Many single moms feel that they have to put their dreams on hold; they feel as if their kids come first, and that their dreams will have to wait. Sometimes, single motherhood is a juggling act of epic proportions. From paying the bills to changing dirty diapers to putting the food on the table, the show of love and devotion known as single parenting can sometimes seem to place many dreams, wishes and goals out of reach. Many single moms rightly feel that their first priority in life is to “be there” for their kids, and to shut out their own goals of career advancement and personal growth.
However, there is no need to wait until the last child is in school, or until the last teenager has moved out of the house, to awaken those old dreams and pursue goals that may have been left on the backburner. If an unmet goal involves going back to school to earn a degree, then it is important to know that single parents do not need to push it aside; this is a goal that is attainable.
One of the new changes that is taking place now in higher education is that college degrees can now be earned online. This may not seem like a big change; however, for single moms, especially those who stay home with very young children and do not have a support network of parents, grandparents and friends to help on a daily basis, it can provide a new avenue to getting that degree that did not exist in the past.
In an article on child-friendly colleges, U.S. News and World Reports online states: “No matter a mother’s route to earning a degree, students surveyed said degree completion symbolizes clearing a significant hurdle on the path toward a better life for their children and themselves.” Further, U.S. News reports: “Online education is a common avenue for student parents too busy to complete a full-time degree on a college campus.” The article goes on to say something that many in academia witness in “mom students” on a daily basis—the fact that “it often lends a newfound sense of independence that motivates student mothers.”
The popularity of online degrees for single parents is clear: they allow mom to study and learn from the comfort of home, where she can be available to care for the needs of her children. Instead of having to show up in classes held on campus, she can often tackle her learning and studying when the baby is asleep or when the kids are at school. This flexibility allows something that previously seemed impossible to suddenly become possible. Additionally, many single parents often face financial hardships. Since an online degree usually costs less (there is no need to pay for room and board, transportation costs, etc.), it is uniquely suited to moms who are already struggling to make ends meet on their own.
Most parents know that children are not predictable; unexpected things happen all the time. From injuries to behavior problems to high temperatures, the nature of motherhood often involves being flexible in timing of events and activities outside the home. Because of this, even a single mother with older children and a strong support network of help can still benefit from online classes, as they will always allow her the freedom to “be there” for her children when things don’t go as planned.
No one is going to lie to single moms looking to earn an Associate’s Degree or Bachelor’s Degree online—it is not easy. Whenever a parent takes on new goals and tries to better her life and the lives of her children, there will be sacrifices. These sacrifices may involve a re-shuffling of priorities and doing with less personal time; most extra time will be devoted to studying, completing assignments, taking online tests, and/or viewing online lectures. Some may be able to juggle all of this well and complete an online degree in a short time frame. For others, it may take longer. The beauty of an online degree is that it allows great flexibility, as it does not have a “one size fits all” approach to learning.
However, when all is said and done, these are the kinds of sacrifices that lead to huge payoffs. In the end, single moms who take on the responsibilities of earning a degree see greater reward in a lifetime of higher job earnings. As many college graduates can attest, this makes a huge difference in the quality of life that parents are able to offer to their children. Not only are single moms who go back to school investing in their own futures, they are, more importantly, investing in the futures of the sons and daughters that they love.