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I love school! I love the routine of getting up at a consistent time and sending my kiddos off to school. But what about when Mom’s the one with the backpack slung over her shoulder heading out the door to pursue a degree?
I started taking classes at the local community college after high school like many of my friends. In the middle of my second semester I got married and my college attendance became sporadic with the starts and stops that came with motherhood and several moves. Finally after a couple of decades, I received my Associates Degree last May.
I try not to focus on the times I should have buckled down and finished when I was younger, in hindsight I can see some benefits of finishing while my children were younger. As much of a deterrent as morning sickness was to going to class, morning sickness plus other children to take care of was even harder. By the time I was done having babies, I had older kids to get to school and other activities and they were accustomed to having mom available at their convenience.
Not only do moms have more responsibilities than when we were younger, we have people who depend on us at a different level. Our husbands are capable of taking care of themselves and getting themselves to where they need to go (in theory at least), our children may have some basic needs that only we can meet. It is important to take these needs and wants into consideration as families make a plan to support Mom in her schooling.
During my final push to finish up my degree, there was some resentment on my children’s part when I wasn’t available to play or taxi because I had homework. It became very important to have a clear understanding of what I was working toward, the time I needed to attend class and do homework. I made sure my kids understood that they could talk to me when they needed my attention. I also made it a point to set time aside for playing and talking with my children.
Finally consider the best way for Mom to go to school. For me, online classes were generally best. They saved me a long commute and I could work on my schedule, which was usually while the kids were at school themselves.
The benefits of working on my degree while my children were older are they could see how important education is to our family and that we are willing to sacrifice to gain it. Once we worked out the kinks, it was great to work together toward a common goal. The lessons learned will be even more valuable now that I’m considering going back to earn my Bachelor’s degree!