Being a single mom is difficult enough in the finance department, but add to that the stress of also being a college student, and you have a plate that’s just piled over. You’ve got to figure out how to make money while attending college and caring for your children. It may seem like a difficult nut to crack, but it is certainly possible. You’ve just got to find the balance.
At least one research study found that the number one issue facing single parents who are also in college is time management. There are only 24 hours in a day, and during those 24 hours they have to find time to eat, sleep, spend time with their kids, study, work, and go to class.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
The key to time management is to work smarter, not harder. One way to do this is to find a job that fulfills two purposes. Some jobs will pay for you to go to school, so this provides a way for you to both put food on the table and also go to school. Since the job is paying for you to go to school, managers will also be more flexible in terms of scheduling because they will certainly want to allow for your classes and study time. This can help take some of the stress out of trying to manage everything.
Another idea is to get paid internships within the field you are studying. This option may not open up until you are a year or two down the road, but it allows you to get experience and also get paid to do what you want to do anyway after you finish school. Once again, this is like finding a job that serves a dual purpose. Some of these jobs also earn you credit in college, like within the nursing field.
A job with flexible hours is another option for making money as a single parent in college. With all the financial aid for college that’s available to low income families, and especially to moms, you can get aid to help pay for housing and then just get a part time job with flexible hours to pay for food and any other expenses that the aid does not cover.
You might also consider taking online classes rather than going to physical classes. This will allow you to study in your own time at home so that you don’t need to find childcare. Then you can continue to work full time and not miss time with your children.Just remember though that online classes can seem more difficult because you don’t have ready access to an instructor. Online classes are great for some students, but you have to understand what you are getting yourself into first.
Create a Schedule
Finding a job that serves two purposes is another step in the process of making money while you are in college, but you may still be asking how you can get everything done. The best thing you can do is set a schedule. List family time on there so that you can spend time with your children and look for opportunities to schedule while being there for them, like bringing your books while your child’s baseball or soccer team is playing.
Also make sure to set boundaries with your children and family. If your kids are older, make sure that they understand study time is study time and you are not to be disturbed. If your kids are younger, try to get help from your parents, your siblings, or friends. Knowing that your children are being watched by someone you trust will greatly reduce the stress you experience during class and study time. Just remember that when family time does roll around, you are to just focus on your kids so that they know they are important in your life as well.