Tips and tricks for moms to survive and thrive in nursing school
Going to college as a mom poses a lot of challenges, and they become even greater when you decide to go to nursing school. But, that shouldn’t stop you from attending a nursing program, if that’s really what you want to do. Because it’s possible to survive and even thrive in nursing school with kids.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that nursing school is easy or there won’t be days when you feel like quitting because you feel overwhelmed or exhausted. What I am saying is that, in spite of all the challenges and stress, you can still get through nursing school and even enjoy it.
So, if you are thinking of going to nursing school as a mom, I don’t want you to feel discouraged or anxious about it. Lots of moms have done it and there’s no reason why you can’t do it if you really put your mind to it.
With that said, here are some tips and tricks for balancing nursing school and family.
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1. NURSING SCHOOL AND BEING A MOM IS ALL ABOUT PRIORITIZING
One of the reasons some moms burn out in nursing school or college is because they try to do everything. You can’t give everything your full attention without flaming out when you are in nursing school.
So, to avoid burning out or worse failing out of nursing school, you must learn to prioritize your tasks and activities. The easiest way to do this is to keep an eye on your goals. If your goal is to graduate as a nurse, then you have to prioritize the things that will help you to achieve that.
For example, having a clean and organized home may not be a priority for you whereas meal prepping or eating healthy might be more important to you. This is just one example, but the point I am making is that you have to pick one or two things that are really important to you and let everything else slide in the meantime.
When I was in nursing school, it was important to me that my home was clean and reasonably organized. I am one of those people who really can’t thrive when things are disorganized. Making home-cooked meals or spending hours cooking wasn’t a priority for me.
I knew I didn’t have the time to do everything or to be a perfect mom, so I focused on what was important which was graduating from nursing school. As long as my kids were clean and fed, that was enough for me.
So, you need to ask yourself what is important to you, then prioritize that. Trust me, one day, you will complete nursing school and you will have more time for all the other stuff you ignored.
2. BALANCING NURSING SCHOOL AND FAMILY REQUIRES MAKING SOME SACRIFICES
Along the same lines as above, balancing nursing school and family requires some sacrifice on your part. Going to nursing school with kids requires you to accept that you are going to need to make some changes, and some of them are going to be uncomfortable.
Think about it. There’s nothing really worth having that doesn’t come with some degree of pain or discomfort. Now, I am not asking you to turn yourself into a sacrificial lamb or anything like that, but you must learn to accept the uncomfortable parts of being a mom in nursing school.
As a mom in nursing school, you are going to have to learn to say no to a lot of things so you can focus on graduating from college. For example, you may not be able to stay up late watching your favorite shows on tv or hanging out with your friends or even family as much as you’d like.
Sometimes, you may need to give up some of your sleep time or study time to spend time with your family especially if you have been ignoring them. As long as you know what to expect, and you know your life is going to be different, you should have no problem going through nursing school as a mom.
3. GET SUPPORT
Family support during nursing school can make a really big difference in your life. If you have a supportive spouse or family members you can rely on (especially for things like babysitting), that will take a big load off your mind.
Some moms in nursing school struggle more than others due to a lack of support. Some have husbands who work long hours and no family members close by to lend a hand. This puts a lot of pressure on them and can make focusing on their academics pretty hard.
So, if you can get some family support (or any other support) while in nursing school, please take advantage of it since it will make nursing school less stressful for you.
Apart from your family, try to have a community of friends or even classmates that will support and encourage you to keep working towards your dream.
A kind word or a word of encouragement can be very inspiring especially when you are feeling down. So, don’t isolate yourself from people. Reach out, build a support network, and also try to be supportive to others too.
4. SCHEDULE BREAKS
It doesn’t matter how much of a supermom you are, everyone needs to take breaks every now and then. Whether you are in nursing school with a baby, nursing school with a toddler, or with older kids, you still need some time to rest and rejuvenate.
It’s so easy to get burned out when you are a mom in nursing school. Instead of waiting until you are completely worn out, a better alternative is to be intentional about scheduling breaks. Yes, even if you have to schedule breaks in your calendar or planner, then that’s what you should do.
I was lucky to have summers off when I attended nursing school. While I still had to take care of my kids and had other things to worry about, I was able to get some rest and didn’t feel quite so stressed during the summer.
I know some of you may not be able to get the whole summer off because you have to work or do some other stuff, but you have to figure out a way to take breaks. Whether is a day off every month or a couple of hours every week, you need time for yourself or you will experience burnout.
5. BE PREPARED TO WORK HARD AS A MOM IN NURSING SCHOOL
If you are going to nursing school as a mom, you should be prepared to work hard, maybe even harder than you’ve ever worked. I usually don’t shy away from hard things and I like to think I can do most things, but nursing school really tested me.
Trying to figure out how to survive nursing school with a family was one of the most challenging things I ever did. On one hand, I knew I had to prioritize school because it was a path to a better life, but, at the same time, I had two very young children who needed me. The only thing I could do was buckle down and accept my reality.
I worked really hard for three years to achieve my goal. I stayed up late when I needed to. Gave up some of my sleep time to prepare for clinicals and tests. It was hard, but it was very rewarding.
What helped me was acknowledging that this was hard work and that the only way to get through it was to roll with it. So, that’s what you will need to do. Accept that nursing school as a mom is going to test you, then prepare yourself for the test.
There’s no way around the hard work.
6. FIND WAYS TO STAY MOTIVATED
Going to nursing school with kids takes more than desire and determination (though having both sure does help). Becoming a mom in nursing school maybe after years of being a stay-at-home mom or a working mom requires a shift in your mindset.
While some moms find this transition easy, many others struggle to make the shift or struggle with the change of pace. This is why it’s so important for you to find ways to stay motivated.
I have seen people give up because they just couldn’t cope with all the things. Some people don’t like living with stress or don’t like to be overwhelmed for long periods of time, so quitting is the way out when things get too tough.
If you are really serious about becoming a nurse, you will have to stay motivated while in college. Find some inspiration from somewhere or something.
Keep your thoughts positive. Remind yourself of the reason you decided to go to nursing school. Think of the reward or what your life would look like once you’re done with the program. Just find anything that works for you.
Staying motivated while in school is really important if you want to achieve your goal of becoming a nurse, so don’t take your eyes off the prize.
7. DEVELOP GOOD HABITS
Mamas, trust me when I say your life will be much easier if you develop some good habits while in college. Good habits can be the difference between success and failure in nursing school, so cultivating good habits should be a priority for you.
So, what are some good habits you should develop if you want to survive and thrive in nursing school? The list below is some of the most important ones.
- Learn to do the work even when you are not in the mood. Don’t wait for the perfect time or when you feel motivated. If there’s something that needs to be done, get it over with and move on to the next thing.
- Don’t compare yourself with others. Yes, you need this habit. You are going to hear some of your classmates or other moms talk about how well they are doing or their achievements. Block it all out. You are in this race to compete only with yourself and no one else.
- Develop good study habits. You will have to learn to work smarter when you are in nursing school as a mom. Learn to study even when it’s not convenient. Study often. Don’t wait until the last minute. If you can, have a study desk or space, if you can’t, still study!
- Eat healthy more often than not. Drink lots of water. Carry a water bottle like this one everywhere you go. Exercise as often as you can and watch out for your health.
- Watch your spending. Don’t go on a borrowing spree. Remember you will have to pay back whatever you borrow, so only borrow what you need.
- Learn how to take good notes in class and while you study. Develop your own method and stick to it. You don’t have to do what everyone else does. You will need index cards, highlighters, pens, sticky notes, notebooks, etc.
While there are lots of other habits you could possibly develop, the ones above are going to be some of the most beneficial habits for a mom who wants to know how to survive nursing school with a family.
8. LEARN TIME-SAVING TIPS AND TRICKS
As a mom in nursing school, you are going to wear multiple hats, and with this reality, you can’t afford poor time management. To really survive and thrive in nursing school, you will have to keep an eye on your time and how you use it.
Unless you enjoy feeling rushed all the time, you must find ways to save time and also maximize the time you have. Here’s a list of some time-saving tips and tricks for moms going to nursing school with kids.
- Don’t procrastinate. This one is simple enough.
- Use time-saving tools and gadgets to make your life easier.
- Create a routine that works for you and your family. Create a schedule if you think you need one.
- Get and stay organized. Organize your home and keep it organized as much as you can.
- Learn to say no, especially to things that consume much of your time or things that add no value to your life.
- Meal prep. Embrace simple meals. Use leftovers to make quick meals.
- Pack your stuff or arrange your stuff the night before.
- Keep things in a designated spot so you don’t waste time looking for stuff.
- Declutter your home. Less stuff, more time.
- Multi-task when possible. For example, do laundry while meal prepping or helping your kids with homework.
There are lots of ways to save time, but this list should be enough to get you started.
Want to cut down on the amount of time you spend figuring out dinner or meals? This weekly meal planner can help.
Final thoughts on 8 simple tips to survive nursing school as a mom
Going back to school for nursing is such a great idea for moms, you just have to find a way to do it without losing your sanity!
I have given you eight simple tips in this post and I know if you actually apply them to your life, going to nursing school shouldn’t be too overwhelming. So, learn some time-saving tricks, prioritize your tasks, find ways to stay motivated, and develop good habits that lead to success.
Are you a mom who wants to go to nursing school? Do you have concerns about how to survive nursing school with a family?
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