaks to recharge and come back to your responsibilities fresh and ready to go.
Combine School and Work When Possible
Depending on what you’re studying, you might be able to apply some of your learning in the workplace and vice versa.
This can help you deepen your learning while eliminating extra work and making your study time more effective.
Take Care of Yourself
Beyond sleep, it’s important to drink enough water, get some fresh air and exercise, and eat healthy food.
You’ll be asking a lot of your body and brain as you go back to school, and you need to take care of yourself to operate at your peak. Meditation can also help you feel calmer and ready to tackle your responsibilities.
Going back to school isn’t easy for working moms. But you’ll be setting yourself up for a bright future, providing a great example for your kids, and gaining skills that will help you in many areas of your life.
It’s a challenging undertaking, yes, but it will all be worth it when you earn your degree and pursue your dreams.
***Author Bio: Sarah Daren has been a consultant for startups in multiple industries including health and wellness, wearable technology, nursing, and education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life, including her position as a yoga instructor and raising her two children. When she’s not watching the New York Yankees play, Sarah enjoys practicing yoga and reading a good book on the beach.