Why Having a Family in College Can Be the Best Thing Ever

Finals week has ended, as celebrated by my one-time perf messy bun.



Note the child sneakily shredding toilet paper in the reflection of the mirror... The sacrifices I pay to take a bathroom selfie.
I'm still a newbie to the traditions of my university, but I'm apt to believe that the dead silence and empty sidewalks on campus are normal.

Wrapping up the semester has been a little bit emotional. The experience out here has been amazing. I've been so dang grateful to return to school to finish my four year degree. (I had stopped after my associates to work for a while.) Living far away on the east coast has invited a lot of peace and self-evaluations. One of the surprising discoveries is that I really, sincerely, enjoy having a family while in school.


Here's why.


My Kids' Mentors:


I have an arrangement with some other moms in my area that we swap kids while we're in classes. This gave all of us a network of new friends that we see / play with regularly. This network also gave us parenting observations from people who came to know my children pretty well.




For instance, one mother observed that when she complimented Arrow's kindness to someone, Arrow would beam and then say that she "felt so good that she wanted to be nice to mom and dad too!" Ha!



Taylor and I realized we hadn't been making a conscience effort to praise Arrow's kindness qualities, and made implemented that change asap. Already she's been so great at home.

Free Family Activities:



At a local parade

My kids are pretty used to being hauled around campus when I have to drop something off.

Arrow and Archer (and occasionally Taylor) have tagged along while I video-broadcasted sport games, attended assemblies, and stood in line for free hot cider donuts. I have loved involving my people in the things that ordinarily feel beyond the "parenting" or "home" scope of my life.

The photo below was from a grad school recruitment. The recruiter, a grandma herself, knew immediately how enthralled Arrow and Archer would be with sticky note "books" while I listened to the presentation. (Am I now considering an MBA at USU? You bet.)




Furthermore, our library here has a chalkboard and books on display for the student's kids. Knowing that the kids are fine to play while I proofread an essay does wonders for stress.

Built In Study Buddies:

The knowledge and learning, of course, is priceless. I've been very pleased with my education so far.

In fact, my arts history class has given me so many more ideas how to teach Arrow and Archer. When we're not learning letters, I'm showing Arrow temple pediments and red figure vases. Archer is limited in his learning at only a year old but I'm more on the ball to teach him how to make swirls with a crayon.



We've also had an increase in tennis lately. Taylor and the kids love tagging along to help me practice my foreswing.



Isn't he the plushest creature you've even seen?



All this training at home only solidifies the facts and knowledge I need to know for my courses. 

(Taylor gets the earful of my business philosophy classes... but the kids absolutely receive the value in their child development. Each new best business strategy book is also the next best parenting book I've read.)


Of course, there are all the personal reasons why I thrive in this lifestyle. Having something to deeply ponder while dishing out applesauce is immensely gratifying. I'm developing a stronger confidence from understanding deeper theories and strategies. And frankly, I love having those quiet minutes walking to and from class. Those little walks do so much for my daily patience in general.


Basically, becoming educated really does help me be a better parent. My kids benefit from it all.


I'm sure there are a billion and one ways to obtain a college education with a family. My situation isn't unique, so I'm adding my voice and experience to consider. If any parent is wondering if it could be possible to go back to school with small kids in tow, it's definitely a possibility! It will take a lot of hard work... but all good things in life do. :)

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