Can I finish my degree and raise my children at the same time?

Can I finish my degree and raise my children at the same time? Find out at

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Answer Paywizard:

I certainly do not view family and educational attainment as an either-or proposition, hence my continual drum beat as the WorklifeWizard of striking an appropriate and reasonable worklife balance.  Nonetheless, this can be challenging and it is (and must be) different for everyone so as to be sustainable.  Certainly your family circumstances – household budget, how much supervision your children require day to day or how much help you have, how much time you spend commuting between school or work, family activities and priorities, just to name a few – are unique to you, so only you can decide what will work. 

Nevertheless, you are correct in your assessment that advancing toward your degree may very well be helping you in your professional development.  Not knowing what your particular profession or field is, I cannot say with certainty,to what extent, but as a general rule better education = better opportunities.  To  explore the potential benefits of working toward your degree now rather than waiting, you may be interested in reviewing both the Salary Survey and the US Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook.

If you are in the position of  managing family responsibilities, tuition, etc. in addition to helping you work toward your own goals, working toward your degree may also help your family in other ways.  While your progression ,may directly benefit them financially, it also sets an example for your children. 

On the other hand.  juggling school, work, and family responsibilities adds more strain to the entire family system, but depending on how old your children are, communicating your goals and the value of your attaining them can be worthwhile not only in ensuring you have their full  support which you will need,  but also by ensuring that everyone understands that, while there may be stressful times or that you may preoccupied at times, that there are reasons they can understand and get behind.  Whether you are taking one course per year or a substantial courseload per semester, the more your family understands your goals and their necessity , the better.  You are clearly demonstrating that you are setting a goal, working toward it, and will eventually realize it.  You will set an example to your  family by demonstrating the value of perseverance, problem-solving, and the sheer sense of reward that comes with attaining a long-term goal.  This is a valuable proposition and lesson indeed.

Good luck.


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