By Lori Johnston, special to AOL Jobs
College can be a terrifying concept for moms trying to balance a marriage, kids, work, and day-to-day activities. But with more and more mothers taking advantage of online learning to hit the books when the kids are asleep, it is a new reality.
Here are 10 tweet-style tips that can help Mom manage a busy work, family, and school schedule and bring home a report card their kids will be proud of.
1. I love breakfast in bed, but a college degree is the best present.
Share with your family that letting you pursue a college degree is a great way they can show their love for you. If you share how vital they are to your quest for a degree, they will realize they have a stake in the process -- and maybe they'll offer to do the dishes while you're doing homework.
2. Hiding from kids to finish 30-page paper due tomorrow!
Illnesses, babysitter cancellations, and other unscheduled events can cut into your time to complete assignments. Reassure your kids that you love them, but you need to focus on school at certain points during the day. Being the best student possible can be one of your best moves as a mom.
3. Family time over, now onto schoolwork.
School shouldn't make you miss important events in your family's life. Attend the birthday parties, sporting events, school concerts, and enjoy those summer and spring break vacations. But carve out time to keep on top of your studies (or to catch up as needed) well in advance of an important assignment or test. Many moms find that the wee hours of the morn', during baby's nap time, or when the laundry is soaking and dinner is in the slow cooker is the ideal (and only!) study time. Thanks to online learning, moms are logging on and learning when and where it works for them.
4. Hanging out w/other student moms!
Realize that you are not alone. Some schools offer organized students groups for moms and other adult learners, or you can start one up yourself. The friendships and support you receive from these groups can be essential throughout college, especially when you feel as if you won't survive another day, let alone another semester.
5. Meeting today w/ college counselor for help.
Seek academic support/student advisers who can help you determine the best way to complete assignments and carve out time to study. Their job is to help you succeed! Just like you want your kids to come to you with challenges, these advisers are standing at the ready to assist!
6. Homework while parked, waiting to pick up my little one @school, then soccer.
Even brief periods of time -- 15 minutes in the car line at school, or during your kids' many after-school activities -- can be beneficial for reading your textbook or flipping through note cards for test preparation. The key to a successful scholastic stint as a mom is making the most of all your time.
7. Big test tomorrow ... hubby handling bath time.
Whether it's keeping the children occupied the day before a big assignment is due, or handling routine tasks like bath time, ask your spouse for support so you can complete a paper or finish a class project. Remind him that the teamwork will pay off when you start your new career and bring home the bigger bucks.
8. Join me for study session?
Reach out to fellow students virtually, providing a way for you and your classmates to help each other better understand the course material and provide much-needed encouragement during stressful times. Take the initiative to set up a smaller study group online. You can create a Facebook group page where you and fellow students can post questions, provide words of support, and even vent. Or set up a smaller chat room with a couple of study buddies. Embrace the ability to connect via the Internet and see how it will enrich your college experience.
9. Must have coffee! #AllNighterFuel
A good night's sleep is rare for many moms, but try to get at least more than a couple of hours of sleep so that you're alert and awake during a particularly heated online discussion or a big test. Caffeine may become your crutch, but plan to scale back once you get that diploma.
10. Excited about first A on exam!
Go ahead and post that grade on the fridge along with your kids' artwork and report cards. And don't be afraid to share your accomplishments with friends and strangers on Facebook and Twitter. The virtual encouragement could give you a boost to keep on bringing home those As.
Related Stories from CNN Money
- 10 Things That Will be Cheaper in 2011
- Boost Your Odds of Finding a Job
- I'm 61. Should I Retire or Keep Working?