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Parents going back to school: Is it right for you?

Family supporting their new graduate
Family supporting their new graduate
Photo supplied by Judy Serrano

You hear about it all the time. Parents are going back to school. As exciting as that might sound, finding time to study, work, and take care of a family may not be the easiest thing to manage. How do you know if going back to school is right for you, and if it is something you want to do, how do you mange this very puzzling balancing act? Here are a few tips that just might help.

· Ask for help- Do not be afraid to ask friends and family to chip in. If you are a parent and are trying to make a better life for your family, ask for their assistance. Explain to them that this will help you get a promotion or a better job, but you are just too tired to cook, clean, and do the laundry. Assign your children chores, and remember to reward them with gratefulness. Thank them at every opportunity, and watch how they suddenly begin to get an air of self-confidence about them, just for being a contributing member of the family.

· Make a schedule- Make sure that you have certain times where all you do is study and do homework. Don’t let anyone interfere with your routine, unless of course, it can’t be helped. Once you are in a routine, it will be easier for you to get things done in a timely manner. Just remind your family that when your work is done, you will be able to play.

· Save time for yourself- Now you’re thinking, Time for myself? What does that even mean? It is important that you don’t burn out. Burnout is easy when you have too many irons in the fire. Even if it is just 30 minutes a day, you will need those 30 minutes. Sit down outside, in your bedroom, or even in your car if you have to. Take some time to rest. Pour yourself a glass or wine or even drink a cup of hot tea. Time alone to rest will keep your energy level going. It will also give you some peace of mind when you feel stress rearing its ugly head. Don’t let time alone become time unknown.

Especially in today’s economy, the job market can be tough. Going back to school may be the answer to your dreams. It won’t be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. Make a plan and move forward. Lots of people do it and receive great rewards. You can do it too. Just remember that just because you’re a parent, doesn’t mean you can’t do something for yourself.