This week I began a new phase of my life as a student. For the next two weeks, I will be attending University before moving on to an online program. The program will last two years and at the end of all this, I will be a certified teacher. There are a lot of emotions that have been circulating since finding out I got into school. Excitement, fear, apprehension, nervousness are just a few of what feels like a neverending list.
I know many people who have gone back to school as parents, and they have all survived and excelled. Knowing this, I am confident I can succeed on this journey. I think the biggest challenge for me is that I am giving up a portion of my time that I used to spend with my kids and am instead, committing it to school. Kids are only little for a short period of time, and I feel like I am missing out by not spending that time with them. My son starts full-time kindergarten next year. My daughters start pre-school. In two years, they will be in kindergarten and I will be starting my teaching career.
While I am lucky that I can do my learning online, it is hard knowing that my life is changing.
At the same time, the classes I’m taking are exciting and interesting. I love where I am, the concepts that are being taught, and the direction that the education system is going. Being excited in a classroom is not always a common thing, so I know I am in the right place.
Knowing all this, the imminent change, and the excitement of what is yet to come. How do parents cope?
I think it is important to have a system of people you trust who can make the transition easy. My mother-in-law has been a godsend. She is watching my kids while I am at school and helping me keep my house clean. She even brought food to make dinner, which I totally forgot about in my stress about going back to school. While the kids miss me, they are having lots of fun with Grandma and Grandpa.
My husband has also been a strong support. Every time I’m on the verge of a breakdown, or, if I’m being honest, in the middle of a breakdown, he has been nothing but supportive of me in this journey. I know that our kids are in great hands, even if I can’t be there to help as much as I used to.
Another thing that I think can really help parents who are students cope is to make friends with other students who are parents, as well as connect with friends who are also students. Education is moving towards being a more collaborative career, so you have other who can help you out if you need it. You are not alone.
I think the biggest thing to remember out of all of this is to find some support. Parenting while being a student is hard, and it would be even harder if you were by yourself. Whether it is a friend, family member, or colleague, be sure to find someone who can help you through and be a support while you are pursuing a new career by going to school. It definitely helps. Don’t do it by yourself.