Becoming a parent and attending graduate school are both exciting times of life. Whether you’re a first-time new mom, an experienced father with young children, or just in the stage of planning your advanced degree and thinking about motherhood or parenting, it’s important to know that many students successfully juggle graduate school with parenting. If you have a new baby on the way or are thinking of attending graduate school with young children, read on for tips on how you can juggle your education with at-home responsibilities.
Finding Support and Tools for Parents
The global pandemic has brought with it the silver lining of limitless online resources in nearly every area. For new moms or parents looking to learn tips and tricks on raising babies, toddlers, and young children, there are many blogs and websites out there that can help. If you’re in grad school and wondering how you’ll balance motherhood with a master’s degree goal, consider checking out TrulyMama, where you can learn about how other parents like you are pulling it off.
Not only can you find other parents to talk to, but you’ll be able to read product reviews to help you find the right products for things like breast pumps that will allow you to complete assignments while collecting breast milk. Something as simple as a hands-free breast pump can save time as you work toward balancing motherhood with your studies.
When gathering tools and resources to make grad school easier, don’t forget about nursing bras, strollers for breaks between assignments, infant car seats to keep your mind at ease, and the technology you’ll need to complete your coursework on time. It’s a good idea to take an inventory of what you’ll need between each semester and even before your baby arrives if possible.
Embracing Multitasking and Nursing
For many new moms, the biggest challenge comes with staying on top of nursing while managing coursework requirements. If this is a worry for you, it’ll be particularly important that you do your research on a breast pump that will make collecting and storing breast milk easier. If you aren’t sure where to start, consider asking your doctor or pediatrician what they recommend.
Communicating With Professors
The truth is, most graduate students struggle to stay on top of assignments. Between obtaining field experience, handling internships, and working jobs to pay for tuition, you aren’t alone if you’re feeling stressed out by the multitasking ahead. Especially if you’re a first-time parent, it’s a good idea to be honest with your professors about your limitations. For example, if you’re working to become an ABA therapist and aren’t sure you have time to complete the clinical supervision hours required for your program, it might be a good idea to ask faculty members what they suggest. Whether you opt to take a semester off or find ways to work at your own pace, communication will be key in earning that masters in behavior analysis.
Considering Online Options
Studies show that online degree programs can be extremely convenient and are often the best answer for graduate students who are parents. If you’re worried about how you’ll manage in-person classes, this could be a great option for you.
Whether you’re hoping to earn your MFA or are in a program for your doctoral degree in human service, it’s important to remember that the professors and faculty on campus or in your online program are there to help you be successful in the completion of your degree, completion program, or fieldwork. By reaching out to the people meant to help learners like you and joining a parenting support group, you’ll increase your odds of being successful as you juggle a graduate program with parenting. Best of luck to you in the future. Be sure to make your mental health a priority. You and your baby will thank you for it in the end.