Going back to school can mean a better-paying job for you. Some MBAs make six-figures at their very first position. Just think how that extra money would benefit your family. Think of the things you could do, the vacations you could take, the small luxuries you could enjoy without having to worry about pinching pennies.
These benefits are all very real, but children â€” especially younger children â€” may not be able to understand something that will happen years in the future. They have a hard time waiting five minutes for something to happen. Their main thoughts are of now, and if attending an online business school makes you less accessible to your kids, they're likely to grumble and complain about it.
Does that set you up to be the worst parent of the year? Not at all! Just make sure to include your children in your life whenever possible. Here are some ideas.
Before you go back to school, sit down with your spouse and any children who are old enough to understand the concept of school and explain what you have decided to do and why you have decided to do it. Be sure to let your kids know you love them just as much as you ever have, even if you won't be able to spend all the time with them that you'd like.
Set Up a Schedule
Take a look at your schedule and decide in advance when you will study. Write these dates and times on a calendar, and let your children know that during those times you can't be disturbed.
If you have a study or a bedroom where you can work privately, close the door and put a sign on it: "STOP. Do not enter. Mom is studying. She will be done at noon."
Protect Your Schedule
Your children and even your spouse may try to test you to see if you are serious about maintaining your schedule. If a child interrupts you with a problem that isn't serious, stand by your boundary. "Billy, this is my study time. I'll talk to you about this when I'm done with school."
Of course, when you are done, be sure to get back to the child immediately so he knows he can trust you to be available when you say you will be.
What I Learned in School
Two or three nights a week, perhaps when you are sitting down to dinner, go around the table and ask all the school-aged children what they've learned so far during the week. Tell them what you've learned as well (be sure to put it in terms they can understand). You can also make it a point to share when anyone at the table has done well on a test or an assignment.
Try to set aside a weekly block of time to spend alone with each child. During that time, do what the child wants to do, even if it's watching their favorite Disney cartoon for time number 5,232.
If there are any financial restrictions, make them clear at the outset so the child isn't disappointed that you can't afford a trip to the amusement park or an expensive restaurant. Fun days aren't a time to lecture, or scold or complain â€” they are just about you and your child connecting over something enjoyable.
Going back to school to get your online business degree is a brave decision. Although it isn't always easy to be a parent and a student, you'll find the time you've devoted to each role is well worthwhile.