All this talk about support systems has you concerned. Maybe you don’t have any reliable help close by. Or maybe you have been on your own for so long, that you don’t know how to ask for help. Well, you’re going to have to get over that and start building a support system from scratch. You will need someone to help you! There’s no way around it. Here a few suggestions to get started:
Classmates – Forming relationships can be difficult initially but keep at it. Eventually, you will find a few people that are trustworthy and willing to babysit on weekends or study with you while your children are present. If other parents are in your class, schedule playdate study sessions – The kids have their own fun while y’all study. Often times, the spouses or parents of your classmates are more than happy to help out in any way they can.
Students Services – Visit student services and discover what resources are available for parents and other non-traditional students. You may find that there are many kid-friendly areas on and around campus that they recommend.
Paid help – Consider incorporating a regular part-time babysitter or full-time nanny into the budget. Once you have a routine and schedule in place, you’ll see what your needs are as well as what you can afford.
Make New friends – If your children are younger, ask the daycare/preschool for local mommy and me meetups that you can join. Participate in extracurricular activities and events at the school. Get to know the staff and other parents now so that you will have them in place once you matriculate. If you have older children/teenagers, they already have friends, so get to know their parents. No one is asking you to be anyone’s BFF, just establish relationships with trustworthy and reliable people who won’t harm you or your kids.
Reach out to those you lost touch with – In-laws, the long lost cousin, the sister whom you constantly butt heads with …Time to swallow that pride and make amends. Seek those who have both yours and your child’s best interest at heart. You may not like them, but you know that your kids and personal business are safe with them.
Is it possible to get through PA school with a family and no support? Maybe it is, but I haven’t seen it done yet. If you’re not local to the area, is there anyone whom you can fly in to help? Do you have a church family? Are there people in the community/neighbors that are willing to help? Know any college students looking to make some extra money? Got a friend who has the extra time to spare? … Get creative. Start thinking about who can join you on this journey and how they can help.