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Parents Returning to School: Common Challenges & Practical Solutions

Motherhood is a full-time career, and despite the exhausting labor of love, our efforts often go unnoticed and unappreciated. Managing the lives of two or more individuals is much more demanding than working a full-time career. After raising your children and pushing them through middle school, it’s time you focus on your goals. 

It’s normal for mothers to push aside their dreams the second they hold their little bundle of joy in their arms. Suddenly, their lives lose all meaning except the constant desire to ensure their children enjoy the best of everything. However, despite their attempts to ignore it, the nagging feeling of emptiness never goes away. 

Before you read the rest of the article, let’s get one thing straight. There’s no appropriate age to acquire an education or advance your career. Returning to school may seem challenging, but only if you make it tough. Keep reading to explore practical solutions to the challenges deterring you from returning to school. 

Achieving Work-Life Balance 

Your children want you present at every soccer game, science fair, and dance competition. How will you manage all your domestic responsibilities with the added burden of coursework and classes? The struggles of achieving a healthy work-life balance are a common fear that deters mothers from returning to school. 

If you think about it, this doesn’t even qualify as a problem. Firstly, you must understand that you are not the designated problem-solver and caregiver in your family. You are an individual with goals, dreams, and aspirations, and you mustn’t feel guilty about prioritizing yourself. These days moms going back to school must learn to set priorities, make efficient schedules, and share their responsibilities. 

You can achieve a healthy work-life balance by delegating responsibilities and asking all family members to help. Sharing your responsibilities and chores will undoubtedly reduce your domestic workload, freeing up more time for studying. 

Today, you can benefit from distance learning programs and remote college degrees that are more manageable. With distance learning, you will feel more in control of your academic journey, learning schedules, and preferences.  

Fear of Academic Pressure

Moms returning to school often feel incompetent and overwhelmed by the fear of workload. They wholeheartedly believe they’re unprepared to handle the challenges of coursework, examinations, and assignments. 

Do you think you’ll hesitate with fear while driving after not sitting behind the wheel for over five years? Everyone is likely to pause and feel afraid of losing touch with the vehicle and its driving mechanisms. Similarly, we’re likely to forget a language we once spoke fluently after failing to practice for years. 

Fear is a normal feeling. But if you focus on it excessively, you can augment and exacerbate it into panic and anxiety. It’s normal to feel afraid when we’re unsure of our expectations and make disruptive changes in our lives. Rest assured, the fear of workload will disappear the moment you sit for an intriguing lecture on a subject you enjoy. You can make things easier by obtaining ample information and asking all the right questions before enrollment. 

If the fear is too overwhelming, consider speaking to a counselor or enrollment advisor. You can also sit down with former students or professors to understand the coursework requirements and workload.  

One Step at a Time

If you’re too overwhelmed by the idea of workload and hectic coursework, why not start small? Ease yourself into the learning routine by signing up for a short course or online workshop. Distance learning opens up a wealth of lucrative learning opportunities. If you’re returning to school intending to join the workforce as a marketable professional, online certifications have much to offer.

With the rise of marketable skills, freelance platforms, and small business ownership, there’s a growing emphasis on building practical skills. You can explore online courses, certifications, and training workshops on an abundance of skills, from soap making to fiction-writing and more. 

Pursuing a two-week or two-month online certification will help you ease yourself into the routine of managing academic obligations. A short course will help you identify your challenges and create habits and rituals that minimize these challenges. 

Heightening Higher Education Costs 

Higher education costs are surging uncontrollably, and moms returning to school are often discouraged by enormously burdensome expenses. If you’re not working, the thought of taking out a student loan is nothing short of a nightmare. Naturally, you wouldn’t want to burden your spouse and family with the expense of your college degree. It’s hard to imagine that one day you may be saddled with college debt, but the rising cost of higher education makes it increasingly likely. With tuition skyrocketing and student loans ubiquitous in our society today no mom or dad should have their dreams deferred because they can't afford an expensive degree for themselves! The market has many options when choosing between private lenders like Sallie Mae versus another company; however, knowing which lender offers better terms will make all the difference if your family depends on this decision as well.

Chances are, you haven’t explored the financing options available to you. Universities and colleges often merit-based scholarships, loans, and grants, and the government also operates schemes to facilitate higher education. It’s wise to sit down with an enrollment advisor to map out all the financing options available to you. Make sure to explore your options thoroughly. Companies like Purefy offer expert advice and will orient you depending on your unique financial situation.

If you feel all options come with strings attached, you can explore other options to raise money. Consider renting out vacant space in your property to generate a monthly income. If your garage is riddled with junk, declutter and rent it out on Airbnb. There are numerous other ways you can raise finances to afford your college tuition. 


The journey of returning to school may seem overwhelming, but it’s a powerful choice that will transform your life. Higher education will empower you with confidence, opportunities, and options to build yourself as a professional. Returning to school is a rewarding prospect to enjoy personal and professional growth.