It is a fact of life that moms worry! A mom going back to school is especially prone to worry, whether her concerns are about how she will handle difficult classes or how she will find the money to pay for them. One theme that seems constant in most moms’ worry repertories is the constant anxiety about finding the time to keep the household running in an orderly fashion while she is in school. The following tips may help alleviate some of the worries along these lines:
Organize to the Max
Student moms have to hit the floor running on most days, and any little blip can take away minutes that matter. Before beginning each school term, moms intent on getting more educational training should throw out anything in the house that is just taking up space and is rarely used. A cluttered environment can lead stress, and moms need to be able to think clearly. Once the decluttering is complete, moms should organize the rest of the home using these tips:
- Use hooks on the wall or on the back of doors to hang items such as backpacks and purses in an orderly fashion.
- Use baskets or plastic bins to separate school and office supplies.
- Use a hanging shoe bag to organize the children’s smaller toys, bathroom necessities, or cleaning supplies. You can even use a clear divided shoe bag for clothing accessories such as scarves or belts.
- Keep family calendars up to date and in a high traffic area so everyone always knows the game plan for each day.
- Have a dumping container of some type just inside the door labeled for each family member so that they will know where to look when they have lost something.
It’s important that moms teach the rest of the family how to use the above tips, so that everyone plays a part in keeping the household running smoothly.
Everyone in the family needs a quiet space for reading or studying, and this includes Mom. If a room has not already been set aside for a study area, then look around for the quietest corner of the house and appropriate it for your own use while in college. This means that this area will be off limits to the children and spouse because you may not always have time to put away important papers or assignments when you leave the area. This area should include the following:
- A table, desk, or other flat-surfaced furniture
- A computer and printer, or even an all-in-one machine with scanner and fax if you can afford one
- A filing cabinet or hanging file system in a box
- Bookends or a small shelf for organizing books
- Office supplies such as paper clips, pens, rubber bands, and folders
With these items in place, it should be easy to keep school work under control and work in the small increments of time snatched throughout the day.
The family may have to sacrifice a bit of mom’s time and attention while she is in school, but they will all benefit in the end. Until then, take Henry David Thoreau’s advice and “Simplify, simplify, simplify”!
Guest blogger Jennifer Lewis thinks careful planning and time management are essential for any mom trying to balance her role as both mom and student. She writes for a site that has details about grants available for women, including government grants for minority women, and thinks moms should apply for any help they’re entitled to.