Going Back to School As A Mom

Going back to school as a momMaking the Decision to Go Back to School

Earlier this year, I made the decision to apply to graduate school to get my doctorate in School Psychology at Loyola University Chicago. I have been working as a school psychologist for almost 10 years in my community. I love working with children and families. For most of my career, I have focused on positive parenting practices, providing counseling services to youth, and evaluating children for things like giftedness, ADHD, dyslexia, and autism.

Prior to the quarantine, I thought, why not give it a go and apply to graduate school. I completed the application, wrote my statement of purpose, submitted my transcripts, and provided letters of recommendation. When I found out I was accepted to graduate school, I was excited, but I was also worried about balancing everything. I was nervous going back to school amidst COVID-19 and uncertainties about what school would like look for my children in the fall. Like many moms in the City Mom Collective, I have 2 small children and work full-time. I found myself asking, can I balance going back to school when I don’t know what my kids will do in the fall?

Despite not knowing what the fall would look like, I made the leap and accepted my position for the next cohort.

Going Back to School As A Mom

Going back to school as a mom has been the right choice for me. I started my fall semester a few weeks ago and have enjoyed getting to know my fellow students and learning.

Now, I’m in my second week of graduate school and know that I made the right decision for me. Going back to school has provided me with an opportunity to grow my skill set, make new connections with others, and become a better school psychologist. It also helps that I am a lover of school supply shopping, having a color-coded planner, and enjoy reading and writing for fun.

Have you ever found yourself wondering about going back to school? But worried that you can’t handle it? If it’s something that’s important to you, I believe in you and think you can.

Three Things that Have Helped with Going Back to School as a Mom

Here are a few things that I’ve found that you can do that are really helpful.

  1. It’s helpful to plan and set a schedule for getting your schoolwork done. At the beginning of the semester, I looked at the syllabus for each class and mapped out all of the major assignments on my planner that I would need to complete. Then, I broke tasks down into smaller components for the different tasks that I would need to complete each week. Creating a schedule is really helpful for knowing when I will get the work done.
  2. Second, when it comes to going back to school, I had to look at my priorities. For me, my top priorities are spending time with my family, continuing to work full-time, and following an exercise routine to help manage stress. This means, that I am intentional with my time. I don’t find myself spending time watching shows on Netflix after the kids go to bed or scrolling social media. Going back to school has seriously curbed my use of social media (in a good way).
  3. Third, when it comes to going back to school, it’s important to have a support network. This maybe your family, friends, and/or colleagues at work. I have the support of my partner for going back to school. My kids are excited that mommy is back at school.

Going Back to School Was the Right Choice for Me

As I sat in my first class and listened to my professor talk about what we would be learning for the semester, I felt excited. I could see to see how I could take what I learned in class and apply it in the community where I live and work.

As class came to a close, she shared with our cohort, “you belong here.” I believe her and know that going back to school as a mom was the right move for me.

Amy Patenaude
Amy is a Licensed School Psychologist and Parent Coach at A Child's Path, PLLC. As a Tampa native, Amy loves the sunshine and being outdoors. Amy works with children and their families in her private practice. Amy married her college sweetheart, Jeff, and they have two children who are 6 and 3. A self-proclaimed bookworm, Amy loves to read research articles to better understand child development, the parent-child relationship, and how we can foster success in youth. Amy believes that ALL parents love their children. Amy’s goal is to be a cheerleader to all parents on their parenting journey. By making small changes with our parenting practices, we can have a big impact on our children. https://achildspath.com

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