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Balancing Work/Home/School Part 2
Refresh From Part 1
This is the second/ final installment of my tips on balancing school,work, and home. In part 1 I discussed the need to set a budget, develop a support system, build a plan A,B,C and D, and assess your level of commitment to furthering your education. A budget is necessary before you embark on this journey as work may become extinct or income stretched. The last thing that any student/parent wants to worry about is bills especially while attempting to earn top grades. A support system needs to be established. It can be a network of people that will be there for you through this touch journey as you work your way through mid-terms and long study hours.
Build a Daily Routine
Best way to balance a family with work and school is a routine. The best way to stick to a routine is to plan days in advance. It is time to build you and your child's new daily routine on paper. I find it easier to use an organizer for obvious reasons. Start by placing down important due dates, appts and other activities. Then proceed to add in scheduled study hours, work hours, family fun days. It is important to balance the hours spent studying with those spent having fun. You will feel more relaxed and your child will be more willing to allow for study time.
If your child is active in extracurricular activities then use those practices times to study. It may seem rude and impeding to your child but it will also free up quality time at home.
Plan meals days in advance and complete the prep work. This will take up time but it will save more time in the long run and remove stress from your day. The Resource box will contain a few sites I use personally.
Once your schedule is completed you must start practicing as if you were already in school. Get up early, get dressed and complete any additional task that you will have once school starts. This is the time of trial and error, and the best time to tweak your schedule. Everything will not run smoothly at first and that will be okay. DO NOT view any bumps, blunders, or changes as a failure. You are not expected to be an expert right out the gate. If you feel that you are overwhelmed then seek your support group. These people are in place to aid and encourage you when you are feeling pressured. You should be comfortable with your new routine by the time classes are in full swing.
Schedule a Date
If a caretaker besides yourself is a new transition for you and your child then a play date will be a relief. When I say a play date I am referring to a time when your new care giver can spend with both you and your child. It will help place you at ease seeing how well the two interact, and make it easier for your child to stay alone with the care giver further down the road.
If you have chosen to use a daycare provider ask if it is possible to start off with two days for 2-3 hours. Most daycare facilities understand the need for parents to feel comfortable with the child's environment beforehand. Also many daycare facilities provide an open door policy for parents, just a little reassurance that everything will pan out.
If you are one of the lucky people who's friends or family can assist with your precious angel Congrats!!! That is a huge weight off your shoulders and hopefully your child is already comfortable with the family member or friend.
Child Care choices
Which do you prefer for your Child?
Let the Journey Begin
Not that all of the hard work and preparation are complete it is time to embark fully into your new journey. Times will be hard, trying, defeating but remember to keep your head up. As long as structure remains intact then your journey shall progress along well. I would say flawless but with a child nothing is flawless but that is 1/2 the fun.
Do not forget to give yourself a pat on the back for making it this far. With the hard work you have placed into planning for this transition in your life you are sure to succeed. Be sure to stay on top of due dates, registration dates, the budget and how your child is adapting to the change. I know that it is difficult to continue driving through college if the little one is not cooperative. If he/she are resisting give it time, but if it continues then the child may not be ready to separate from your care.
Remember to Smile!!!!!!
This journey is marathon not a sprint so please pace yourself . You should enjoy every little victory possible and laugh about the interruptions along the way. It will not be easy but with planning, support, and a strong look on reality anything is possible.
Everyone goes though ups and downs as a single parent attempting to further his/her education. You are amazing for attempting, and even more amazing for embarking on this journey. I have been in your shoes and know how it feels once your social life
Any and all questions are welcome......