Tips to Make Life Easier as a Single Mom Working Full Time and Going to School

Survival tips for the single mom who has to work full time and go to school

Lots of single moms are working full time and going to school. This is why one of the biggest challenges a single mom will face in college is time management.

Going to school while working full time creates a lot of pressure for moms. Single moms in this situation are struggling to survive and get everything done. These moms hardly have time to breathe, and some can’t even afford to take a break without everything falling apart.

So, how can a single mom make life easier while working full time and going to school? Is it even worth trying? My answer is yes, it’s worth trying, and it’s possible to survive working full time and studying.

If you want to know how to work and go to school as a single mom, stick around, and I will try to show you some ways to make your life easier. But first, let me answer two important questions single moms ask.


While lots of single moms go to school and work (mostly because they don’t have a choice), I can tell you that it is definitely not an easy thing to do. However, it’s possible to go to school and work as a single mom if you know what you are doing and you have a good plan to make it work.


Going to college as a single mom is not an easy thing to do especially if you don’t have some support. However, you can still go back to college as long as you have a plan and you are determined to work that plan. There are two ways single moms go back to college. Some stop working and go to college full time while others continue to work for financial reasons. The route you choose will depend on your current financial circumstances, so be realistic about which option is best or possible for you.

Related: 10 Most Important Skills Every Single Mom in College Should Have



One of the easiest ways for a single mom to work and go to school is to plan your academics around your work and family commitments rather than the other way around. While this is easier said than done, it’s the best way to survive and remain sane.

If your work is what pays your bills and probably your college expenses, then you will have to prioritize it. I know this may not work for every mom since a lot depends on your program of study. Some courses are more flexible and easier to work around, while others like nursing have a fixed schedule, and you can’t do much about it.

So, if you are a single mom who’s thinking of going back to school while working full time, make sure you consider what your schedule will look like for a particular course before you start the program.

For single moms already in school, the smartest thing to do is to plan your school around your work and family. What that means is going to be different for everyone. For some of you, it means attending school part-time or on weekends. For others, you may have to take mostly online classes.

Whatever you can do to make your life easier is the best decision for you, so go for it.


Depending on the type of work you do, you may be able to change your work schedule so it’s more compatible with your parenting and academic responsibilities.

I know many single moms probably won’t have this option, but if you are in a position to change the way you work, please make the best use of this opportunity. A flexible work schedule is a great way to balance school, work, and family responsibilities.

Here is what I mean.

Can you work from home instead of going into the office? Working from home can save you childcare costs, and also allow you to spend more time with your family. Perhaps, you can work only a few days a week or work on weekends?

Some jobs like nursing can be pretty flexible because you can choose to work per diem (as needed), and still be able to earn a full-time salary.

I worked from home after I gave birth to my first child because I didn’t want to be away from him. I was lucky to have a boss who understood my reasons and was willing to work with me. The only thing he asked was that the quality of my work shouldn’t suffer.

If you are in a position to negotiate your work schedule, I think it’s great and you should go for it. A flexible work schedule will definitely make your life easier to manage.


As a single mom working full time and going to school, you may have a hard time taking a full course load each semester. Instead of struggling with everything, you should consider taking a lighter courseload.

The downside of this is that it’s going to take you longer to complete college and that’s a bummer! However, if that’s the only way you can juggle work, school, and parenting successfully, then that’s the best thing for you to do.

The fall semester right after I gave birth to my daughter, I reduced my course load from 12 credits to 8 credits, and I still managed to complete college on schedule (mostly because I tested out of quite a few college classes).

If you feel overwhelmed or you are having a hard time balancing all your responsibilities, lightening your course load is a great option for a single mom working and studying.

So, take a look at your current schedule, have you signed on for too many classes at once? How many classes can you manage without feeling completely overwhelmed? Are there other options or ways to make your classes less tedious? For example, one semester, I decided to attend a class online, but attend on-campus labs. This worked out for a while, but I later went back to taking the class on-campus.

There are lots of options you can explore to make college work for you. You have to be willing to talk with your teachers/professors and people who can help you. Most colleges want you to succeed and they will usually work with you to help you achieve your goal.


While this may not work for everyone, it can certainly work if your kids are old enough to do chores and you have a few people in your life you can ask for help.

Single moms are so used to doing everything themselves that it becomes hard to let go or ask for help. However, one thing you can do to free up some time as a single mom working full time and going to school is, learn to share the load with others.

My kids were babies when I went back to college but my oldest could still do some stuff like picking up his toys after playing, helping to put the shopping away, and little errands around the house. It’s okay to assign age-appropriate chores to your kids.

If your kids are older, you can give them more chores to do because that also teaches them to be responsible. So, get out of the mindset that you have to do everything yourself.

Teach your kids how to clean up after themselves, how to clear the table after a meal, put dishes in the dishwasher, load the washing machine, or put away the laundry. Older kids can learn to cook and prepare simple meals for themselves.

When you involve your kids in household management, they will become better at taking care of themselves and become more responsible. Also, allowing your kids to help out in the home will take some of the pressure off you and give you a bit of breathing room.

Here is a very good article on assigning chores to kids. This is very good for beginners.

How to Get Kids Started on Chores – and Keep Kids Motivated


Simplifying your life is a great way to manage your life as a working mom and student. A simplified life means you will have more free time to spend on the important stuff without burning out.

I wrote a whole post on how to simplify your life as a working mom in college. I really think you should read it because it contains lots of useful information. Go check it out!


I know some moms aren’t comfortable with the idea of paying for help, but when you are a single mom working full time and going to school, you need all the help you can get.

If you are in a position to hire some help, then look around and come up with some tasks you’d like to outsource. Does cleaning your home take up too much of your time? Maybe you can get a cleaning lady to come over weekly or twice a month?

Do you need help with the laundry, grocery shopping, or running some other errands? Those are tasks you can certainly hire out!

I know money is a big issue for lots of single moms, but if you can spare a few dollars and you can do with some help, please get the help that you need. You can always stop paying for these services if your circumstances change.

I wish I could have gotten some paid help when I was in college. It would have saved me a lot of time, energy, and stress. There were times when I was so tired after a long day at school, but I still had to go to Giant or Walmart to get some food because the refrigerator and cupboards were empty.

So, there’s nothing wrong with paying for help if you can afford it. It’s a smart choice, especially for those very busy times.


Want to know how to work, go to school, and be a mom? By making every minute count! That’s how you do it. A single mom in school can’t afford to waste any time. You have to be strict with your time and ensure you are always doing something productive with your time.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you never have downtime or that you never relax, it just means you become more intentional with the way you spend your time because of all the things you have to do. Good time management is non-negotiable for a single mom who has to work and go to school at the same time.

So how do you make every minute count? You do so by prioritizing your tasks, getting on a schedule and following it, having a routine that works for you and your family, and eliminating time wasters and distractions from your life.

So for example, instead of spending your work time chatting with your coworkers, then having to work later than you should, you focus on your work so you can clock out as soon as you are done. Instead of watching TV, you spend time studying or playing with your kids so you can go to bed early.

If you are asking “how can a single mom go to school and work ?” One of the answers is, take a look at how you spend your time. Are you using your time wisely or do you always feel rushed or pressed for time? If the latter, then you need to a better job of managing your time, so you can stay on track.


Though I am not an authority on parenting, I have had a lot of practice on ways to make things work under very stressful conditions. Things are hardly ever easy when you are a single mom in college, but you can make your life easier.

One of the first things I decided to do as a single mom in college was to teach my kids how to entertain themselves. Kids can learn how to play with themselves or their siblings if you teach them how to.

Now, I know some kids tend to be more clingy than others, while others are pretty independent from a young age, but it can be done with a little bit of creativity and patience.

For example, there were times when I was so tired and I knew I couldn’t stay up late to study or take an online test, so my only option was to do them while my kids were still awake. At times like these, I encouraged them to play quietly by themselves.

Well, this was hard at the beginning because they always found a way to circle back to me after a few minutes. But with time and a few threats, they cottoned on to the fact that mommy meant business, so they decided to play along. Now, this may not work for long periods of time (especially for younger kids), but for ten, twenty, and maybe thirty minutes, this is totally doable.

Check out this post on how to teach toddlers to play alone.

The key is to give them quiet toys to play with. A little bit of noise is okay. Talking about quiet toys, my daughter once had an Elmo toy that was so loud. You couldn’t adjust the volume, and it made so much noise. My daughter loved that toy, but it used to drive me crazy!

So, bottom line, teach your kids to learn to play alone/entertain themselves, and invest in some quiet toys like the ones below:


Yes, it doesn’t matter how busy or hectic your life is, you still need to eat well, exercise and get as much sleep as you can. Even if it means not cleaning your house or doing some other tasks, taking care of yourself is just as important as doing all the other stuff.

A single mom working full time and going to school is in more danger of burning out unless she incorporates some self-care into her routine. A sick or burned out mom isn’t going to get anything done, that’s why I am a big advocate of preventive care.

I used to tell my kids that I couldn’t afford to get sick, and I know many single moms feel exactly the same way. Well, guess what? The only way to stay healthy is to eat healthily, get some exercise (no matter how little), and get as much sleep as you can work into your schedule.

So, take it from me. Self-care can’t be postponed or ignored if you want to succeed as a mom and student.


As someone who had a time frame for completing college, I know how hard many moms tend to push themselves. But, you still have to give yourself some grace. Don’t be too hard on yourself if or when you fall short.

While I believe you should set goals, I don’t believe you should beat yourself up if you fail to accomplish some of your goals. Instead, look at where you missed the mark, then come up with a strategy to address the problem.

Don’t be angry at yourself because you got a “B” instead of the “A” you wanted in a particular class. Don’t let guilt overwhelm you because you can’t spend as much time as you’d like with your kids.

This is how I look at things. As long as you’re doing the best that you can, you have nothing to feel guilty about. You can tell when you’re putting in the effort and when you are not. If you are putting in the effort and still fall a bit short, that’s okay.

I can be pretty hard on myself, but that doesn’t serve any useful purpose. Usually, I am at my best when I am positive and happy, it’s probably the same for many of you.

Closing thoughts on tips to make life easier as a single mom working full time and going to school

As a single mom working and studying, life can be quite hectic. You have to put up with lots of challenges which makes life a bit stressful. While you can’t eliminate every single challenge, you can definitely take some steps to make life easier and more manageable.

I have given you ten tips in this post. If you follow them (or at least some of them), your life as a mom and student can improve. Going to school and working full time with a child isn’t a dream scenario, but it is very rewarding if you hang in there until the end.

What’s your biggest challenge as single mom working and studying?

How to work and go to school as a single mom

  • Plan your school around your work and family
  • Change your work schedule
  • Lighten your course load
  • Delegate and assign chores
  • Embrace simplicity
  • Hire help if you can afford it
  • Make every minute count
  • Teach your kids to entertain themselves
  • Eat, sleep, and exercise
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself

Related mom and student articles

10 Important Questions for Single Moms Going Back to School

How to Simplify Your Life While Studying, Working, and Being a Mom

8 Simple Ways to Juggle Being a Student and a Mom

Tips to Make Life Easier as a Single Mom Working Full Time and Going to School

single mom working full time and going to school

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