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  1. #1
    almost nekkid scantilyclad's Avatar
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    Default How do i balance work, school and my child?

    I'm going to be starting college this fall, thanks to some financial aid, and i'm very excited. I'm proud to finally be doing something with my life; however i am having a lot of trouble trying to figure out how to work and go to school, without putting my child in day care. Day care is far too expensive for me to afford, even with my job. Day care costs 7 dollars an hour on average, so that would basically mean that i would be earning only about 1.50 an hour, if daycare is factored in.

    I figure there are a few things i can do, but i can't seem to make a practical decision.
    I can:

    1. Quit my job, so that i would have more flexibility to go to school. The con to this is obviously the fact that i won't have any spending money, or money to help pay bills when money is sparse.

    2. Try to get my employer to give me even more flexible hours. I feel like i am already asking too much of them, so i'm not sure if i am comfortable asking them to make my schedule even more flexible, so that i can attend school.

    3. Move somewhere with family close by, so that i can have child care from someone i know well, who will charge me little if any money. This is not very practical because most of my family lives in Arkansas, or small Texas towns where i would have to drive 50 miles to go to school, thus draining my funds for gas.

    4. Put off school until it is more convenient. I've already been doing this for a few years, so i guess it wouldn't hurt to do it for a few more.


    I'm not really sure what to do. It would really help a lot if my school offered a daycare program or online classes, but they don't, so i am asking for advice from people who might be experienced in this area of expertise.

    Thank you guys.
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  2. #2
    `~~Philosoflying~~` SillySapienne's Avatar
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    Can your boyfriend pick up a second job or take-on more hrs?

    How about taking night classes, or going part-time?
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  3. #3
    almost nekkid scantilyclad's Avatar
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    my boyfriend already works 14 hours a day 6 days a week, so i don't want to ask anymore of him.

    I work at night, so that my boyfriend can watch the baby while i work, so i don't know how i would also go to school at night, but my job is half time. I suppose i could just ask that my job not schedule me on the days that i have to go to school, but i'm afraid they will just get rid of me, because they have people that can work more flexible hours that could use a job.
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  4. #4
    `~~Philosoflying~~` SillySapienne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scantilyclad View Post
    I work at night, so that my boyfriend can watch the baby while i work, so i don't know how i would also go to school at night, but my job is half time. I suppose i could just ask that my job not schedule me on the days that i have to go to school, but i'm afraid they will just get rid of me, because they have people that can work more flexible hours that could use a job.
    Hmm, your employer should be understanding, and you should be less afraid to make such a reasonable demand!

    I don't know how you do it girl, perhaps you should wait for someone who actually knows what they're talking about regarding this topic, i.e. not me, to help you.

    Have you researched any scholarships and, or programs that are geared towards helping students with children, i.e. mothers get a fair college education?

    Just a suggestion/idea, I dunno.
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  5. #5
    almost nekkid scantilyclad's Avatar
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    oh i really appreciate you offering your advice and knowledge.

    researching some sort of a scholarship might be a good idea. I'll try to research something like that right now.
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  6. #6

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  7. #7
    almost nekkid scantilyclad's Avatar
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    Thank you for posting these links ygolo. I have not found these yet and they seem like they will be quite helpful.

    No women in my family have ever attended college, i guess they could not figure out how to balance everything, since they too had children when they were quite young, so i can't seem to get any guidance from them.
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  8. #8
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    This is somewhat of a compromise, but have you thought about taking weekend classes or internet classes? The junior college I've been taking classes at is large and well-funded enough to have classes 6 days a week, evenings, as well as online and self-taught where you use the computer and a/v labs.

    If all else seems un-doable, you might pick up a class here and there until a time you can take on more or go full-time. I know there have been at least a few older women in my classes who said they've taken classes on and off for years and went full-time when their children were older. Or just fit classes in whenever -- it took them longer to get their diploma but they were able to do it.

    I know people who have gotten online master's degrees while working full-time and living with so's -- no children though. It's definitely tough because it's self-motivated. I have a friend who worked and took classes online for 1-2 years and then used those credits to go to nursing school full time. I know of someone else who got their JD online and then started working for a senator. Not bad for an online degree!

    I know -- I'm not trying to say you have to put it off more or pursue and alternative to traditional school.

    I think you can start now, especially since you have the scholarship set.

    Have you thought about working at your school (not work study) or at a job that provides day care? I'm not sure how realistic this is, but a lot of gyms offer babysitting that's free or low cost for a few hours. Maybe you could work at one and get free babysitting? Or when your child is older you can put them in a free afterschool program?

    Also, what are your goals for going to college? Do you have a specific job goal or do you want to explore academics and do everything college offers? If it's more a specific job track or a desire to get a better paying career, there are intensive programs 6-24 months to get specialized training/degrees. The bonus with some of these programs is they will help you get paid internships/on the job training while you're at school. Even if not a specific program, some colleges offer specialized certificates that you can get in an intensive quarter or two.

    If it's possible at all to tough it out for a quarter or two, you may be able to jump into a full or overloaded courseload to get enough training/credit to get a better paying job and then save up with the extra income.

    Also, remembering Cafe's job thread, maybe you can find another job that would help with your school goals more? I know Starbucks, The Container Store, and Ikea are supposedly very accomodating to working moms and students. Also, government jobs even at the city or county level can give you a lot of benefits that will help you go to school and help with childcare.

    Finally, I would guess that a counselor would also be able to point you in the right direction and maybe tell you about school resources that can help you.

    My only other suggestion is maybe you can find other working moms at school and start a collective to help each other out? Maybe you can take turns baybsitting each others' kids?

    Also, it may be impractical for you and your bf, but I know of a couple who switched off. The dad worked the graveyard shift and watched the kids during the day and then when the mom came home she looked after the kids. At first he was working a full time day job on top of the graveyard but she was able to pick up enough work as a part-time accountant that he quit the day job. She wasn't in school, but she was trying to start her own business and until that took off and she got control over her work hours, switching off worked.

    I'm just totally brainstorming now.

    Congrats on school and the scholarship though, that's very exciting!
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  9. #9
    almost nekkid scantilyclad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CzeCze View Post
    This is somewhat of a compromise, but have you thought about taking weekend classes or internet classes? The junior college I've been taking classes at is large and well-funded enough to have classes 6 days a week, evenings, as well as online and self-taught where you use the computer and a/v labs.
    taking weekend classes wouldn't really change the situation. I work at night on the weekends, and my boyfriend works during the day on the weekends. Unfortunately my school of choice does not yet offer online classes. I guess i could hurry and try to apply to a different school that would better fit my needs. I think i would do well doing self taught things, since i prefer to figure things out myself anyway.



    If all else seems un-doable, you might pick up a class here and there until a time you can take on more or go full-time. I know there have been at least a few older women in my classes who said they've taken classes on and off for years and went full-time when their children were older. Or just fit classes in whenever -- it took them longer to get their diploma but they were able to do it.
    I think if i were to do this i would easily give up. I would really rather it take me 4 to 5 years to finish school than 8 or 9 or 10, i just don't really have that in me i don't think. I would like to have a good career by the time my son is in at least 1st grade.


    Have you thought about working at your school (not work study) or at a job that provides day care? I'm not sure how realistic this is, but a lot of gyms offer babysitting that's free or low cost for a few hours. Maybe you could work at one and get free babysitting? Or when your child is older you can put them in a free afterschool program?
    I have thought about trying to get a job at my school, but they haven't recently had any job openings, and the job openings that i have applied for, i wasn't considered for the position due to lack of experience. If i could figure out a good plan for day care, then all of this would be much easier. I think i am ultimately just going to have to ask my job for more flexibility.

    Also, what are your goals for going to college? Do you have a specific job goal or do you want to explore academics and do everything college offers? If it's more a specific job track or a desire to get a better paying career, there are intensive programs 6-24 months to get specialized training/degrees. The bonus with some of these programs is they will help you get paid internships/on the job training while you're at school. Even if not a specific program, some colleges offer specialized certificates that you can get in an intensive quarter or two.
    I think i really want to explore academics. I'm not quite sure what i want to do yet. I have several things in mind, but i like to keep my options open. I'm scared of majoring in something that i will end up hating, so i keep putting off deciding my major. I did think about doing the nursing thing, since nurses are in high demand, but i'm not sure if i could actually do that. I like to help people, but i don't think i could do some of the things that nurses have to do.


    Also, remembering Cafe's job thread, maybe you can find another job that would help with your school goals more? I know Starbucks, The Container Store, and Ikea are supposedly very accommodating to working moms and students. Also, government jobs even at the city or county level can give you a lot of benefits that will help you go to school and help with childcare.
    I actually work at wal-mart, and they are actually pretty accommodating already, i'm just really afraid that i am asking too much of them. My schedule is already much different than my co-workers who can work more flexible hours. I think i could probably get them to accommodate me, i would just probably have to accept even fewer hours than i already get! Ultimately, i'm going to have to sacrifice something.

    Finally, I would guess that a counselor would also be able to point you in the right direction and maybe tell you about school resources that can help you.

    My only other suggestion is maybe you can find other working moms at school and start a collective to help each other out? Maybe you can take turns baybsitting each others' kids?

    Also, it may be impractical for you and your bf, but I know of a couple who switched off. The dad worked the graveyard shift and watched the kids during the day and then when the mom came home she looked after the kids. At first he was working a full time day job on top of the graveyard but she was able to pick up enough work as a part-time accountant that he quit the day job. She wasn't in school, but she was trying to start her own business and until that took off and she got control over her work hours, switching off worked.

    I'm just totally brainstorming now.

    Congrats on school and the scholarship though, that's very exciting!
    your brain storming has been very helpful, and has allowed me to brainstorm even further. You have lots of good ideas. I didn't even think about talking to a counselor.
    I'm sure one might at least be able to point me in the right direction. I guess this decision really isn't too intricate, i just don't want to sacrifice anything, but i suppose i'm going to have to.

    thank you all for your input.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    You might be eligible for assistance with your childcare expenses. This link might have some helpful info.

    When we lived in married student housing, I watched another couple's infant while the mom went to class and I think I only charged her a couple dollars an hour because they were poor students like us. You might find another mom who would watch your little guy for a few bucks an hour if you ask around. Keep a listen out other young moms or dads at school to ask.
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