Back to school, back to school; Mom is going back to school!
When I took my daughter school supply shopping, I began to grab my own pencils, highlighters, and notebooks. My daughter suspiciously asked, “What are you doing Mom?”
I explained that mommy is going back to school too! At first, she was confused and said “But mommy, you’re too old for kindergarten!”
Oh honey, if only my college classes were going to be as fun as your days in a kindergarten classroom.
I explained there is no age limit for school, and how Mommy needs to go back and finish her degree. It was kind of a magical moment to watch her understand that it was important for me to do this. She quickly exclaimed, “We are twinsies now Mom!”
Yeah, girl, we are! So, I am going to share some of my essentials to survive going back to school as a single mom, or a parent in general.
Organize, OrGaNiZe, ORGANIZE!
I personally recommend investing in a planner. There are some really great ones out there! I found it most helpful to find one that included monthly and weekly views; that way I could mark it like a calendar and then fill it out weekly for a quick reference. The planner I picked is also notebook size, so it is big enough to accommodate everything I need to write down!
I also found one with a cute design, I find I am more likely to use something that my eye is drawn to. My planner has fun, and uplifting quotes placed throughout so it’s a nice positivity boost when I come across them! I found my planner at Target; it was only $12.99, and I have linked it here. You can search online to find one that fits your needs best too!
Meal plan and prep, create a schedule for household chores, make your grocery store list ahead of time, and just find simple ways to make your everyday life just a tad bit easier. I try to cut down on time-consuming tasks, like extra runs to the store because I didn’t make a list and keep realizing I need things. Dinner and family meals also take a big chunk of time in the evenings, so by making meals ahead of time on a scheduled day I can just pop it in the oven, and voila! Your schedule might be a bit more hectic, but if you sit down and figure out what extra time you can cut back on, you’ll be freeing more time to invest in your studies and family!
Rely on your village!
It takes a village to raise your child, and it’s okay to rely on them! I am fortunate that my parents live two minutes away, so they are always a resource when I have some last-minute studying or crunch time exam preparation to do! I am a single mom so it can be nearly impossible to do my schoolwork with a five-year-old at home. It’s natural to feel guilty when you compromise your time with your family to study or go to class, but you have to remember the bigger picture, why you’re doing it in the first place.
My village also includes my close friends, and in high-stress times they are my saving grace. They are always up for a study session, a girls’ night and a glass of wine, or a much-needed pep talk when I am on the verge of breaking. Your village is there for you, so let them help!
Don’t lose sight of your motivation.
You’ll be overwhelmed. You’ll be stressed. Maybe you’ll even be on the verge of tears more than you thought possible. But remember your “why”. I am back in school to better myself, to further my career, and to better provide for my daughter. My daughter is my “why”, and my endless motivation. On my hard days, when I feel completely exhausted working full time, being a mom, and a college student I have to remind myself to breathe, and then I look at my daughter and keep on going.
Take care of yourself.
If you need a break, take one. A fifteen-minute reset won’t compromise anything. You are a priority too, and you can’t run at half speed for long. Treat yourself to that drive-thru coffee if that’s what you need to get through the day. Close your textbook and watch the new episode of your favorite show if you need a reset. I can only listen to so many hours of lecture videos after my daughter goes to bed before I feel like my brain has turned to mush. Reading a book is what relaxes me, so I’ll take the time to read a chapter or two. Once I am back in a good place, I’ll get back to my studies. Figure out what works for you, and you’ll stay on track.
You can do this. You are worth this commitment; this investment in yourself.
I am on the right track because “Mom’s going back to school”!
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