Returning to School after Motherhood

When your children were born, you made the decision to stay home and be a full-time mom. Now, as hard as it may be to believe, those children have grown and you’re sending the last one off to school.

Children will always demand a lot of your time, and you may still choose to be a full-time mom, but you may also be feeling a desire to return to the working world. When you face that intersection in life, the question is—Do you return to the career you had before children, or do you seek out something new.

Define Your Goals
Motherhood changes you, as does time. It’s possible that the job you had before no longer interests or challenges you. Or, perhaps, you would like to return to that career field, but would like more opportunities to advance. More likely than not, you are more focused on the future, and feel the need to make more money to support your family.

The good news is, there’s never a bad time to go to college. And if you’re older than the typical college student, you’re not alone. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there is a projected 23% rise in enrollments of students 24 and older from 2010-2019.

Where Do You Start
Having a family, and possibly a mortgage, does tend to root you. You can’t just pick up and go to the college of your choice, so finishing or furthering your degree now does require some compromises. But that’s no reason to abandon your education goals, especially since there are more college options available now than ever before. Online courses didn’t exist until the late 80s, and now almost every accredited college has options for taking classes online.

Taking an online course, or a course at a nearby community college, might be a good way to ease back into the “school routine.” By starting slowly, you’ll get a better idea of how much time you’ll be able to devote to classes and studying. It will also allow you to explore the career path you’re interested in, without a huge financial commitment, and make sure it’s what you want. Once you’re sure that this is the path you want to take, you can look into completing your degree at an accredited college.

What to Keep in Mind
There’s no doubt that the hardest part of returning to school will be juggling your demands as a student with your responsibilities as a mother. If your kids are in school, take classes when they do. Make time to study during the day, or in the evening when the kids are in bed. If you have a partner to help share the burdens of parenthood, work with him or her to create a balance in your home that works best for everyone. Going back to school as a mother will require sacrifices. You will be tired, you won’t have as much free time, and you might not have as much discretionary money to spend, but keep your final goal in mind. When you finish your degree, you’ll be able to better contribute to the financial well-being of your family.

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