Student parents, Do you work? - Mothering Forums
Working and Student Parents > Student parents, Do you work?
beebalmmama's Avatar beebalmmama 04:24 PM 10-13-2010
I'm looking at going back to school in another year. I need a year of pre-reqs before I can apply for the grad program I'm interested in. Currently I'm staying home and we are scraping by $$.

The prerequisites will probably put me at full time for the year. The grad program is a full time 2 year program. I worked through my undergrad, but that was without kids. I just can't imagine having the time to find a part time job in addition to going to school and having a quality home life.

I worked full time before ds 2 came along and that was hard enough keeping the house together. Now that ds 1 is in school I would be wary about having an evening job, because I would rarely see him. I already feel now that he is in kindergarten we have much less time together. I could sacrifice the time with dh, we've been doing that for years, but giving up even more time with my kids feels like a lot. I'm thinking of just trying for enough financial aid to live off of, in addition to dh's salary of course. But wondering if that is going to be a smart idea financially speaking.

How do you do it?

rsummer's Avatar rsummer 08:20 PM 10-13-2010
I do not work and am a full time grad student in a challenging and time consuming program. We are living off student loans and DH has had to amp up what he is brining home. I AM ONLY DOING THE STUDENT LOANS BECAUSE THERE IS A LARGE FINANCIAL INCENTIVE WHEN I COMPLETE MY PROGRAM. Part time is not an option for the field I am in. If I were completing a Phd or masters in an area where jobs were harder to come by and lower paying, then I would not have put the burden of all this debt on my family.

That being said, there are schools offering graduate assistantships, jobs offering tuition reimbursement etc. that can make schooling affordable. You can totally do it, and yeah, its a sacrifice. But remember by reaching for your dreams, you help teach your kids to reach for theirs.
cakemama579's Avatar cakemama579 09:42 PM 10-13-2010
I am in a similar boat as rsummer's. We're hoping that my nursing program will pay for itself when I graduate.. so, DS works, and I am mom/student exclusively. Scholarships and loans are helping to cushion our living expenses.

If there wasn't a great job potential in my program, I wouldn't be doing this to my family right now. Since there is, we're hoping the investment/debt will end up being a better quality of life for us in the long run.

If I were you I would consider very carefully the likelyhood of finding a good job when you finish your program. If there is a good chance, it might help to ease the pressure of $$ on your family now. A sort of "keep your eye on the prize" kind of thing.

Take advantage of loans as much as you can, and work as little as you need to (or not at all). There are tons of moms in my program that work too, and it is brutal on them.
Hey Mama!'s Avatar Hey Mama! 09:45 PM 10-13-2010
No I do not. I can barely keep up with school and homework and my kids and housework. If I had a job I'd really go batsh*t crazy. I take out loans to help ease the financial burden on dh. When I started my degree 13 years ago it was an in demand job. Now the outlook isn't so hot but I'm so close I feel it would be a waste to start all over in something new.
Dar's Avatar Dar 11:54 PM 10-13-2010
I guess I work. I'm in a PhD program and right now I have both a TA job and a small RA job, and I also work 6 hours a week in the computer lab (eeaaasssssy money - I basically get paid to sit and read or write papers there).

The thing is, though, the first two jobs are directly related to my field, and the third is really good because it forces me to get work done. I think doing something like a professional MA program is a totally different animal, and I probably would try not to work.
KCMommy's Avatar KCMommy 02:04 AM 10-14-2010
I am taking a full course-load of 5 classes (mostly in the evenings) manage a daycare with 4.5 workers, and am solo parenting 2 young children - one who still breastfeeding. While I am managing to barely keep up on the studies, the home life is hardly "quality". Luckily the courses are pretty basic, 2nd year Early Childhood Education, but there are a lot of time consuming ssignments. As for work, I am able to slip away a bit, because I administer and am not required in the caregiver:child ratio.

The biggest challenge is the single-parenting aspect. Childcare costs me $16/hr while I am in my classes - more than the tuition and books combined. And it is soo excrutiatingly difficult to leave my nursing 2 year old that I only use childcare while I am actually in class, and not for homework or studying. I would not recommend this lifestyle, but completion of each semester results directly in more income for my daycare due to government training-based funding.
Bluebird9's Avatar Bluebird9 02:24 AM 10-14-2010


punkrockmomma's Avatar punkrockmomma 09:46 PM 10-14-2010
Right now I'm taking 16 credits, and I work in my schools library, and I'm a paid tutor and study group monitor; my DP works full time, 1st shift. It's great working in the library I get paid to do my homework, and have some really nice perks working in the library, like unlimited renewals, free copies on the copy machine, and since I'm in a program where I'll be doing a lot of research this job really helps in this area too. The tutoring is a great experience because it's for a class I really enjoyed last semester. I'm also hoping that it'll looking good on a grad school application, and it's one of the best paying jobs at my school, because you have to be asked to do it, and is considered a privilege to be asked. I really love both of my jobs, and they allow me to less financial dependent on DP.
Just Kate's Avatar Just Kate 09:23 AM 10-15-2010
I'm in a professional masters program that requires over 24 hours of unpaid internship each week in addition to classes. I do work a part time job on the weekends in order to pay for the child care I need to complete my internship hours, as I would otherwise have to take out loans for that expense.

I work as a house manager at a domestic violence shelter (and before that I worked at an intake specialist at a homeless shelter). I like working part time as I am allowed to do my reading in my downtime (and I can get so much more reading done at the shelter than I can at home!) I'm also getting valuable experience in my field and great references from my employers that will give me a leg up over many of my classmates when I graduate
la mamita's Avatar la mamita 09:52 AM 10-15-2010
I think it would depend on whether the program was an academic master's or pre-professional. I didn't work in grad school--my program required internships on top of coursework (social work). I probably could have pulled off a part-time job but I just didn't see the point as childcare would have made any income I made negligible. Many of my fellow classmates held part-time jobs or even full-time jobs, but they didn't have kids. My coursework was much lighter than my friends' in academic programs (sociology, anthropology)--none of them worked! Doctoral programs are a little different though, because of being fully funded.
SummerLove's Avatar SummerLove 03:04 PM 10-16-2010
No.. I don't have a "paying" job.. there is no way I could add that on top of FT school and parenting. I live off financial aid (scholarships, grants and loans), and DH works around my school schedule.
Gimme Pineapple's Avatar Gimme Pineapple 06:18 PM 10-16-2010
Originally Posted by Hey Mama! View Post
No I do not. I can barely keep up with school and homework and my kids and housework. If I had a job I'd really go batsh*t crazy.
My sentiments exactly. I wanted to get a job to help pay for childcare, but then I would need childcare while I worked. So what's the point? (I'm a single mama.)
sparklett's Avatar sparklett 01:11 PM 10-17-2010
I work full-time and I'm in grad school. I worked through my first grad degree, too, and my bachelor's. DH is in grad school, too and is a SAHD.

The difference is that I work in a results-driven work environment, so I don't have a work schedule and all of my activities are project-based. It makes for a much lighter work schedule. My grad school program is community-based and we work as a student colloquium. So I check in with my advisors weekly and I go to campus every few months for meetings.

So between the results-only work environment and the community based grad. program, it's totally doable.
Holland73's Avatar Holland73 01:46 PM 10-17-2010
I work full-time as an elementary school teacher and am a full-time grad student. Not working full-time is not an option for me, as I am also a solo parent. Thankfully, I only have one child and he is also in school -- he is 7. I cannot imagine doing it with children not in school. Hats off to all who are!

There are some amazing new repayment programs for student loans, particularly if you will be working in public service. These new repayment plans (and ds being in school) are the only reason why I am back in grad school.

I STRONGLY advise to never take out private loans. The people I know that have gotten into extreme financial difficulties, due to student loans, are the ones who have taken out private loans. Be very, very careful!
StephandOwen's Avatar StephandOwen 02:23 PM 10-17-2010
Originally Posted by Holland73 View Post
I cannot imagine doing it with children not in school. Hats off to all who are!

I am in school full time (this semester I have 2 classes on campus and 3 online so I'm only in the classroom 2 days a week). Last year I did the same thing but I worked in a daycare the other 3 days a week. This year I am not working in the daycare but I am a substitute para for the school district. So my availability to do sub para is the 3 days that I am not in my classes.

All of my classes and work is done during ds's school hours for the most part. If I work later than ds's school (some of the schools I am willing to sub at have a later dismissal than ds) then dp picks ds up and I get him after I get out of work.

I don't know how I would be able to work hours that are not during ds's school hours.
Drummer's Wife's Avatar Drummer's Wife 04:40 PM 10-17-2010
I don't work, but then I've been a SAHM for almost a decade taking care of 4 kids - so it's not like we gave up my income for me to go to school full-time. I am thinking, though, that at some point I'll work very part-time (like per diem a few times a month), as a CNA. This probably won't be for a while, but I think I'd like it to earn a little bit of money to help pay towards preschool for our youngest, as well as get patient care hours and employment references for the future. Otherwise, I plan on going on to grad school and not working a full-time job until after I graduate.

I have a lot of respect for people who work and go to school, and even more so for those who are also parents (and single parents!). I just feel busy enough taking care of the kids, the house, and my grades where I want them. In 2 years, my youngest will be in full-day (free) school, so if it works with my class schedule, I may do a work-study job, or even work with DH a couple days a week - if I don't enjoy the CNA work, if we need the money.
Kristine233's Avatar Kristine233 07:09 PM 10-17-2010
Yes. I'm taking 19 credits, work 1 part-time job as a Program Coordinator (run 4 schoolage care sites) and I work part-time from home as a web designer. I also take school loans to help as well otherwise I'd have to work full-time outside the house.
beebalmmama's Avatar beebalmmama 08:43 PM 10-17-2010
Thanks everyone for giving me some perspective. I think if we can swing it I will try for the no pay working approach. I'm just about to start all the leg work of financial aid (FAFSA), program details, department visits, GRE prep, etc. But I wanted to get an idea of how other parents swing school and children.

The program is a professional Masters program in Occupational Therapy. I'm feeling very confident about being able to find a well paying job at the end. Which is part of the reason I decided on OT.

Once I would be admitted to the program, there are two sessions of unpaid internships. Fortunately these are in the summer and dh is a school teacher. So at least in that respect childcare during those times will be covered.

It would be so much less stress on our family if we could cushion ourselves a little with the financial aid. We have enough financial stress in our lives with me being a SAHM. But it should all be worth it in the end! I'm getting pretty excited about starting this whole process....nervous too.
Drummer's Wife's Avatar Drummer's Wife 08:57 PM 10-17-2010
I'm totally assuming here, but I think it would be really hard to work in OT school. I'm sure people do it (even people with families), but I would bet it makes it that much harder to keep up with your studies. I hope it works out that you don't need to be employed... it's only two years, and will be worth it in the end.

Good luck with applying and as a student once you get in.
MaWhit's Avatar MaWhit 07:09 PM 10-18-2010
I just work part time (very part time) from home as a freelance writer/editor, and also very part-time as director of the kids program at UU (church).
CrazyCatLady's Avatar CrazyCatLady 04:52 AM 10-19-2010
Yes I work and go to school. I provide childcare for three kids in my home during the days and I go to college four nights a week. I also am a single mom and I home school my daughter.

For money I have the childcare thing, I get some SSI, and I do farm/barn chores for a discounted rent at a really great place to live. I don't receive any child support. Occasionally I still model or do other random jobs for some extra cash.

I am always poor, busy, stressed, overwhelmed, tired, and on the verge of a nervous breakdown. But somehow it all gets done and slowly but surely I'm making a better life/future for the two of us.

I do have family around that helps some with my dd. Though I try not to let them help too often with childcare because my dd prefers to be with me, and because I don't want to feel like I owe anybody anything.
Witch's Titee's Avatar Witch's Titee 02:36 AM 10-20-2010
Only very part-time, to keep the student loan from going totally off-the-chain.
canadianhippie's Avatar canadianhippie 12:38 PM 10-20-2010
another single working, student mum here too!

im solo with my 13 month old, in full time study 5 days a week and work 4-5 shifts a week. It's crazy, quality home life? i kissed that goodbye, I miss devoting my whole self to my son but I need to do this for us.

im also paying without a loan, im using my job to pay for textbooks/extra's and save for future tuition and support the costs of the babies milk, clothes, food, etc.
canadianhippie's Avatar canadianhippie 12:41 PM 10-20-2010
Originally Posted by CrazyCatLady View Post
I am always poor, busy, stressed, overwhelmed, tired, and on the verge of a nervous breakdown. But somehow it all gets done and slowly but surely I'm making a better life/future for the two of us.
lol this is exactly how I feel, I dont know how Im holding on, but I have to!
lisalu100's Avatar lisalu100 01:41 PM 10-20-2010
My boss was so upset and stressed this morning. She works 10 hours a week while doing a Masters in Nursing, and she misses her kids so much, and they really miss her too. She is gone about 50 hours a week, often before the kids wake up. I wouldn't do it if you didn't have to...
CrazyCatLady's Avatar CrazyCatLady 02:01 PM 10-20-2010
My boss was so upset and stressed this morning. She works 10 hours a week while doing a Masters in Nursing, and she misses her kids so much, and they really miss her too. She is gone about 50 hours a week, often before the kids wake up. I wouldn't do it if you didn't have to...
That must be really hard. It makes me appreciate what I have. Because even though I work and go to school, I'm lucky enough to have my daughter with me while I work. So I still get to see her a lot considering.