For a working parent, making the choice to go back to school can be tough. It’s hard enough to juggle work and parenting without throwing in the added stress of pursuing a degree. But for many parents, the struggle is worth it. Going back to school can provide a lot of great new job options, as well as a chance to network and pursue higher learning. When wondering about how you can make the most of your college degree while raising kids, think about these helpful tips for a better school/life balance.
1. Be Realistic
When first pursuing options for continuing education, it can be easy to get caught up in the fantasy. Things might at first appear so seductive that you get tricked into not thinking about the reality of the situation until it’s right there in front of you. This is a mistake. Always be realistic about what you want out of school, and always keep your limitations in mind. No one expects you to be perfect, and the adjustment won’t always be smooth. Stick to realistic expectations when thinking about your commitments, and don’t take on more than you can handle.
2. Keep to a Schedule
Even if your life seems like it simply can’t be fit into a rigid daily schedule, it’s important to try as hard as you can to keep things consistent. This is helpful both for you as a parent with growing responsibilities and an ever-widening work-life divide, but also for your kids, who expect a certain amount of scheduling. To avoid feeling overwhelmed and anxious, try to block out your days and use what free time you have productively.
Whether it’s calling in a favor from another parent, asking a significant other to pitch in, or simply lining up a lot of after-school activities for your kid, delegate as much as you can. It’s important to remember that you can’t do everything and that no one expects you to. The more support you have in your life, the smoother things will go.
4. Take Time for Self-Care
Self-care is an important part of juggling a lot of responsibilities. It’s also one of the most overlooked aspects of keeping things in check. It might seem decadent or silly to treat yourself to a movie, a long bath, or a nice dinner, but these things will help to keep you on track in the long term. Forgetting about your own needs is easy to do, especially when you have kids to take care of. But the better you become at taking care of yourself, the better you’ll be at parenting.
5. Think of the Big Picture
Whether you’re interested in making a career change–for instance, if you’re looking to learn more about your GIS degree options at Hofstra University–or just interested in learning in general, keeping your goals in mind is the key to getting a successful education. You only get out of higher education what you put into it, so you’ll want to make sure you’re always willing and able to put in one hundred percent.