Going back to school as an adult is an already difficult task without the added responsibilities of being a working mom. Moms bear the weight of the world on their shoulders each day. They somehow manage to keep tiny humans alive, clean, fed, and out of harm’s way while still fulfilling other responsibilities that come with adulthood.
My mom is one of these superheroes. As a single mom of two, she went to school during the day and worked through the night to make a better life for our family. In an effort to help other parents faced with the dilemma of going back to school and still finding balance in the rest of their lives – she has a few pearls of wisdom to offer.
Here’s her story:
When my kids were 3 and 4 years old, I found myself becoming a single mom who needed to provide for her family. I was working in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of a hospital near my home as a healthcare clerk. After observing the work of nurses around me, I knew that was the right career for me.
I wasted no time and applied to school and filed for financial aid. The FAFSA® application didn’t exist back then, but luckily, the Pell Grant did. I was eligible for grants as well as student loans to cover the costs of school and books.
As a single mom, I didn’t have extra income to pay for childcare, so I applied for childcare assistance through United Way. With their help, I was able to send my kids to a great daycare facility.
Since I was going to school during the day and working through the night, I needed to find help for that too. The kids would stay with their grandma some nights, and with a trusted sitter on others.
After two years of running on fumes, I became a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). I was able to find a great job, with great benefits and a schedule that allowed me to spend time with my children.
Here’s her advice for other working moms:
As a mom, making a great life for my children has always been my top priority. Here are some ways I was able to not only save my sanity but, create a happy childhood for my children while balancing work and school.
Dedicate time to your family
Some nights, when I didn’t have to work, I’d wake my daughter up for “Girl Time.” It was our secret club where sometimes we’d have a fun snack, watch a tv show together, or I’d paint her nails.
I always made it a priority to make my children feel special and loved. Finding small ways to spend time with them is important.
Get creative to get some sleep
Going to school during the day, taking care of all household duties, and working through the night all while taking care of two young children is exhausting. To get a little extra sleep I had to get creative.
For example, I created the “Shark Game” where we would pretend the bed was surrounded by sharks. The only way to keep them away was to lie under the blankets, stay still, and be very quiet. My kids LOVED this game, but more importantly, it allowed me to get a little extra sleep.
Ask for help
Never be too proud to ask for help. As I stated above, I found a program to help pay for my children’s daycare. There are so many programs available for parents who need to provide for their kids.
If you have family members or friends who are willing to help you, don’t hesitate to lean on them. My mom helped so much, whether I asked for it or not. She wanted me to be happy and she wanted me to succeed.
Giving up is not an option
If you make the decision to go to school and provide a better life for your family, don’t give up. It’s not going to be easy. In fact, it’s probably going to be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do.
Being a parent often means you need to make sacrifices for your family. Regardless of how difficult it is, keep going.