By Suzy Fielders

Now that the kids are back in school, do you ever think about going back to school yourself? Just because you are the parent now doesn’t mean you can’t be a student still too!

I chose to go back to school to get my Master’s degree a few years ago when my daughter was between the ages of two and four. I’m going to be very honest and say this was an extremely hard thing to do. Was it worth all the time and effort? Absolutely! I had started my Master’s prior to my daughter being born but never got to finish it. Around the time she was 18 months old I decided to go back to school and get the degree finally. I knew if I didn’t I would always wonder and ponder on those infamous ‘what if’ questions.

Now I probably should point out during this ‘back to school’ time I was also a single mother who worked full time. There were numerous times when people would say to me they didn’t know how I did it – balancing being a full time grad student, full time mother and working full time. I suppose how I did it was I went into it knowing this is what I wanted and needed to do and no matter how hard it was it would be worthwhile for me and my child in the end. I just had to take it a day at a time and view this time as just another adventure in life. Besides no adventure worth living is ever easy! It was also extremely helpful to have supportive and amazing family and friends. While my daughter was only three at the time I gained my Master’s she actually still tells me she remembers seeing me walk across the stage and get that diploma. That’s a memory we can always cherish together especially when she starts earning her own diploma.

No matter what age your children are they can benefit from their parents returning to school The most obvious benefit is you can advance your career with a higher degree and provide even more for them. A potentially overlooked benefit, especially for parents of school aged children, is you can set an example for them in time management and learning itself. A final benefit is self fulfillment, which of course leads to a happy parents and children.

I view learning as a lifelong pursuit. Even if you don’t want to earn a full degree it’s still worthwhile to take a class or two in a subject that interests you or is a hobby of yours such as photography or writing. As parents we can inspire and instill in our children a love for learning by doing so ourselves.