Wednesday 12 December 2018

Tips for Mums Going Back to School

Photo credit, thanks to Unsplash

Having babies is tough. Raising kids even harder. Looking after a house and organising everyone’s time is hectic and stressful. Most of us also look back on our school days as being difficult, tiring and often overwhelming. And yet more women than ever are now choosing to take on higher education while they are raising young children, and maybe even holding down a job.

On paper, this can sound crazy. Surely there aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all. But, it can be well worth it. Going back to school has many benefits, and the skills that you have picked up while looking after your family can be put to good use in your search for knowledge.

Going back to school can enrich your life. It can give you something away from the home and challenge your mind. It can help you to rediscover yourself away from your family and give you an enormous confidence boost. It can provide you with career options, both now and in the future, and perhaps most importantly, returning to education can set a fantastic example to your children.

Despite all of these advantages, there can be no denying that it is going to be tough. You’re going to have trying times, it may wear you down and stress you out. You are going to have to work hard and battle for what you want, but, if further education is what you want then nothing can stop you. 

Here are some tips to help you to manage it all -

Make Sure It’s What You Want
Higher education is expensive and time-consuming. It certainly isn’t something that you should rush into without careful consideration. Make sure you find a course that you really want to study and don’t rush into anything on a whim. If it’s not what you really want, you won’t stick to it, and you’ll give up at the first hurdle. Make sure it’s what you want, and you know why you are doing it before you get started.

Explore Your Options
Many mums find that an online course from Aston Online University is much easier to manage than a traditional in school course. It gives you a chance to work more flexibly around your family, and without having to worry about travelling to set classes at set times.

Of course, this isn’t your only option. You could study online, in school, part-time, at night school and even with vocational courses via your current job. Fully explore your options to find one that suits you and your family.

Bring Your Mum Skills into Play
If you’ve taken time away from work to have your children, you might feel as though there’s a pretty hefty gap in your CV, and like your brain has been lying stagnant. But, this couldn’t be further from the truth, raising children and managing a household is tough, and you’ll have developed countless skills to help you in your studies. You’ll be organised, efficient, and excellent at coping under stress amongst other things. Bring all of these skills into play, and you’ll be fine.

Manage Your Money
One of the biggest concerns about further education is the cost. Of course, not all courses cost the same, but if yours is expensive, it’s essential that you find ways to manage your money and take care of your finances or you’ll always be worried and won't be able to study well.

Photo credit, thanks to Unsplash

Plan Ahead as Much as You Can
Studying is always tough, and you’ll always be busy. But, not all of your days will be the same. Try to plan ahead as much as you can. If you’ve got big exams and assignments coming up, try to arrange childcare to give yourself some study time. If the kids have got a lot going on, or there are important dates in your diary, plan your time so that you haven't got work to complete at the same time.

Adjust Your Focus
As a mum, you might be guilty of trying to do everything. You like your house to be clean, your kids to stick to routines, and your meals to be healthy and filling. But, while you are studying, not all of these things will be possible, all of the time. A clean house is great, but is it worth it if you are so stressed out that you can’t enjoy it? Would a day in front of the TV really hurt the kids? Adjust your focus, and let your standards slide when you need to.

Look After Yourself
To give yourself the best chance of success, you need to look after yourself. Exercise, eat well, get plenty of sleep and fresh air, and give yourself time off when you need it. Work hard, but not so hard that you make yourself ill. Remember, it’s OK to ask for help from other people when you need it.

Lean on Your Faith
We all have faith. Whether it’s in a religion or a God, your family and friends, yourself and your support system or in meditation and yoga. Whatever your faith, lean on it and let it guide you through the trying times.

Make a Vision Board
A vision board is literally a board for your visions for the future. Filled with pictures, quotes and affirmations all related to your hopes and dreams. It can be done online with something like Canva and set as your screens saver, printed out and stuck somewhere that you can see it, or even just drawn with pen and paper. Fill it with things that you hope to achieve. Pictures of what you want from the year ahead, and where you hope your studies will take you, but also things that you want to do with your family. 

Write down quotes that inspire you and push you forward, and some of your targets for the years ahead. Whenever you are feeling doubts, or like you are too tired to carry on, take a look at your vision board and remind yourself of what’s important and that it will all be worth it in the end.

Good luck with your decision. I did my MA when I had a toddler and was pregnant with the twins and I don't regret a minute of it!

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