Strategies to Balance Continuing Education With Kids
Date: September 1, 2011
Having a family, a job and going back to school at the same time can be downright hectic. Finding a way to balance all three is key to help keep your sanity. Following are a few strategies that will work, if implemented.
Ask for support. Make sure everyone understands that you will need a little extra support during this phase of your life. Talk with family and your employer about what is required for you to obtain your degree. Ask your spouse to help out more while you are attending classes to avoid extra child-care fees.
Study after your children go to bed. You will need a quiet house to allow for concentrated study time, which means you must run a tight ship in order to devote time to studying. Set and stick to kids' bedtimes.
Take as many online classes as possible. Getting a degree without having to physically go to the university can make juggling class, family and work much easier. Many online programs are available through accredited universities. Remember, it's the actual degree that matters, not necessarily the school that you attend.
Try to cover costs through your job. Some employers encourage employees to pursue a higher education, and are willing to cover higher-education costs, especially if you are able to take the classes at a time that doesn't interfere with your work schedule. My husband and I did this while working at a pharmaceutical company. We took classes on weekends and the company paid for our Masters in Business Administration degrees.
Keep home life top of mind. It is important to remember that your family is still the priority. Don't allow home life to suffer and everything fall apart just because you are in school. Carve out time to spend with your family, and then sacrifice some additional time to make the school thing work out. That may require an exchange of personal leisure time for study time.
Envision a bright future. When you get discouraged, remind yourself that by obtaining the degree you will have better financial opportunities, more career options and potential to provide a better life for your family.
Delegate. Everything that you can assign to others that will help you while you are in school, do it. Don't feel guilty about asking for the help. Women who ask for help from their spouses, ask their children to help more around the house, and ask for closer team work with their colleagues, are more productive and maintain sanity in the long run.
Expect some turbulence. Everything is not going to work out perfect. You may have to request an extension on some assignments due to family responsibilities. Share with your professor what is happening as soon as you know, versus waiting until the last minute. Showing respect may soften his or her heart towards you.
Remember to pat yourself on the back, because you are truly an amazing woman if you are trying to balance all of these roles. You deserve nothing but praise and admiration for all that you do. Allow your children and spouse to show their appreciation for attempting to better your family life. Keep up the wonderful job that you are doing.
Watch Telly Award-Winning Television Talk Show Host Kim Jacobs on "Daily Balance with Kim Jacobs" on PBS-WTVI, Saturdays, 10 a.m. To learn more about Daily Balance with Kim Jacobs go online to www.dailybalancewithkim.tv.