Work-at-home moms already manage what amounts to two jobs.  Raising children is a round-the-clock pursuit that can sometimes seem like a thankless job that you never leave (although it certainly gets easier once the kids go off to school).  And when you throw in part-time or full-time work, even if you pursue a career out of your home, it adds a lot of stress and time-management issues to an already full plate.  But if you’re also thinking about finishing up your degree program as you earn a living and tend to the needs of your family, you might find yourself in a real pickle when it comes to arranging the schedule and finding even a few minutes to rest.  In short, it’s all too easy to get burned out when pursuing so many diverse and demanding activities.  Your best bet, of course, is to hold out until the kids are in school themselves.  But if you just can’t wait to earn your degree, here are a few tips to help you juggle your busy schedule.

  1. Part-time it.  Working and going to school is difficult.  But adding kids to the mix makes doing everything full time impossible.  You can try it, but you will likely fail on all fronts.  Instead, admit that you’re human and cut yourself some slack.  Cut your work schedule down to part time, take just a couple of classes, and remember that you’re doing it so that you can succeed in both school and work while giving your kids the time and attention they need and deserve.
  2. Take online courses.  Saving time on travel means at least a few more minutes to yourself each day, so consider not only online courses from your local institution of higher learning, but also schools that offer degrees entirely online.
  3. Prioritize.  If you don’t decide at the beginning which of your pursuits is going to take priority over the others, you’ll quickly find yourself stretched in so many directions it will have your head spinning.  Of course, different things might take priority at different times.  By planning a schedule that appropriates your time accordingly, you can ensure that you get to school, finish your work, study, and take care of the needs of your children.
  4. Make the most of your time.  When you’re stressed to the max, it can be tempting to throw your hands in the air and waste an afternoon zoning out in front of the boob tube.  But you’re going to feel even more pressure when you come back to reality and realize how much you could have gotten done in that time.  Instead, you should schedule in breaks for yourself throughout the day to grab a bite, take a nap, or watch a favorite program.  Knowing that you have frequent opportunities to relax will make it easier to stay focused on whatever you happen to be doing.
  5. Watch your health.  You won’t do anyone any good if you are ill, fatigued, or depressed; and all of these things can occur if you neglect your diet, fitness, and sleep schedule.  So even though it might be hard, make sure you are eating healthy, getting exercise (running around with your kids might do the trick, but putting them in the stroller and going for a short jog is even better), and working in 6-8 hours of sleep.  This will ensure that you have the energy to keep up with your very demanding routine.

Jennifer Kardish writes for Go College where you can find helpful information on Chase student loans and college scholarship sources.

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