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  • Writer's pictureOnce Upon A Mommy

Yes Mommy, You CAN Go Back To School After Having Kids... (A step-by-step guide)

Updated: Feb 26

By Cris S.

January 10, 2024

Yes, you can go to college after having kids. How do I know this? Because I did it! More than once, actually. I was not your traditional young adult who did everything in the "right order". In fact, quite the contrary. I started having my kids early on in life. Then after my second baby I decided I wanted to do something more...

The old-school idea that women need to settle down and stop evolving after having children is a thing of the past. We are stronger and more powerful than ever these days! Whether you are interested in becoming a dental hygenist, business owner, nurse, teacher or even a doctor... The possibilities are endless and yes, you CAN make it happen, even having children!

If you ever had any thought in your mind about earning a college degree or certificate, it has never been more doable than it is now!

Yes, it will be more challenging with kids in the picture, but if you are up for the challenge, it will absolutely pay off in the long run.

I went to school and earned my Associate's Degree with 2 kids, my LPN with 3 kids and my RN with 4 kids. My motivation was that I wanted to make more money for my growing 1family. (Umm, I guess that's the main reason why anyone would do that!?).

Of course, I had to continue to work in the meantime to help pay the bills, so it took quite a bit of teamwork between me and my husband to make it a reality. For all the single parents out there: Figure out which people you have in your life that could potentially help you navigate this dream.

So many schools offer options these days for working parents. There are numerous online courses available, as well as weekend and evening classes.

Start by getting some ideas about what it is you would like to be when you grow up. (That's a joke... If you're reading this, I'm assuming you are already grown up). Research the different schools that offer online programs and programs you can attend just part time. If you are able to go full time, great!

Community colleges tend to be more affordable and usually offer most of the same basic classes that are required for most degrees. (You can always transfer to a 4-year-college later on)

When you find a program you are interested in, connect with an academic advisor via email or a phone call to set up a meeting. Academic advisors typically are the ones who sit down with you and work out a short term and long term plan to earn your degree in a way that fits your schedule.

There are also financial advisors that can help you work out costs, financial aid, grants and possible scholarships. There are MANY scholarships available to help pay for college. You may find some specific to the degree you choose, along with some directed towards... you guessed it... MOMS!!!

One of the biggest challenges I faced going to college as a Mom really had nothing to do with the classes themselves. It was the "Mom guilt" that I felt when I had to go hide in the bedroom to study for a test. Or heading off to an evening class when I should have been sitting down to dinner with my family.

Anyone who tells you that it's easy to go back to college after having kids... Well, they probably don't actually have any kids! I had to continuously remind myself that the main reason I was doing this at all was FOR my family. (And maybe just a little bit for myself!)

I wanted to be able to provide for my kids as they grew up without worrying about living paycheck-to-paycheck. I wanted to spoil my kids (without the BRAT part... But I talk about that in a separate post!) I wanted to go on vacation and not stress about all the bills that would still be waiting when we got home.

Despite the financial benefits that I gained by going back to school and earning my degree, there is something else I got out of it as well. The sense of accomplishment that I felt when I completed my program was unsurpassable!

Yes, people earn college degrees all the time. If I would have been wiser, I would have graduated high school, gone straight to college, and established a well paying career before I ever thought about having kids. But that's not how I decided to roll. (I guess I like to take the "danger: do not enter" route at times) I am proof that it is absolutely possible though.

Yes, there will be times where you probably want to cry, burn all your books, get in a car and drive far, far away... But you have to constantly remind yourself of your end goals and what you will get out of them. Picture yourself graduating and working your new job knowing that you earned this!

Also think about what your kids are witnessing: Their Mom overcoming all obstacles, working hard for something she wants and proving to herself and everyone else that Yes, I CAN and I DID!

Mom's Step by Step Guide to Going to College:

  1. Think about what careers you might be interested in and research the heck out of them. Check out which schools offer the programs you would need to earn this degree. Dont be afraid of a program that may take you many years to complete. You WILL get there!

  2. Email academic advisors at the college(s) of choice and tell them your personal situation and what your goals are. Ask them about time commitments, on-campus requirements and prerequisites you may need. (A prerequisite is a class you need to have completed before you enter a specific program)

  3. Once you find a program that is a good fit for you and your family, apply to the college. (The academic advisor can help walk you through what processes you need to compete. It's different for every college)

  4. Consider taking basic core classes at a community college level. (ie: English Comp, Anatomy, Biology, etc) These are usually more cost effective at this type of college and most of these classes will transfer out to other colleges if needed.

  5. Speak with a financial advisor about financial assistance. There are government grants, scholarships and student loans if needed. Also many companies offer tuition assistance. If you are currently working, ask someone in your HR department if this is applicable.

  6. Once you are enrolled in classes and know your schedule, figure out your child care situation. Use support from a spouse, family members, older siblings or a daycare center if feasible. Not only will you need help with the kids while you are at class, but you will need sufficient study time in order to succeed.

  7. Have faith in yourself and your abilities. Ask for help when needed and don't be ashamed of it. You are working towards something amazing for you and your family. Remind yourself that you are brave and you WILL succeed!

More on "going back to school after having kids" coming soon! Don't forget to subscribe!

Happy Parenting and Happy Schooling!!

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