Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: WHO Are You?

Returning to College with a Family Isn’t Selfish

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article


To me, being a mother is the most important job I will ever have. I always put my kids first and look out for their best interests. When I first found out I was pregnant, I decided it wasn’t going to stop me from pursuing my dream of becoming a doctor. I had spent one semester in college before becoming pregnant with my child. Since I was still pretty young and my husband started doing well as an entrepreneur, we decided I would focus on being a mother for a few years while he worked on building his business.

We agreed that I would just temporarily be spending most of my time being a full-time mom, and that I would be going back to college in a few years. Although my husband had been supportive of me every step of the way, it was actually me who was having second thoughts of returning to school. I loved spending time with my son and felt like he needed me to be always there. It just felt like a selfish decision at the time.

What I’ve ultimately learned is that you should never stop caring for yourself, no matter what. Unfortunately, just like many other moms across the world, I made the mistake of neglecting my wants and needs. Even though it was only for a few months, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else than being a mom. After discussing everything with my parents and husband countless times, I finally gathered the strength and confidence to return to college. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but now looking back on everything it was worth the sacrifice.

I had to work harder than most of my fellow students. It took a lot of sleepless nights to get that degree. The most difficult part was the first year, since I was still getting adjusted to everything. What I soon figured out was that I needed a good plan in order to be both a good mom and student without going crazy. Creating a detailed schedule and following it to the letter helped me find a way to dedicate time to both school and family.

But even if you have your entire week mapped out, know that emergencies can still happen. This is why it’s important to talk with your professors and let them know your situation. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should ask for any type of special treatment. Instead, simply let them know you’re not slacking off when you’re a few minutes late for class or have to leave early.

After finishing college, the next step was enrolling in medical school. At this point, my husband and I already decided we weren’t going to have any more children. My son was in elementary school and started spending time with other kids, which meant I had more time to focus on my studies. I didn’t want to waste any time, so I decided I was going to score high on the MCAT on my first try. In order to do this, I needed a tutor. I took an MCAT test prep course, and it helped me get ready for the exam.

I am now not only a proud mother but a doctor as well, and I couldn’t be happier with my life. Being both a mom and a student was definitely challenging, but I got used to it. Of course, I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family and friends. My husband, parents, uncles, aunts, and close friends all lent a helping hand whenever they could. In fact, this may actually be the most important thing to have as a mom-student. Make sure you communicate with your support network and let them know what your goals are and how they can help you achieve them.

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.