If you are a single mother trying to navigate college, it might surprise you to learn that you are far from alone. In fact, some studies show that a full 19% of female college students are single mothers. Even though this is common, there are still many barriers that single mothers have to hurdle to be successful. Being a mother is a full-time job, and so is being a student. However, there are certain things you can do to help yourself, as well as receiving external help, so that you can be a great mom and a great student. Here are some of the most important ways for a single mother to get through college successfully.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
There are so many single mothers that simply don’t ask for help. In many cases it’s out of pride. They want to prove that they are able to manage their workload and the challenges of raising a child. Sometimes it’s because they don’t want to burden others. However, life could be much easier with just a little help. It could be asking a friend or family member to watch over your child while you are studying after school hours, or it might be sending them off to the grandparents for a week-end so you can get an essay finished. Do not be ashamed to ask for help. Your grades will thank you, and your children will thank you when you get through school and can provide them a better life.
You are going to have a lot going on. You will have to not only have your class schedule on your calendar, but you will have to organize appointments for the kids, study time, homework time, and anything else that’s related to being in college. Juggling it all is a challenge, so you need to be as organized as possible.
There are apps available that will help you organize your school-related tasks, such as Blackboard. You can set alarms and reminders for all sorts of events, such as due dates and exams. You should also make use of a calendar app and utilize it consistently. Everything should go in your calendar immediately so that you don’t forget. There are even apps to help organize the household chores so that your kids can assist you with keeping your home straight, leaving you time to focus on other things. Make sure you have a place for important papers that require your attention, such as bills and even name change documents if you are recently divorced. Do not let disorganization get in the way of doing the things you need to do.
Keep Yourself Healthy
Parents have a tendency to put their kids first in everything. They sacrifice their own health and finances to create a better life for them. That might mean making sure that they have healthy meals, while also eating fast food on a regular basis to save time. It means making sure their kids are getting to bed on time, and staying up all night to study and complete assignments. The fact is, keeping yourself healthy is good for your kids.
It will be easier to get your kids to eat healthy if you are modeling that behavior as well, for example. Also, parents who eat right and get a good night’s sleep are more patient, have more energy and can think clearer. Eating right will help with your sleeping schedule, which will help you get through the following day. Healthy habits are all interconnected, and you need to keep up with those healthy habits to do as well as possible as a student and as a parent.
Communicate With Your School
There are several ways that your school can help as well. Contact your student services office to find out what there is on-campus that you can take advantage of. For instance, there may be a daycare on-campus for you to use. They can also point you in the direction of grants, bursaries, and scholarships for which you might qualify that will help to ease your financial burden and allow you to focus more on your schooling. Finally, talk to your professors. They can help you with deadlines if appropriate and give you alternate options to help raise your mark if you do poorly on an exam or assignment because of your responsibilities as a parent.
There’s no denying that being a single mother is hard. Being a single mother and going to college at the same time is even harder. However, there are some things you can do, and some help you can find, to meet those challenges and find success. Nothing can stop you from building a better life for your family if you set your mind to it.