Any mums in college or going back next year??
Aideen - posted on 06/30/2010
Did the college thing without a baby and then went back for more with a baby! No comparison between the experiences but doable...tough....but doable!! Well worth it in the end!
WORK EXTRA HARD!!! -you will have less time than others to get it all done! I think a lot depends on the work load of the course you're doing. Some courses have a lot of lectures but then you've less reading to do, others have less contact hours but more library/reading/projects etc. Watch out for times of the year that the workload is intense...do not find yourself cramming or trying to get an essay done on the one night the baby won't settle. These are the times when you are most likely to feel like packing it all in. Be organised!!! Start everything the minute you get the assignment (although that also means you can't get tips and ideas from friends since they will start weeks later! -sometimes this makes your thinking on the topics original). Be sure to make every single lecture as it takes 2 hrs to catch up on a 1hr lecture (took me years to figure that one out), by time you track down and copy the notes and then figure them out. (you may also have to miss a lot of time if baby gets sick, so keep in mind that missing that would be enough and cannot be planned for and you will not get a cert -you can't afford to miss any more). You will not have time to waste. Get your work done during those free hours (when others have coffee!), just take an hour for lunch.
Do not be afraid to ask the college for help and support, make them aware of your needs (placements etc can be worked around childcare if they know in advance)...get in touch with any support services there, health promotion officers etc. you will be surprised by the help they can give when you are in a jam!
Money will be an issue -childcare is a huge expense that other students do not have. Other parents either stay home and save on this or go to work which then pays for it. You will be between a rock and a hard place! Earning 0 and paying out lots!!
Organise the childcare well in advance or you will be compromising on the standard of care or the location. You need it to work very well for you. You will need somewhere close as time will be one of your biggest constraints. Timetabling will need to be considered as lectures can go on later than your childcare. (Our creched closed at 5:30 and lectures were to 6 -2 days a week! -I teamed up with another mom and we collected the girls for each other these days). Money will be another constraint so be sure to check out about holding baby's creche place for the summer -you may have to pay all summer (we managed to get out of that one but it was suggested that we 'd have to pay in full. A significant payment over the summer is standard for teachers for example).
LIVING SITUATION? I lived in a student house with 4 others with baby, her dad and myself. We had baby sitters in house and it worked quite well. We were very close to the college and the creche was a 15 min walk. A friend witha baby lived at home and organised family childcare near there and drove in daily, this saved on rent&care but she needed a car and spent a lot of time traveling. (time and safety!!!) Think about all the options.
GOING OUT: Getting a propper college experience will be difficult. I had experienced the late nights and all that so it didn't bother me to miss out second time round. Money (add on the baby sitting money and there is very little left in the fun budget) and time are constraints. Other students are very handy for baby sitting -make some friends that like kids? You do need to get to know the class in some way as this helps with the work...ideas, notes etc. Going out will be at the bottom of your list!
BABY: do not compromise your parenting values while you are in college. It is a significcant committment- a year at least. This is a lifetime for baby. You need to spend time with him/her and be sure your relationship is strong even though you are busy, broke and exausted. It will all be worth it...but not at the expence of having childcare you're not happy with or not seeing enough of your child. My only regret of all my time in college is not standing up for myself when i was under pressure and my supervisor told me I needed to let somebody else mind my child if I was finding it hard to get my work done. It makes me mad when I think of it! ...and I just nodded and said 'yes I suppose'. My daughter is more important than my degree and she has brought me more joy and opened more doors for me than any course ever could. I'm getting carried away now...but you get my point....keep the work and pressure in perspective...getting an essay done may be the centre of the world for every other student...the centre of your world will remain the little person who loves and needs you. Don't let any self important accademic tell you otherwise. Be confident and proud of your motherhood!!
Make a decision and commit to it...it won't get any easier to go back once they start school and you can't wait 10 years to follow your dream. Read 'the alchemist' by paulo coholo, it will inspire you to follow your dream and won't take too long. Good luck! You can do it!!! (I breastfed for 13 mths in college!!! anything is possible!)
Roisin - posted on 06/25/2010
My son is 3 and I'm going into my final year of my course! It will be tough and you won't be able to go out like your class mates and all that but it's worth it! It will be tough and you might want to give up...I have wanted to a few times...but do stick it out! Best of luck :)
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