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Going to College With Kids At Home

Just because you have a kid doesn’t mean you have to give up on your dream to graduate college.

 

college with kids

 

The birth of my daughter gave me courage I never knew I had. From the moment I first held her in my arms, a young single mother, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. But, I was determined to continue my education and not squander my dreams and abandon my goals of career success.

The beginning was tough – constant trial and error as I struggled to find the right balance. I found myself tossing the coin. Should I work, study, take her to the park, detail the car or sit down and try to balance my checkbook?  

Read: 7 Options to Pay for School Without a Loan  

What I needed was a scheduled that allowed me to do it all, but most importantly, one that provided “me time.” With life demanding so much of us, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and forget to take care of the most important person in our families, ourselves.

In order to perform and be your optimal self, which is what your family needs, take some necessary downtime to get centered and write out your weekly responsibilities. What can you eliminate or consolidate?

Try to lessen the load, even if it means asking your partner, a neighbor, relative or friend for help. It’s normal to feel stressed and at times overwhelmed. This is especially when you should reach out and rely on the support of those around you. 

Read: 5 Creative Uses for 529 Plans  

For the multi-tasker, technology has made it easier than ever before. Personally, I like to use an app that allows me to do my grocery shopping online. I shop, pay the bills and do just about everything I can online. I love the Chase banking feature that allows me to deposit checks through my smartphone. Now, I no longer have to make trips to the bank. See if there’s an app that will help you manage your everyday life.

Life really opened up for me when The New School University launched its online option that made it possible for me to do a portion of my undergraduate studies remotely. Before that, I was taking early evening classes and running from one part of the city to the next. It was a daunting experience and some days I just wanted to give up. Fortunately, now many universities offer the online option. The cost is the same though e-course materials may be less expensive than textbooks. So, there’s a savings incentive too. 

Read: Student loan repayment plans: Which type is the best deal? 

While my daughter was in grade school I was able to sign-up and use the school’s online portal through TeacherEase. TeacherEase made my life so much easier. I was able to link it to my email and receive correspondence alerts, view report cards, attendance, progress reports, announcements and more. Many schools already have an online portal or may be working to implement one. If your child’s school does not, let them know what a valuable resource it would be to you as a busy parent and urge them to implement one.

My daughter, who is now a teenager, will attend college as a freshman this fall. I’m proud of her and proud of myself because it was a long winding road to get both her and I there and many times when I thought this day would never come, yet it has and looking back, my best advice for mothers going to school is to not have expectations of being Super Mom. Remember to take care of yourself first. Ask for the support you need. Take tasks online or, if possible, eliminate them from your routine.

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