IBMC Articles

How to Balance Being a Parent and Going to College

College can be a huge feat to begin with. Add being a parent in, and life can get extra complicated.

Still, there’s no better way to achieve a big life change than by going to college. It can allow you to increase your earning potential, advance your career, or pursue a personal passion. While having kids to take care of can make it more of a challenge, you shouldn’t let it hold you back.

Avoid Perfectionism

Not all students are the same, and you shouldn’t treat yourself like you are. Instead of spending all your time worrying about getting straight As, put an effort into getting all the work done and keeping your GPA up. As a parent, it’s important that you spend time with your kids—even if that means getting a B in a class.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

Your spouse, friends or family want you to succeed. Let them know what they can do to help while you work toward your degree or diploma. You might be surprised how much they’re willing to help with childcare, housework and cooking.

Tell Your Instructor You’re a Parent

Most instructors will understand that you face challenges in balancing obligations outside of school. Remember that your instructors are people too, and they know college is not the only thing going on in your life. Telling your instructors you are a parent can make them more sympathetic if a situation arises that might interfere with your coursework.

Take Time for Self-Care

It’s important to avoid burnout. Taking time to clear your head can be as simple as a 5-minute walk around the block or a phone call to a friend. Do what makes you feel good—whether it’s going for a run, watching a funny TV show or enjoying a cup of coffee. You might feel like you don’t have time for fun, but it’s well worth it when it comes to avoiding excessive stress.

Stay Organized

Planning can make the difference between a great week and a long, frantic stumble through seven days. Keep your time scheduled as far in advanced as you’re comfortable with—from when you’ll study, to appointments, to meet-ups with friends. Getting organized takes time, but it’s worth the peace of mind it can give you and your family.

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