So, you’ve decided to take the plunge. There have been a million reasons over the years why you couldn’t go back to school, but now, all the stars are almost aligned (Let’s face it, there’s never a truly perfect moment) and it’s finally your time.
Of course, you are feeling those little butterflies in your stomach. You are excited about this new chapter in your life and scared at the same time about how it’s going to impact you and your family. You may be wondering whether you even have what it takes to be a student after all these years.
Let’s face it. You’re not a teenager anymore and school is not going to be about Frat Parties and hookups. You are going back for a purpose and you’re probably a little worried about the changes ahead for your family.
Here is some advice for making the transition back to school a little smoother for you and your family:
- Don’t expect everyone to be on board. The biggest disappointment is that not everyone will cheer you on or even be happy for this life change. This is your thing. You’re doing it for you and you’re doing it for your family too. They will eventually get on board, but it’s okay if they are not thrilled from the get-go. Young kids don’t understand the concept of delayed gratification and older kids just care about how things are affecting them at the moment. Even husbands can get a bit frustrated about how their life may change.So, don’t expect them to care about how this will be better in the future. Expect a little bit of complaining (or a lot). Let them voice their feelings, but be firm that this is going to happen and you will get through this as a family together. And you will.
- Lower your standards accordingly. This may sound like I’m asking you to be a slacker. I’m not. This is about prioritizing your time. You need to ask yourself if straight A’s is a necessity for your life goal?If you think you may want additional schooling, then you might need to get that 4.0 in order to get into the graduate school of your dreams. But If you are pretty sure this is your last degree, straight B’s will do.You will still earn the same degree as the straight-A student and may maintain a bit more of your sanity in the process. This may require letting go of some of your pride. Remember, you’re juggling a few balls and you need to be realistic about your time and priorities.
- Bulk Cook on the weekends and get friendly with your crockpot! This may seem trivial, but you need to squeeze every ounce of your time and energy during the school week focused on your school and family. It will be harder to just whip up a family meal at the last moment. Bulk cooking on the weekend will take off that pressure of “what’s for dinner?” and you can just enjoy it with your family, knowing it’s not a fast food meal. Set regular times for shopping on your schedule so that you aren’t caught with no food. Make recipe based lists for the week so that you don’t eat up unnecessary time making those extra grocery trips.
- ENLIST THEIR HELP. This is not the time to be Superwoman, Superwoman! Enlist the help of your family. Even the young ones can help with picking up the floor. Take the time to make detailed, age-appropriate chore lists and make it clear that everyone needs to be a part of taking care of the home.Enlist the help of your friends and family as well. Sometimes it is hard to ask for help when you have been used to doing it all. Now is the time to cash in some favors and lean on your support system a little more.Asking for help is not a weakness. It does not mean that you don’t have it all together. You will not be in school forever and you will have time to return favors when things are not as hectic.
- Remind Yourself of Your WHY. There is light at the end of the tunnel and that light is the culmination of your dream. When you get frustrated, scared or discouraged, remind yourself why you are doing this. Your why matters and it is not selfish and yes, you can do it! Anything that is really worth having will be tough to acquire, which makes it all the much sweeter when you do.Write down your why and post it where you can easily see it every day. Say it out loud when you get discouraged. Your why matters!
- Don’t Compare yourself to others in your class. Even if she is a single mom with more kids than you have, don’t start the comparison game. No one’s situation is the same. Sometimes it can be hard to feel like someone else is doing better or may have more time to invest in their education than you do.You can only do you. You have to trust that your best is good enough, even if it looks a little differently than someone else’s.
Congratulations on taking this big step. You are embarking on a journey that will change your life for the better. Fear is a component of even the best life changes, so as you step into that classroom, expect those butterflies and use them as energy to move forward. Incorporate these tips into your life as a new student/mom and you will be flying in no time.
Dr. Zoe Shaw is a licensed psychotherapist and Life Coach, helping women figure out their next season in life and love the one they’re in. Join her free monthly newsletter for tips, skills and encouragement for busy women by texting the word “join” to 38470.
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