How to Thrive and Enjoy Being a Mom in School

Things you can do to thrive as a mom going to school

As a mom, going back to school is such a great thing to do, but the truth is, it can be very challenging. Knowing how to make school fun is a good way to make the experience less overwhelming and stressful.

I went to school as a single mom of two kids and I can tell you it was one of the hardest things I ever did. But, I am so happy that I made the decision to attend college because it changed our lives and made me a better person and mom.

So if you are a mom going back to school or thinking of attending college, here are some things you can do to thrive and enjoy being a student mom.



I decided to start with this one because I know it’s something a lot of college moms struggle with. So many moms feel guilty for leaving their young kids at home or with a babysitter while they attend college. So many moms struggle with guilt when they have to ignore their kids to study or work on a project.

Guilt is such a powerful emotion that can rob you of your peace and joy, if you allow it.

When I made the decision to attend college, I had a strong reason and I kept reminding myself of that reason whenever guilt reared its ugly head. I am pretty sure you have a good reason for going back to school, so you need to focus on that reason whenever you feel guilty.

Remind yourself that going to school need not be detrimental to your kids or family life. Lots of moms have juggled college and family life successfully, so there’s no reason why you can’t do the same.

Guilt not only holds you back from doing your best in college, but it also prevents you from fully enjoying the experience of being a student and a mom as you feel one is opposed to the other.

So take it from someone who has been there. Guilt will hold you back and make going to school harder than it should be. Instead, drop the guilt, find ways to balance your life and education, and enjoy the experience.


I am a bit of an overachiever, but over the years, I have learned that it’s okay if things aren’t perfect. There are times when “done” is good enough. Having realistic expectations is a good way to reduce stress especially if you feel you’re under a lot of pressure.

Some moms put too much pressure on themselves, and they get frustrated when things don’t pan out the way they want. While you should have high goals, you should also be realistic and accept that you may not achieve all your goals. For example, you may not be able to keep your home as clean as you’d like. Meal prepping and eating healthy may not be done as often as you’d want. And the same goes for all the other areas of your life.

Trying to do things or live the way you did before you went back to school is just asking for trouble. College for moms can be a frustrating experience unless you’re willing to adjust your expectations and become more realistic and flexible.

So if you are struggling as a mom in school, take a step back and assess if you’re putting too much pressure on yourself and what changes you need to make.


There’s no way I could have completed my degree if I wasn’t flexible. Flexibility is key when you are a student parent. So what does being flexible mean?

It means a willingness to compromise and change direction when necessary. As a student mom, you’re constantly juggling two roles, so you have to be willing to adjust and make changes week to week or even daily.

What worked last month may not work this month. There are times when you need to devote a lot of time to your school work and other times your family life may require more attention. The ability to cope and adapt to changing circumstances is one of the keys to success as a mom going back to school while raising a family.

So each week, examine both your personal life and academic life and figure out what specific actions you need to take to help you enjoy and fulfill both roles.

It’s possible to juggle both roles and still enjoy them, so don’t think you have to settle for a life of constant conflict or stress.


Time management for moms in college is an ever-present struggle. If you’re going to enjoy life as a mom and a college student, you must learn to manage your time effectively. There are no ifs or buts with this one.

Time is the most important tool in your arsenal. Unfortunately, it’s usually in short supply, so knowing how to maximize your time is the only way you can get things done without losing your mind.

Using your time effectively includes making decisions on how to spend your time, what you should delegate to others, and what things you can ignore or postpone.

Depending on your course of study, you may need to make some decisions like:

  • How often you should eat out or order takeaway
  • Using a babysitter even when you are at home to free up some study or work time
  • Hiring a cleaner or cleaning service for your home
  • Signing up with a grocery delivery service

And any other decision that would make life more pleasant and/or manageable.

Remember that your time in school is temporary and won’t last forever, so try to do the best with the time you have and be more intentional with how you spend your time.


While this might sound counter-productive, combining my academic life with other aspects of my life really worked for me.

Here’s what I mean.

Instead of thinking of college as something separate from my personal life, I chose to see it as another aspect that should be integrated. While my kids were pretty young when I went back to school, they knew mommy was in college and there were times when I had to study or work while they played.

I told them stories from college, informed them when I had a test or exam coming up, and I always told them when I aced a test so they could share in my joy. And you know what happened? My kids got used to seeing me read a book while they played or watched TV. Consequently, this cut down on the number of tantrums they had because I couldn’t play with them all the time.

Now, let me say that this needs to be done with some common sense. There are times when your kids or family will demand your undivided attention and you have to give it. This is why good time management is so essential.

So look for ways to integrate your academic life with your family life and don’t think they need to be kept separate at all times.


You can easily become run-down or burned out when you are a mom in college. Working full time, going to school, and being a mom is one of the toughest things you could possibly do, that’s why taking care of yourself is very crucial.

Self-care need not be expensive or elaborate. As a single mom in college, my finances were pretty limited. I couldn’t afford to go to the spa or splurge on some of the things I liked so I focused on simple things that allowed me to unwind and brought me some pleasure.

For example, I liked chocolate milk, so a few times a week, I bought a small bottle from the cafe before I attended my classes. This is one example of something inexpensive I did, that brought me some comfort.

Here are some other ideas for self-care especially if you’re a college mom with limited finances.

  • Read non-academic books. I love reading novels especially crime and legal fiction. Some of my favorite authors include James Patterson, David Baldacci, Jeffrey Archer, and John Grisham.
  • Get a hobby. It can be anything from knitting, learning a new language, or playing an instrument. Just something that helps you relax. Here’s a list of Life-Giving Hobbies for Moms.
  • Get enough sleep whenever you can.
  • Eat well and get some exercise.
  • Use a gratitude journal for self-care.
  • Take care of your emotional, mental, and spiritual health.
  • Invest in a few pretty things you use every day. Like a backpack, pens, planner, notebooks, keyholder, etc.

As you can see, these self-care ideas are easy to implement and won’t break the bank. It doesn’t matter how you choose to care for yourself, what’s important is that you prioritize your wellbeing.

How you take care of yourself will not only affect your body but also your mood, so don’t ignore this very important aspect of your life.


As a student and mother, I can say that life was harder than I ever imagined. There were days when I wondered aloud what I had gotten myself into. But, when I completed my degree after three years, it was one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences of my life.

Suddenly, every tear, the late nights, the stress, the fear, and everything else I went through was worth it. Looking back, I realized one of the things that made the difference was celebrating the little wins. Because let’s be real. It’s easy to focus on how hard life is and all the things that aren’t perfect while ignoring all the little things that are going well.

So focus on the everyday things that make life easier and keeps your home and life running smoothly. For example, did you make it to school on time? Celebrate that! Did you complete an assignment by the due date? Were you able to study for more than an hour at a time? That’s a big win and something to celebrate.

Be thankful for each day that you and your family made it through with no mishap.

Learning to celebrate small wins will make a big difference in your life and experience as a college mom. So think about the small things that make life less stressful and all the small victories you had throughout the day or week. Let those wins be your inspiration to keep trudging on.


If you have a supportive spouse, partner, or family members, I hope you recognize how lucky you are. With that said, I hope you are utilizing this very important resource.

Having a support network can be the difference between success and failure, so don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. Always seek help and guidance from people who care about you, especially if they offer to help.

There’s nothing that says you have to go it alone. Trying to be perfect or to be supermom is just going to make things harder for you. You definitely don’t need any more pressure.

Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a sign that you recognize your limitations and you’re willing to be vulnerable.

Now, think about it. Are you using all the help that you can get? Is something stopping you from asking for help? Reflect on this and make a decision to be more open about your needs. Let the people around you know how they can help you so you’re not overwhelmed.

Final thoughts on how to thrive and enjoy being a mom in school

There you have it. These are seven things you can do to thrive and enjoy being a mom in college. These are some of the things I did as a student parent and they really made a difference in my life.

Celebrating small wins, being flexible, and having good time management were lifesavers for me and I hope these tips can be helpful to you too.

If you are a mom in school, what do you do to make the experience more enjoyable and less stressful? Feel free to leave your questions or suggestions below in the comment section.

Related mom and student articles

Time Management for Moms in College: How to Balance it All

How to Deal With Mom Guilt While Studying

How to Thrive and Enjoy Being a Mom in School

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