When Mom Goes Back to School

Image of a mom and daughter doing homework together.

Original Version of Story Published by Better Homes & Gardens

Guest Post for #PHABack2School

Going back to school can be a positive experience and game-changer for families with the right support and outlook.

Being a student can be difficult enough in terms of balancing hectic class schedules, homework, tests, employment and social life. Add being a mother and homemaker to the mix, and the thought of going back to school may seem overwhelming at best. If you’re one of the thousands of moms heading off to class, these tips can help you succeed. 

Set a daily study time. 

Time management is essential for all students, and returning women in particular are usually balancing numerous commitments. Making sure your family knows your schedule is crucial to keeping up with class expectations.

Redistribute housework and chores. 

Any extra assistance a spouse, partner or child can contribute is an added benefit. Life won’t be the same way it was before you went to school. The bathroom might not get cleaned as often and meals might not be as elaborate, and that’s OK.

Don’t overcommit. 

Being overcommitted is a big trap for women returning to school. Something has to give, whether it’s cutting back on work hours or volunteering less at a child’s school. Also be careful to keep your course load manageable. It may take you a couple of years longer to get through a program, but you’ll be more likely to succeed and less likely to burn out.

Work together.

Consider doing homework together with children. Clean off the kitchen table and sit down together with your books. Doing homework together can help your kids see that their parents are also responsible for doing well in school. Share with the children what it’s like to be in college. Show them your campus too.

Plan ahead. 

Hang the family calendar on the refrigerator so everyone can be aware of each other’s schedules for the week or month, including study times, exams, work hours and extracurricular activities. Use weekends to plan meals and do grocery shopping.

Ask for help! 

The transition back to school can be daunting, and many schools have systems or personnel in place to help returning women navigate new challenges. Ask schools about special programs tailored for either single or returning adult mothers that might assist with childcare and transportation.