How to Manage School While Having Kids

I knew well before having kids that I wanted to go into dentistry but to be honest I wanted to be a dentist and not a hygienist. So much so that I went to a University and took the core sciences classes I needed in order to apply to dental school. I had my children right before my first semester of college. By the second semester I was bringing my children to a daycare within my university every day. As you may know I am a dental hygienist and not a dentist. I decided to wait for dentistry because I felt like I had already sacrificed time during my four years of undergraduate studies.

Even now I’m still unsure if I want to pursue dentistry but that’s another blog post, so I’ll focus on how I can help you here. Obviously I spent two more years in hygiene school for a total of 6 years in school while having children. In this post I’m going to outline my hacks and tips on how to get through school while having children and a household.

Just for your information, I uploaded a youtube video per my subscriber’s request on this very topic so feel free to watch that as well.

You are going to feel bad

Guilt is an innate feeling and we feel guilt over many choices we make, even if they’re small or meaningless. One time I went to the bank and the teller said “Have a nice day” and I said ” Thank you” but I did not say “you too”. I felt so bad that I called the bank later that day and asked if I can speak to the teller I had. In order to relieve myself of the guilt I needed to tell her “I meant to say have a good day as well”.

No matter if you are working, in school, or just have a raging headache and want to sleep, you will have days where you feel bad that you didn’t give your children all the potential attention you could have. This is especially true for hygiene school. You will spend so much time studying that there may be days you paid less attention to your children. This is why you need to set aside real quality time.

How to spend meaningful time with your family

In my personal opinion being next to your kids while watching a movie isn’t the quality time I’m speaking of. Doing work on your computer while your child plays near you isn’t quality time either. Your child will crave that direct contact and if you do not give it to them, they are going to bug you for it.

You need to carve out time for them and make sure every second of it is direct contact. You need to talk to them, play with them, and touch them. Give them plenty of hugs and kisses and let your body language tell them “I am listening and I love you”. This is not going to make you feel whole again but this will ease your guilt and will allow your child’s bond with you to stay strong during this time.

If possible utilize the time you cannot study anyways. For me dinner time was a huge hit. We always sat and ate around the diner table which made it easier to have direct interaction with my family. We would play a game, have a meaningful conversation, or I could just gush over them and tell them how proud of them I am. Make this interaction direct and make it positive.

You are not going to cook the best or have the cleanest house

While we are on the subject of dinner, now is not the time to be a pro home chef even if your significant other is complaining about the meals you’ve been making lately. Make your life easier and buy a frozen mix of veggies to sauté and season instead of buying and preparing fancy side dishes. Buy stuffed tortellini that takes 4 minutes to boil and throw some sauce over it.

Throw your clothes in a basket instead of folding and hanging them. I mean let’s be honest, you’re only going to be wearing PJ’s or scrubs anyways. You’ll have time to really deep clean your home after hygiene school, or better yet if you have summers off, do it then. Stop worrying so much about cleaning or cooking the best meals. This is temporary, you and your family will be just fine.

When to study

During my schooling, my kids where anywhere from 1 to 6 years old, so I went through all the highs and lows. To this very day, I still read bedtime stories to my children, although now we are on to chapter books series. However I had no problem reading my text books to them to help them fall asleep.

Now if your children can go to bed without you being in the room, thats amazing and you can start studying right away! However if your children are anything like mine, they needed me in the room. They honestly just wanted to hear my voice so it didn’t matter what I was reading. The text books were incomprehensible to them and they’d often fall sleep due to boredom right away.

The biggest deal here is that you set an early bedtime that is the same time everyday! Your children need to be sleep at approximately the same time everyday in order for you to get consistent study time. I would have my children in bed by 7:30 while I read to them. They often fell asleep in 30 minutes. I would then study until midnight every night.

Yes… I was tired and no I did not get enough sleep. I’m not recommending that you loose out on sleep, but ensure that you get enough study time either throughout the day or at night time.

You do still need “me” time

This recommendation may either be very easy or very hard. I’m not a person that can easily give myself “me” time even on a normal day. Believe me when I say I am not recommending this lightly, you are going to need it. Your days are going to consist of waking up early, school, children, studying, and going to bed late. Your mind and body are going to be exhausted. Sit this on top of the guilty feeling of not spending enough time with your children and partner.

This is the perfect mixture for self loathing and depression. You need time for your mind to do nothing. That may look different for different people. For me it was a hot, well deserved, bath bomb filled shower every Sunday. If this includes your partner, you can kill two birds with one stone but make sure you are relaxed and not talking about school, work, kids, family, money, ect. Less talking, more kissing!

You need to ask for help

You cannot do it all yourself. Don’t do it all yourself. Ask your mom to stay with the kids for four hours on Saturday to study for your quiz. Ask your partner to cook dinner tonight so you can stay at the library longer. If someone offers to take the kids, clean the house, come over to see the kids take it!

There were so many times my mom would ask, if I needed anything and I would deny the help. It took me a long time to accept or ask for help. Just ask, if they say no, you’re in the same boat as you were before.

It’s all worth it in the end

Hygiene school is just 2 years and it is worth the sacrifice because it’s not only for your benefit but for your family’s as well. You will be able to afford more while working less time. Most hygienists in private practice work 4 days per week for a total of 30-35 hours on average. Of course you can work more or less than this but the beauty of this career is that you get to choose.

It is very common for a hygienist to work part time in two different offices or even part time in one office in order to spend more time at home. For me personally at this time, I am working in two offices for a total of 5 half days per week. I enjoy this schedule a lot because my children are in remote learning and this allows me to stay with them for the duration of their school day and arrive to work later in the day.

It’s important not to jump into a position that you will quickly regret. Think now about what you wish your schedule to be and look for work offering similar hours, don’t settle for anything less. There are many offices out there who need you!

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