It can be hard enough to manage being a parent and working full-time. It may seem impossible to add getting a bachelor’s degree into the mix, but with some organization, it can work. You might feel that you are neglecting your children, but you are also setting a great example for them. Here are five tips to help you manage all of your obligations.
Organize Your Finances
There are plenty of different ways you can pay for school. Your employer might pay a portion of your tuition, you may be eligible for scholarships or grants, but you can also look into both federal and private student loans to fund your higher education in order to achieve your undergraduate degree. You can check your loan options in a matter of minutes.
Establish a Relationship with Your Professors
Your professors are human beings, and they want you to succeed. You should not hesitate to mention to them that you are juggling being a parent with pursuing your education. You should take advantage of their office hours as well. Visiting them from time to time shows that you are interested and engaged in the class.
Consider Online Classes
Online classes allow you to work around your schedule. Some programs, such as those that have a clinical element, cannot be done entirely online, and there are also benefits to in-person classes that you cannot get online. However, there are also strengths to online programs, including the opportunity to hone your written discussion skills. The best approach may be to mix online and in-person classes, but where you can take online classes, this can often be more convenient. You can attend to your classes when your children are in bed at night or before they get up in the morning.
Depending on the ages of your children, you may be able to set boundaries about when they are allowed to disturb you and when they need to leave you to study. Of course, this is not possible with babies and toddlers, but the older children get, the more self-sufficient they will be. This can also be a good opportunity for older children to learn. For example, if you normally cook dinner, you could start a rotation in which your children cook certain meals. If you live with the other parent, that parent will need to step up and take over some of your household tasks. If you do not and the other parent has visitation or shared custody, try to arrange to do the bulk of your schoolwork when the children are with that parent.
You might not be able to afford childcare while you are going to school, but there may be other options that are low- or no-cost even if you don’t have grandparents or other relatives around who might help out for free. Could you switch off with a neighbor, taking turns watching one another’s children? Another option may be paying a teen to simply supervise and keep your child entertained in the home while you are there working.