Being a stay-at-home mom (or dad) is one of the most rewarding jobs there is. Many parents report that it’s one of the most rewarding times of their lives.
They’ll also tell you that it’s incredibly isolating and exhausting. It also takes a serious bite out of your lifetime earnings even after you go back to work, by taking you out of the latest innovations.
All of these downsides can be mitigated by taking a few college courses while you’re at home with your kids. Even one course a semester can bring a great balance to your life, while letting you keep up with career skills and credentials.
The joy of adult conversation
This is one of the things stay-at-home parents crave the most. Talking to babies or toddlers all day can drive the most committed parent out of his mind by the time the day is done.
A college course can get your synapses firing again and occupy your mind–at least part of the time–with something other than diapers and Raffi.
Stimulation gives you energy
At the end of the day, a stay-at-home parent is completely depleted–not exactly because the work is difficult (although sometimes it is), but because it’s so repetitive. An endless cycle of cleaning, cooking and answering “why” will leave you exhausted and drained.
The stimulation and change of a college course–and the fact that they are constantly changing–will give you a new perspective and, yes, renew your energy.
Keep pace with your colleagues
Sure, you’re a little out of the loop on the latest developments at your company. But you can more than make up for that gap by keeping up with college courses in your field. You may even find that you’re more marketable when your kids finally head off to kindergarten, if you’ve taken advantage of the opportunity to earn a new certification, finish a second degree, or simply complete advanced coursework in the cutting edge of your line of business.
Balancing a modest college courseload with stay-at-home parenting actually lets you have the best of both worlds. You can be there for your kids’ first steps and enjoy your children to the utmost, while still keeping your “grown-up” mind alert and energized.