How to help out a mom struggling through college?
We all know someone who decides to continue studying and working on his/her career after having a family.
This is specially challenging on the first years of the kids’ lives and when is mom who decides to study, even when the other parent shares equal responsibility to support her studies; we still live in a society where there are very high expectations for women family-wise.
Here’s how you can give a hand to that person you care about, when she’s having a hard time balancing her studies and home life.
- Offer to babysit her kids for a couple hours while she studies.
- Help her with meal preparations and house chores.
- Don’t text her endlessly, if you really want to know how she’s doing ask if she can talk and give her a call.
- Listen to her when she needs to vent.
- Remind her she’s doing a great work just by committing to finish her studies after being a mom.
- Make her a cup of coffee when she has to study.
- Help her out with running errands.
- Take the kids to school or from school back home for her.
- Celebrate her academic successes
- Remind her that one grade does not define her overall performance.
- Remind her of important dates
1. Offer to babysit her kids
Some weeks we get so caught up in our routines that we neglect study time, it can be so helpful if you just offer to take the kids out for a while, take them to the park, to watch a movie, or just play around with them at home but giving you mom friend some space and time study.
2. Help her with meal preparations and house chores.
It depends on the mom, some like me will refuse at first, but if you have enough trust and familiarity with that person they will accept the help.
I will be happy EVERY TIME you offer to cook, it is the one thing about motherhood that gets me on my nerves, if you know there’s something that your mom fellow doesn’t like to do offer to do it for her and suggest that she uses the time to study.
Simple tasks like sweeping and mopping, taking the laundry out to hang, or cleaning up kids’ mess can make some busy mama’s day easier.
3. Don’t text her endlessly
Anyone who studies/works and has toddlers can tell you this: there’s no time to fool around with the cellphone. I don’t even know when was the last time I published an Instagram story or WhatsApp status. I am forced to use Facebook for online classes and it is so distracting, I hate when I find myself caught up in a social media binge!
I rather attend a call for 15 minutes catching up with someone than spending 3 hours in and out of a WhatsApp chat to say half of the things that we could’ve spoken over the phone. Because let’s be honest, moms won’t answer right away when you text them, this conversation you try to keep with her can take hours.
Make it simple, give her a call, I promise you it will be more valuable.
4. Listen to her when she needs to vent
Ah, we all have those days, sometimes moms feel guilty about being stressed out and wanting to give it all up. It is difficult for us to say it out loud, if your fellow mom trusts you enough to open up listen to her, have empathy, let her know it is okay to feel that way, she doesn’t have to be perfect.
Motherhood is not always la vie en rose and that’s okay, most of the days will be bright and beautiful but there will be bad days, when nothing goes right, she’ll be late for class, she forgets appointments and dinner burns out! Be there to listen up and don’t judge.
5. Remind her she’s doing a great job
Just by making the decision to improve her life through academic achievements, after having kids is a huge deal. Not every mom will make it through, some won’t have enough support, others will lose motivation on the way.
The fact that she’s working towards that goal to be better for her and her kids is an act of courage, remind her how brave she is. It is never said enough.
6. Make her a cup of coffee when she has to study
My partner and my mom do this for me, you have no idea how much a little gesture like this can push her (in a positive way) to get to work. I love coffee, I start my day with it, and my study sessions start with it.
You can do such a small thing for her that means a lot, it means I’m here for you, I support you, I believe in you, I’m cheering for you, go get that degree!
7. Help her out with running errands
It’s finals’ season and your fellow student mom hasn’t brushed her hair in three days (true story) she’s eating take out, the kids have a battlecamp on the livingroom and she’s trying to study in the middle of chaos, it can happen that she didn’t have enough time to review all the classes, she doesn’t want to go out, she doesn’t have time to do it.
If you know there’s something she needs from the convenience store near home, go get it for her, get her some treats to brighten things up. Ask if you can do something else for her, she might not have time to chit-chat but she’ll be so grateful that you did this for her!
8. Take the kids to school or from school back home for her.
This single thing can save her up to one hour that she can use to study, and when it comes to balancing college and kids every minute counts.
9. Celebrate her academic success
It doesn’t matter how big or samll, celebrate! She’s one step closer to the goal, make it a big deal! That exam where she got a 95 is a big deal, don’t let it go under the table, a good grade is even more valuable when it has so much effort behind it.
She overcame her public speaking fear and gave a great presentation, congratulate her for those little things, that are victories for her.
10. Remind her that one grade does not define her overall performance.
Just as there will be good grades there are bad grades, sometimes she might even fail a class, remind her that it is just one step, she doesn’t have to give up, she’ll do better next time. She’s already doing a lot.
Sometimes we expect the bad grades to happen because we know that we didn’t study enough, but some other times these hit hard because we felt confident about our knowledge. We can’t help but doubt if our efforts are not enough. Be the person to remind your mom fellow that she’ll go through this, it was just a bad grade and it doesn’t define her success.
11. Remind her of important dates
Specially if you are a classmate, there’s so much going on a mom’s head that we might forget some specific dealine we had to make. Some moms won’t have this problem, but if your fellow has forgotten important dates before be there to remind her.
If you’re a relative and you know she might forget someone’s birthday or any other important date casually remind her, it can be really helpful when she has so much stuff to keep track of.
I’m a medical student and mom of twins, I love to write and I’m sharing my journey in achieving my degree while raising happy kids.