Some things moms can do before starting college that will make the transition easier
Are you looking forward to starting college as a mom or does the thought of going back to college make you feel anxious?
Years ago, when I decided to go back to school, I remember feeling very excited but also a little bit anxious. I was concerned that I had made a bad decision, and I couldn’t pull it off. Thankfully, I was able to talk myself out of my fears, so I could focus on my plan for succeeding in college.
So, if you are a mom going back to college, it’s okay to feel a bit anxious. That’s totally normal. What’s not okay is for you to talk yourself out of chasing your college dream.
Returning to college as a mom is a big undertaking, and it’s really important for you to prepare yourself ahead of time. While you can’t anticipate or plan for everything, there are a few things you can do to make your transition from mom to mom and student a lot easier.
So, here are a few things you can do so you can hit the ground running when college begins.
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1. PREPARE YOURSELF MENTALLY
After you have been a mom for a few years (or a lot of years), you are probably hankering for something more like a better life and a better future. Now, you have decided that a college degree is the best way to get it, but, you have a lot of doubts, and you don’t feel as confident as you’d like.
Does this sound like you?
First, let me reassure you that nearly all moms feel like this when they decide to go back to college (especially moms who haven’t been near a school in a long time). Now, the question is, what do you do when you have this voice in your head asking you “what makes you think you can do this?”
I will tell you what to do.
You start by thinking of all the things you have accomplished in the past. Next, you focus on the reason why you decided to go back to college. That’s how you build confidence in yourself and prepare yourself mentally.
Another tip for preparing yourself mentally is to write down all your fears about starting college as a mom. Then, start addressing them one after the other. For example, are you concerned you won’t be able to keep up academically?
Write down why you think so, then research some solutions. For example, get a tutor to help you with a particular subject, look for online resources or read ahead before school starts. Whatever it is, I bet there’s a solution for it.
So, get rid of all the negative thoughts in your head. Fill your mind with positive thoughts. Adopt a can-do attitude, and believe in yourself.
Taking the time to prepare yourself mentally before starting college as a mom is one of the best things you can do for yourself, so go ahead and work on your mental game.
2. STREAMLINE YOUR ACTIVITIES
The period before you begin college is a good time to take a long hard look at your schedule and how you spend your time. Ask any mom in college what their biggest challenge is, and nine times out of ten, you’d hear “time management.”
If you have a very busy schedule, adding college on top of that is going to make your life very painful. The good news is that you have time to fix it. So, take a very long hard look at all the activities you and your kids/family are actively involved in, and start streamlining them.
And, by that, I mean, start getting rid of some of them.
I know you might be hesitant to get rid of some of your kids’ activities, but trust me, they will survive. They don’t need to be involved in every club or league. Taking part in too many activities will wear you out very fast, so take it from someone who knows.
You will need to devote a substantial part of your time to studying and schoolwork, so the fewer activities you and your family are involved in, the better for you. This is even more relevant if you are a single mom.
3. PREPARE YOUR KIDS FOR THE TRANSITION
When you are starting college as a mom, there’s a lot to process and a lot to figure out, which makes it quite easy to overlook some things. However, you shouldn’t overlook this very important aspect of preparing for college.
If you have been a stay at home mom throughout your children’s lives, returning to school and being absent from their lives at certain times might come as a shock to them. So, you want to prepare them for the changes ahead. Let them know what changes to expect (if they are old enough to understand).
Even if you are a working mom and your kids are used to being away from you during the day (or night), you still need to prep them because adding college to the mix would also require some changes.
How do you prepare your kids for the transition? Here are a few things you can do.
- Start by making a list of all the changes you anticipate making (for example, kids have to go to a childcare center when you go to school).
- Inform your kids of any changes that directly affect them, like cutting down on some of their activities.
- Start potty training or weaning your baby (if breastfeeding is going to be hard to keep up with).
- Explain to your kids that you won’t always be available (even if you are at home) because you have to study and do some schoolwork.
- Teach your kids how to do some chores or some things for themselves.
- Change their bedtimes.
What you need to do depends on your current circumstances, but it’s good to inform your kids ahead of time and give them enough time to adjust to the new way of life. Of course, if you are going to an online college, then you can ignore some of these things.
4. STARTING COLLEGE AS A MOM: MAKE A TO-DO LIST OF EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO DO
You know how you write a to-do list when you are going away on a vacation or planning a big event and you don’t want to forget anything? That’s exactly what I am talking about here.
Make a list of everything you’d like to do or things you need to do before college starts. Here is an example.
- Call the doctor to schedule appointments
- Go grocery shopping
- Meal prep
- Get a physical
- Cut down hours at work
- Find a flexible job
- Visit parents
- Binge-watch favorite movies
- Shop for clothes and college essentials
- Take kids to the park
- Go on a mini-vacation
- Deep clean the house
Whatever it is you think you should do before starting college, go ahead and write them down, so you can get them out of the way. Because once college starts, you won’t have as much free time as you are used to. So, the time before college begins is the best time to sort things out.
You can use a to-do list to write everything out, and remember to cross them out once they are completed.
5. CLEAN, DECLUTTER, AND ORGANIZE YOUR HOME
One of the best things you can do before starting college as a mom is to take the time to clean, declutter, and organize your home. Trust me, you will feel much better if you do this before school starts.
Lots of college moms will tell you that they struggle to stay on top of housework. You will hear them say things like “my house is a disaster or my house is a mess and it’s affecting my marriage.”
It’s not easy to stay on top of housework when you are a mom, work, and go to school. I don’t think there are moms who enjoy seeing their homes trashed, but these moms can’t find the time or energy to keep their homes tidy, so they let it go because at the end of the day, work and college have to take priority.
But, if you take the time to do some serious cleaning, decluttering, and organizing before you head back to school, it will take a while before your home becomes a total mess, as long as you still do some light cleaning around the home.
Here are a few things you can do to get your home in shape before going back to school.
- Go through your home and get rid of all the excess stuff. Get rid of excess clothes, books, papers, toys, things in the garage you are never going to use, things like that.
- Organize your closets, bookcases, kids’ toys, kitchen and bathroom cupboards, and other areas of your home.
- Have a place for everything and get into the habit of putting things back where they belong.
- Clean every area of your home. Vacuum, dust, mop the floor, clean the bathroom, and whatever else you need to do.
- Create a designated study space or workspace in an area of your home.
Trust me, cleaning and organizing your home before school starts will make your life a lot easier when life gets really busy.
Check out the post below on how to be an organized mom in college. You can refer to that post over and over again to help you keep your home reasonably tidy. Also, check out the post for some tips to help you stay on top of housework after you return to school.
Related: How to be an Organized Mom in College
Related: How to Stay on Top of Housework (For Busy College Moms)
6. PURCHASE ESSENTIAL COLLEGE SUPPLIES
Don’t wait until school starts before you go shopping. Get your shopping out of the way as soon as you have a date to go back to college.
When you shop early, you give yourself a chance to research and find the best deals, so you can save money. Waiting until the last minute to do your shopping can end up costing you more, so make sure you get your shopping in early.
Make a list of all your college essentials and start looking for the best and most affordable options. Consider renting textbooks if they are cheaper and make more sense.
Resist the temptation to splurge on unnecessary stuff. It’s easy to get carried away when you are starting college as a mom, so shop with a list, and try to stick to it.
Here are some college essentials you should consider buying.
- A laptop
- Binders, Folders
- Pens, Markers
- Planner, Large calendar, and To-do Lists
Next steps for moms starting college
Starting college as a mom is a pretty cool thing to do especially if you have been dreaming about it. However, going to college as a mom can be tough, that’s why it’s really important to prepare yourself ahead of time.
I have listed six simple things you can do to get a head start, so go ahead and implement them. Remember nothing works unless you take action.
I am rooting for you.
Are you starting college as a mom? Do you feel excited or scared?
Related mom and student articles
Time Management for Moms in College: How to Balance it All
How to Create an Effective Student Mom Schedule
How to Survive Your First Semester of College (As a Mom)
13 Quick and Easy Tips for Moms Going Back to College