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I went Back to college at age 37. How do I manage my marriage and family without it falling apart while I study?

I’m worried my kids will be mad that I’m not spending enough time with them. #work-life-balance #parenting #nontraditional

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Kenneth’s Answer

Congratulations on going back to school. That's a great step. I when through the same things that you are going through and I made it and my family life actually got better because of it. First, it is awesome that you noticed this would become and issue and that you aren't afraid to ask for tips in order to get you to where you want to be. I was active duty military when I started college. I had 3 children with the oldest being 7 and the youngest being 1 and married at that time for 8 years. How I managed it was to start with work first. Work is where I spent most of my time. So I would have to finish all I needed to do first so that when it was time to get off, Nothing was holding me back.  Down time at work I would use to study or answer a few questions. During my awake hours I didn't want to have time wasted. It could always be used for something. I would often eat while working and during lunch use that time for school. If it wasn't for school I would meet my wife somewhere and eat or just talk. It can be a date and it a great way to keep you two connected.

At home I didn't want to waste time there either. I would talk to the kids every change I got. Dinner time I kept my cell phone away and the TV off. Weekends we would have Family movie night and just pick a movie and spend time together. Helping with their homework is a way to always be involved and them seeing you do yours shows that you practice what your are preaching.  Don't be afraid to ask for time off from work just to hang out at the park or do an event. Be seen, they love you an miss you. Be honest, Tell them why you are doing what you are doing and remind them it is all for them. They are smarter than we think and will be happy you care that much.  Good luck.

Thank you for answering. Unfortunately the marriage went south. My husband (now EX husband) has been cheating on me for years, off and on. I was Tired of walking on eggshells so I ended It. I’m still in school but now I’m doing it all by myself. Trying to look at the positives here, at least I get To go to school for free now and so does my daughter, who is now a HS grad and headed to college in the spring semester. Kathryn T.

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Justin’s Answer

Congrats on going back to school! I went back to school for my MBA after being married and having two young children. It is certainly hard work, and I must say that it was a group effort. I had to make sure that I was efficient with my time, ensure to carve out time specifically for family, and I was very fortunate to have a wife that was supportive throughout the process. There will be opportunity for study time that may not be considered "traditional" such as before the family wakes up in the morning or after the kids go to bed at night. For me, these were important times to take advantage of as I wanted to spend time with the family when they were up and active. The weekends helped free up some time for me as well. Ultimately, going back to school with a family in not an easy endeavor. The most important advice I would like to share is to never forget to carve out scheduled time to have family time.

Justin recommends the following next steps:

Map out a schedule that ensures to include blocks of time for family time.

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Simeon’s Answer

Make time to video-call your kiddos and check in with them if you can. Any kind of little contact throughout the day will make a difference. I'd recommend trying to get your classes blocked together in big chunks. I've been to colleges that had once-a-week classes intended for out of town commuters. For a semester or two, I managed to get most of my classes in those once-a-week slots and it was incredibly helpful for school-life balance. You'll just have to remember your homework and deadlines a bit better.

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Connie’s Answer

Kathryn, congratulations on going back to school! I got my bachelor's degree when I was married, and 2 masters degrees with a husband and children. While it wasnt easy, I did keep it really simple. I got up early every single morning and worked on school from 430 AM until 630 AM when it was time for my kids to get up. Yes I had to sacrifice sleep, but my family never felt the impact of a working Mom who was also a full-time student. At the end of the week I had a full 10 hours of study and paper writing time, and that was always enough to get me through. Its totally worth the sacrifice, and you will be so proud when you are done!

Connie recommends the following next steps:

Set your alarm!!! :)