You've had kids and either your career is stalling or you're a stay-at-home mom who doesn't have a career to return to (or one you want to go back to!), so you think to yourself, "Why don't I go back to school and finally get a degree, finish my degree, or further my education?"
Everyone thinks it's a fantastic idea: your in-laws, your partner, and your friends.
There's this tiny little voice inside your head that says a little too loudly: "You don't deserve to go back," or "You'll fail." A part of you even believes that you're being selfish and a bad mother for wanting to do something for yourself. That's because "mother culture" says we're supposed to put the kids first always, and that doing something for oneself means we're selfish, self-absorbed moms who don't really care about their kids. This, my friends, is a whole load of BS. There are a million reasons going back to school IS a kick-butt idea! And if you doubt it or perhaps your partner doubts it, let me convince you both.
A lot of people go to college or trade school only to drop out. There's a tiny feeling of defeat in knowing that you didn't finish something you started. Returning to school to finally finish what you set out to do years ago will give you a sense of self-pride that is worth its weight in gold. And even if you've never set foot in a college before and you just want to start now, making that choice and then earning a degree will be something you can say you did all on your own. Just drink in that for a second: doesn't it feel amazing to know that you could be a college or trade-school graduate?
Yes, it does!
Finishing What You Started: A Life Lesson For Your Kids
Completing a degree for yourself will not only be an amazing accomplishment for yourself, but it will also teach your kids two vital life lessons: finishing what you started and going after your dreams.
We often tell our kids, "Oh, you don't want to go to baseball, dance, or X activity? Well, you started the season, so now you must finish."
Wouldn't it be nice if you showed your kids that you, too, are accountable for completing goals? Showing your kids that Mom has tenacity makes you the best role model ever, not a bad or selfish mother.
And what about that whole "Go and find your dreams" spiel we rattle off to our kids day in and day out . . . and that they hear about in movies like, "When you wish upon a star," and "A dream is a wish your heart makes"? Try showing them that your heart and head have made a wish, and now Mommy is going to make it a reality. Watching you set your heart on something and then doing it is powerful. Your children will be more apt to follow their own dreams if their mother does the same. If you sit back and wish, wish, wish, and do zilch, zilch, zilch, you're teaching your kids that NOTHING is possible and that investing in oneself isn't wise. Do you want to do that?
Especially For the Girls
Girls are less apt to be pushed to pursue their goals than boys are, so if Mom throws in the towel thinking she doesn't deserve to educate or further herself, why should she do anything with herself either then? Girls watch closely, moms. Set your standards high.
Confident Woman — Sexier Wife
To the husband who's not so sure he wants his wife back in school: touché, my friend! Going back to school will unearth a boatload of confidence in your wife, and a confident woman is a sexy woman. And in case I needed to say this: a confident, sexy woman might want more sex! Yes, I just went there.
Even if she's not cuddling up to you more, don't you want your partner to fulfill her potential and be happy? Yes, this might mean "Daddy" has to take on more roles regarding the home and children, but in the end, it will be worth it. A happier spouse equals a happier marriage. Remember, "A happy wife is a happy life."
If you ever want your wife to reach her earning potential, you might want to gently nudge her to go back to school. The market for jobs is competitive. Getting ahead often requires experience, connections, and education. In fact, a lot of folks make great connections through college and trade schools. Don't you want a more powerful second income, or for moms who aren't working currently, a second income, period? Even if your partner is making bank, extra money and self-satisfaction that come from working in a field you enjoy is worth it! Besides, who couldn't use extra money?
Student Loans: Worth It
Student loans are worth it — but please be sure to take out a manageable amount based on your earning potential once you're out of school. Or to phrase it another way, if you want to study art, go for it . . . but don't incur too much debt because your career won't support you enough to pay it back — believe me you, says the Ivy League graduate with a writing degree! Dads and moms: a little student loan debt is a worthwhile investment if you cannot pay in cash, which, let's face it, 99 percent of us cannot pay for school in cash! If you can, do it, but if not, it is OK to take out a reasonable amount of student loan debt.
But the House Will Explode Without Mommy!
Yes, your house may be chaotic for a while when you go back to school, but everyone will survive and perhaps older siblings can help out Dad or any other caregivers involved in the process. Don't be shy to ask in-laws and family members to help while Mom is in class. Truth be told, you can live in a dirty house (just don't get unsanitary!), and if the laundry isn't done and you have to buy extra socks and undies from time to time, the Mom Police won't come and lock you up.
My Kids Will Miss Me
Yes, they'll miss you, but they would also miss seeing an accomplished and happy mother while growing up. Which do you think is easier to miss? If you didn't answer the latter, shame on you!
But I Forget What It's Like
You're panicking: you don't remember what it's like to be a student! You can't do it! You'll fail! All these negative little voices start to panic over every single thing involved with returning to school, but you know what? Those voices are dead, dead wrong. You most certainly can do it. You're a mom! You've battled the infant stages, the toddler stages, and, for some of you, the teenage stages.
You've got this, lady!
Sure, the first week or two you may be exhausted, overwhelmed, and intimidated by the professor or your classmates, but after some time, it will be no big thing, and you'll be in a new routine.
Don't let your fears talk you out of making a happy career for yourself. It doesn't matter if you want to study basket weaving or engineering — you are allowed to invest in yourself and indulge yourself in something that has nothing at all to do with being a mommy. In fact, investing in you makes you the best mommy ever.