Your kid just dropped her peanut butter waffle on the rug, the other is missing a left shoe, you have two homework assignments due, and you just want a nap! Or a bubble bath! Or both. (Just not at the same time.)
Going back to school as a parent is hard. Period.
Make sure you’re setting yourself up for success by preparing for, and tackling, overwhelm.
1. Create a schedule you can stick to.
As an adult parent, a planner will be your best friend during your degree program! Keep it on you at all times and write down obligations, even ones that seem easy to remember. Seeing what you need to do written down will make your tasks seem more manageable than having them swirling in your head.
With that in mind, be realistic in your expectations of yourself. Remember to schedule in family time, fitness, meal planning, and other activities you can enjoy.
2. Make time for yourself.
With deadlines and homework and tests, there are going to be moments of stress. Schedule time just for you, away from your responsibilities. Seriously. Write it in your planner!
Lindi Gomez, an adult student at Southern Nazarene University, said, “When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I take a time out and focus on something that helps to relieve stress. It helps to have a clear mind when I return to my homework.”
3. Combine responsibilities.
Finding ways to multi-task or combine responsibilities, like listening to a lecture online while cooking dinner, can help save time. Dayna Stark, Southern Nazarene University alumna and current professor, said she did homework at the same time as her children, so they are all working on it together.
“One of my favorite memories from the Organizational Leadership program was when I was working on a project on my living room floor,” Dayna said. “My kids were in the room working on homework as well. We laughed and helped each other with our work. It was one of those special moments that stuck with me.”
4. Give yourself some grace.
Being a parent is hard. Being a student is hard. Being a student and a parent is an amazing act of willpower. Remember that adjusting to this schedule will take time and practice.
Be proud of yourself, be patient, and know sometimes this juggling act will become difficult. But you are strong, and you can rely on a God who is even stronger. You’ve got this.