The first step to making your new schedule work for everyone is to get the entire family to pitch in, especially with household chores. "Make the transition easier for everyone, including yourself as you redefine your work life balance by having a family meeting and discussing what it will take for you to be successful at school and at home," suggest BlueSuitMom.com's founder Maria Bailey. "Get everyone's buy-in, including small children who can help...by cleaning their rooms and putting away laundry." With your family support, you can cut down on the stress your household responsibilities can add to your already full schedule.
Although it would make things easier, maximizing what little time you have doesn't have to involve a fairy godmother. At home, making lunches the night before, cooking big batches of meals and freezing, and scheduling a cleaning day will help you keep the calm and get the most out of your time. At school, arrange your classes so you only go to campus once per day to cut down on travel time. At work, inquire about telecommuting, job sharing or reducing your hours temporarily.
All schools want their students to succeed, so contact your school's student services office for advice. There may be a program that can help you find balance between going back to school and keeping up with your family's schedule.
Bailey also suggest that you create a support system by hiring a babysitter, setting up a babysitting swap with a friend, or even getting a teenager to entertain the kids in another room while you study. Or, explore your campus' on-site child care options, which many schools now offer at affordable rates.
If you are looking for a learning option that lets you go to college or get your GED on your own schedule, then distance learning, also known as an online education, may be a good fit for you. Just be sure to verify that they are nationally accredited and that it will satisfy all the requirements in the certifications for which you are aiming.
While you are juggling school and family, remember to schedule in some downtime. Otherwise, your sanity will be the first thing to go! Be it once per week or a few minutes each day, be sure to take some time for yourself away from the hustle and bustle of your busy life. You will be less likely to burn out while going back to school and more likely to be the ringleader that you are!
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