Classes and Children: A Stuggling Act for Student Mothers

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Just being a woman can make for a difficult day. Being a mother is a whole different story. It is a fulfilling, wonderful thing. But at the same time, it can be challenging.

When you are a mother in college — married or single — it can be even more challenging. You have to really organize your time to the best of your ability. Mothers from all walks of life are going back to school for a variety of reasons: to make a positive change in their lives, broaden their perspectives or they’ve come to a dead end in their lives and want to move forward through education and training.

Student moms have to juggle going to classes and all that entails: reading, homework, studying for tests and writing papers with their children’s well-being and education in mind. Once they receive their degree, they can say it was all worth it. This can be a challenging yet fulfilling time.
Cuyahoga Community College student Jennifer Canacci is familiar with the balancing act.

“I have been a single mother for 10 years,” she said. “It was always challenging, but you do what you have to do.”

As a mother juggling kids and school you definitely need to have some determination and tenacity, and sometimes you don’t even know how you do it.

“I don’t know how I do it,” Kathy Dickson, a student ambassador at Tri-C Eastern Campus said. “I try to stay organized and on schedule. When I have down time I take advantage of it.”

Student moms have to be flexible when finding different places to study.

“I sometimes study on campus,” Dickson said. “When my kids go to sleep, I crawl in my bed with my books.”

Dickson knew mixing kids and school was challenging during her second semester.

“When my husband was away at work, I had to help my son with his homework,” she said. “I had to set up a routine. After I got the kids together, I would take the time out to study while at home.”

Any type of support definitely helps, too.

“My early childhood PTA supports me,” Canacci said. “They watch my kids, and sometimes I watch theirs.”

Although it can be difficult for mothers juggling a family to pursue their degrees, it is doable.

“It takes a lot of dedication, organization and flexibility,” Cannacci said.

Raquel Wilbon reporting
Staff writer, East Campus

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