You can have it all – romance, children, an education, a fantastic career and world travel. The catch? You can’t necessarily have it all at once – so you have to prioritise what’s most important in your life at any given time. There is no wrong answer to which of these wonderful things should come first and which can wait until later. If you’ve already made the choice to put your children ahead of a career and education, be aware that you’ve made a choice that works out well for many women.
But perhaps there’s a nagging little voice in your head telling you that you made a mistake – that you should have completed your education before you had children. Perhaps you’ve dreamed of returning to university to complete your education. Maybe you’re yearning for a career that will better provide for your children’s needs than your current situation allows.
Here’s the good news: You can make it happen! It will not be easy, but it’s rare for anything worthwhile to ever be easy. Countless other mums have returned to school to earn their degrees – and you can, too. Consider these 4 tips for busy mums who want to return to university:
1. Study Online
Advancing technology has made it possible for you to earn a degree from prestigious universities around the globe – without ever leaving your home. There are countless degree programmes available that are taught completely online. The coursework is all completed online. The class discussions all take place online. There are no specific meeting times, so you can study while your baby naps. You can stop working to feed your baby or change a nappy whenever you need to.
This, of course, depends on what subject matter you want to study. There are programmes, such as nursing, that require actual hands-on clinical practice. You could handle that by enrolling in a blended programme that combines some online study with some in-person, hands-on instruction. However, the coursework for many subjects can be totally completed online. An example of this would be finance courses online, which do not require face-to-face demonstrations to complete successfully.
2. Let Go of Perfectionism
It’s natural to want to do an amazing job at everything – parenting, coursework, housekeeping and maintaining your romantic relationship. The truth is, it is unlikely that you’ll excel at everything all at once. You’re going to have to make some compromises – and you absolutely must make an effort to prioritise your relationships if you want to keep them.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure to maintain passing grades; but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t achieve a perfect score on every assignment. In the end, it’s earning the credential that counts most. Always remember that you don’t need perfect scores to achieve that goal.
3. Don’t Compromise on Sleep (If You Can Help It)
You need to get enough sleep to do a good job of parenting your wee one(s) and completing your schoolwork. Sleep is also a top priority when it comes to staying healthy. So, get enough sleep – and when you need to make compromises, compromise on other things that are less important.
The housework is one possible area that can be compromised. Don’t feel as if you have to do the housework all yourself. Ask your family members to help, too. Even young children can help. Researchers have discovered that toddlers grow up to enjoy greater success in life if they’re made to do chores as wee ones. So, don’t feel bad about asking them to put their own toys away or giving them other small tasks around the house to complete.
A trick that works for many mums for getting enough sleep: Put your wee one(s) to bed early, and study at night. Do make sure to get 5-6 hours of sleep before morning; then catch a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon while your little one naps.
4. Know How to Deal With Guilt and Self Doubt
Mum guilt is universal. There is no escaping it. There will be times you will doubt your choices. There will be times when you feel like you are failing at everything you’re attempting to do. When those times hit you, push through them the best you can. Do not dwell on the guilt. Keep on keeping on.
Know this: These are feelings that every mum must deal with. They are not unique to you and your family. They’re certainly not unique to mums who return to school; working mums, work-at-home mums and stay-at-home mums all feel mum guilt to varying degrees. When the guilt strikes, simply remind yourself that you have made wise decisions, and you are doing everything in your power to cope the best you can.
If you want to return to university to complete your education, these are 4 tips you’ll want to keep in mind throughout the course of your studies. Returning to school is totally doable – and if you keep these things in mind, you can definitely succeed with it.