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Balancing Work/Home/ School Part 1
Assess Commitment Level
When I made the choice to continue my education after the birth of my son i just dove head first. It was a huge mistake because I underestimated what it took to be a single mother and attend college courses. My advise to every parent whom wants to continue his/her education is to assess your level of commitment. When I say assess your commitment level I mean to assess how well you can balance a life being a parent,student, employe in conjunction with every hat you wear daily.
If you are a single parent the first thing that needs to be assessed is your support. Everyone needs a strong support system but a single parent needs 3 times the support. Having a set budget, dependable babysitter, Plan for Income, Schedule for Study/Personal/Parent time, and a list of people whom will support you.
Always begin with the Support system because these people will be the foundation to your successful completion of college. My support system consist of my parents, grandparents, cousins, 2 close friends, and church family. Each person in your support system should fill a different need. My parent and grandparents provided financial support, especially in times when i had to take off work to study. My church family filed in as my personal cheerleaders. Whom ever you choose make sure you have a cheerleader in your section, this person or persons will lift you up when you feel defeated.
As a single parent it is a tough choice between independence, education, and family. Working allows your the freedom to purchases items as needed, but it can interfere with study time. This is a good time to weight the pros and cons of work while attending college. Some people have little to no choice but to work while attending college. If you fall into this category then look for a job with ten or twelve hour shifts and work 2-3 days a week. Your days will be long but you spend less days working and more time studying/ at home. A strict budget will also aid int he choice to continue working while gaining an education. If you can manage to work 2-3 days while on a budget then you will not have to search for a new job. Yayy
A sitter for the child(ren) is important since this person will spend a large amount of time with your child. It is important to feel 1000% comfortable that this person will match your parenting style as well as provide a high level of love, care, and support for your child. Depending on the age of your child you may only have to worry about care before/after school. Here is where the support system comes into major play. If you have family, friends, or a combination of both that are willing to assist them utilize the assets. If the people in your support system have a child or children offer to care for the children in return. It saves piece of mind as well as money to find a solid support system during this time.
Schedule everything from showers to sleep time. If you break down your day piece by piece then you can see where you are spending extra time or not enough time. Personal time is as important as family/study time. Planning family time may feel like an extra chore but it will help to remove the feelings accompanied by the unknown.
For example, Schedule for Sat. Feb 15 6am-730am Study, 7:30-8:30 Cook/eat breakfast, 830-845 Clean kitchen 845-9 get kids dressed 9-11am Kids Activities ect......
If your schedule is set and you see the amount of time you spend with the children then you will not feel bad that you are spending time studying.
It is always wise to have a plan A,B,C and D. Make sure your Plan A consist of your most dependable and trustworthy people. Plan A should include your choice to work or not, daycare or family care, budget A, School A, study schedule A and projected completion date. This list should hold up strong through fights, unplanned changes, inclement weather, and hard times.
I suggest working on this plan a year - 6 months before you start school. Give yourself ample time to work out the kinks, hiccups and changes to alleviate any unneeded stress once school starts.
WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN..... write all your thoughts, feelings, and questions down. Even if you feel paranoid write it down. During this time of uncertainty and change it is normal to feel hesitant. Do not pull back due to these feelings they are natural and will continue as you embark on this journey.