How do you afford the luxury of studying as a single mum?

Single parent
Written by Nigel Simpkins

Regardless of how much emphasis is placed on gender equality in today’s society, when you become a mum everything changes. It doesn’t all come to a halt, but your life will most certainly need to adapt and you will need to change or suspend your career plans for an indefinite amount of time. If pregnancy appeared at a moment in your life when you still wanted or needed to further your education, you may already be considering going back to school and studying as a mum. 

If you’re a single mum though, studying can feel more like a luxury than a necessity, considering how challenging it can be to balance all these needs and allot your limited resources efficiently. This is why we’ve compiled this list of tips that can help you better organize yourself and get the best of your studying experience, while also remaining the fantastic mum you already are.

1. Get Your Priorities Straight

There’s a trap a lot of single mums fall into and that’s believing they can do more than they actually can within a day. So if you’re a single mum and maybe even going through a divorce or a separation, you need to be extra gentle on yourself. You can make a list of what your priorities are throughout a regular day and work to remove the obstacles in your path that prevent you from ticking these off the list. If you feel like your daily chores take too much of the energy and time that you’d like to offer studying, you can always (if your finances will allow) hire professional help. Or perhaps you could ask for a friend to come babysit from time to time. In the end, your well-being should be at the top of your priorities list.

2. Choose the Area and Method of Studying Wisely

Try and choose a subject of study that thrills you with excitement and anticipation. Granted, you need to keep a practical mind and also evaluate your area of study in terms of what it can do for you financially down the road. But if this box is checked, all you need to do is to choose a field of study that fuels your passion – it’s only this passion that will get you through potential hard times as a single mum, when you may feel like quitting. Additionally, realizing that your time is limited will only optimize your resources both as a mum and as a student. Having said this, if you want to balance your life properly and still sleep well at night, online courses are the way to go – they allow you the freedom and flexibility you need to care for yourself and your little one.

3. Set Goals for Yourself and Get Motivated

As any parent will tell you, it’s easy to get stuck in the routine that the baby demands of you. Your schedule becomes predictable only for a few weeks or months, after which everything changes again, and there’s very little room left for your own dreams and ambitions. By losing practice when it comes to goal setting, studying may feel like a very daunting task in the beginning. So start small, but determined. Set goals for yourself when it comes to your studying  and don’t stop there. Try to make a list of small goals outside your child’s universe and your brain will remember the satisfaction of achieving a task, while also becoming stronger and stronger every day. It may be that book you were planning to read or that watercolor painting you wanted to give a try – whatever it is, push yourself a little bit and the positive effect will soon show too.

4. Keep a Healthy Body for a Healthy Mind

Studying will require a lot of brain power and if you don’t take care of your body well, your long-term career plans will ultimately take the hit. As a single mum, it’s recommended that you take a walk in the park whenever you can – this will be good for both you and the baby. Or if you have a small garden, now is the best time to tend to it. It will not only feel rewarding to grow something you planted yourself, but being outside in the fresh air and actively meditating will do you a world of good. You can also alternate these activities with some light indoor workout sessions. All these activities will ultimately contribute to a healthier and more responsive mind – exactly what you need to successfully complete your studies.

As a single mum, it ultimately matters for you to be in a good place, where well-being is primary. If you can achieve this, not only will you nurture your child with all the emotional and practical support they need, but you will also be able to carry on studying without feeling overwhelmed, guilty or scared. It’s difficult to find balance, but if you know what your priorities are, act on them and relieve yourself of that knackering guilt, everything will gradually fall into place.