So, you’ve probably been thinking about it for a while. Contemplating going back to school and how you’ll do it with a kid/kids. Well, I have lots of experience with school, both pre-kids and post-kids, and have some tips on making the decision.
Bachelors or associates
Undergrad was by far the hardest degree for me to get because of the credit requirement. My brain does science and english classes really well. I do not do math, history, or any of the business finance classes like economics or accounting. In undergrad, you take degree-specific courses, but you also take a bunch of nonsense classes. Going back to school and doing undergrad with young kids, in my opinion, would be incredibly difficult. Quite honestly, I would wait until the kids are old enough to go to school every day if you are going back for your bachelor’s. To put it in perspective, a typical full-time caseload is 12-18 credit hours, and they consider an additional 2-3 hours per credit hour of out of class studying appropriate.
As far as an associate’s degree, I would consider the field you are going into to see if it’s worth it. Most facilities that require degreed employees only want bachelors or higher. Although bachelors does open more doors, there are certain instances where an associate’s degree is worth doing first. That being said, getting your associate’s degree does help with jobs. According to a study by Rasmussen college, having an associate’s degree increases the total jobs available from 4.7 million to 6.3 million.
I started grad school when my son was 2 months old and finished 2 months before my 2nd son was born (talk about timing). For me, grad school was so much easier than undergrad, even with an infant/toddler. I think, for me, it is because every class I took piqued my interest. In my opinion, grad school is absolutely feasible with a baby. I opted for 100% online, with the exception of a final 200-hour internship. There are tons of programs out there, so you just have to find the school/price/program you want.
Trade school is probably the hardest to do with kids because it will most likely require outside help for taking care of the kids. Most of the trade school programs are expedited, and although they “cut the fluff” on stupid unrelated classes, they still pile on the class load. Most of these programs also require a hands on or skills portion required to graduate. For me, this wasn’t an option because I have no help with my kids while my husband is at work. If you have lots of options to help with your kids, then I would consider this because most of the programs are shorter and are designed to get you working right away.
Don’t be afraid
School is a massive undertaking even without kids. Prepare yourself, regardless of the program that you choose, to devote an extreme amount of time and effort. I remember, when Micah was little and learning how to sleep, I would hold him while typing a paper with one hand. Also, before starting a program make sure that you fully understand the credit requirement and if it’s possible to take a break and return later on. The mental stamina of a mom is already tested on a day to day basis. It is not worth destroying your mental acuity. Be good to yourself and good luck!