I returned to school to make a career change, but the impact goes beyond how it affects me personally. Returning to school has also been beneficial for our family as a whole. Here’s why.

We are deciding what’s important.

I find myself in the library to get my work done. A LOT. Prior to going back to school, we pretty much had to take my husband’s work schedule into account when planning family activities; my daughter and I could be pretty flexible if we had to in order to spend time together. But when I leave the house to study, I’m obviously leaving my family back at home. Having less time together as a family means we’ve been better at deciding what is important to us and what we can afford to postpone. This past week, after working overtime all weekend, my husband had the chance to cut out of work early, meaning there would be several hours between when he got out of work and when I’d have to jet off to class. Instead of doing our usual grocery store trip as planned, my daughter and I ditched that chore in favor of spending that time with my husband. Even if it meant scrounging together dinner that night, we the time spent as a family meant more that evening than a perfectly balanced meal.

It puts mom back on the list.

I’m completely guilty of being the mom-martyr and putting everyone else’s priorities before mine. I know that and I admit it. For a long time after my daughter’s birth I struggled with seeing my needs and interests as important, but I’ve come to understand that self-care is necessary both for me and for our family as a unit. A happy mom means a happier family. I’m a work in progress in this area, but making school – and in turn, myself – back on the “to do” list feels GREAT.

We have a better balance of responsibility in our household.

As stay at home mom, many of the household duties fell to me to complete. My husband still did many of the things around the house, but I would sneak in several of the day-to-day tasks like loading and unloading the dishwasher, light cleaning, laundry and grocery shopping when my daughter and I hung around at the house. It made sense for us. When I returned to school, my husband pitched in with many of these tasks without me having to say a word. We easily settled into a routine that seems to work and get what we need to done. Most of the time. Just don’t come over now; I had exams this week and my husband worked overtime and the house is a MESS.

Again, it’s about defining our priorities.

My daughter gets a more well-rounded impression of her mom.

I’m proud to have stayed home with my daughter and not work full time while she was a baby. It was the right choice for me and my family. But I’m also proud to have my daughter see me go after something that is important to me; to see me work hard, towards a goal and eventually, succeed. As her mom I want to be a role model for her, and while I think there are many ways to go about that, I am so happy that she can go on this journey with me and experience it through these changes in our family dynamic from start to finish.

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