Single Mother Starting RN Program

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    Just need some advice and input from other fellow nursing students, especially single mothers.

    I'm in my 20s and am about to start nursing program this fall. I have a 4 and 3 year old, which my parents help me very much caring for them. Their father and I are separated, and although I am in a relationship with a very caring person, I do not want to make it their obligation to take care my children while I am in nursing school. Their father offers no support, and in fact, hasn't even asked to see them for three months, so my relying on him is pretty much close to zero. I currently work full time, but realistically, once I start the program, I do not think I will be able to do this as my job is from 8:00-5:00. Although I have been very blessed to be working for a doctor who is flexible with my schedule, I just do not think that I will be able to keep up financially with my hours being cut for school. My rent for my apartment is pretty steep, and my parents are actually looking to go back to the Philippines and had offered to take my girls with them for a little while during my nursing school. I have given this serious thought, as I want to do well in school, and I know that it is only temporary...two years will fly by. However, it tugs at my heart to know that I won't be there to tuck them into bed at night, or be there to drop them off and pick them up from school like I do now. However, I think to myself.. going to school is not just for me, it's for them. For us all to have a better life, and we will benefit from my absence. So it's not like I will be absent in vain, and during the meantime they can enjoy their time with their grandparents and all the rest of my family in the Philippines. This comforts my thoughts as I know they will be in a great and safe environment. However, it isn't just a car drive away. It's a plane ride away, but I do plan to visit during my breaks, and of course call them daily. I am just weighing the pros and cons into this decision....I won't be as stressed with work and school allowing me to do well, my parents will take good care and watch over them, and they will be able to meet our other family members in the Philippines....but a huge con is that they will not be with me. I can barely go through a whole day without seeing them, much less two years (with visits here and there). My boyfriend has offered to pitch in and help the best he can, but he works full time during the day as well and is also looking to go back to school.

    I would like to know what everyone else thinks about this. To the single mothers, how did you do it? Especially to those who really had no one else to help....are there programs that can help me with this? Daycare programs within the school? Financial programs? Any input or advice is welcome.

    Thank you for reading.

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  2. 0
    First, congratulations on getting into nursing school! I am not a single mom, but I do have 4 boys, so take my words with that in mind. It's difficult to manage family and school, even with the support of my spouse and lots of close family and friends nearby. I imagine it would be near to impossible to manage without that support system. While being separated from your children will be difficult, it might be the best option for your particular situation. Would you be able to skype/ video chat with them while they are away? That would be a big help in feeling less far apart - literally being able to see their faces, read them books at bedtime, etc - even while you're apart.
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    I have quite a few working single mothers in my cohort, and they are extremely busy, but successful. I'm not a single parent, so I don't have any tips specific to your situation, but I know it can be done. One thing the single moms I know seemed to need to do was switch jobs and take a more flexible one, like a sitter at a hospital or a waitress. It really just depends on what you're willing to do.

    I personally wouldn't be willing to send my children away for two years. Especially because you are gainfully employed right now. Not homeless or starving (that I'm aware of, at least.) But it is definitely a personal choice. If you feel like you absolutely need to be in school right now and you absolutely cannot do it without your parents help, I don't see what choice you have.
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    I can't imagine how torn you are. I have three children. There is no way I could live without them. I'd drop school and live paycheck to paycheck first. In fact, I waited until my children were older to go back to school. But whatever you decide, will be the best choice for you and your children. We are all different. I feel the pain in your post. I'll be praying for you.
  5. 0
    If you are a full time student there are programs that help with child care costs. Are you going to a CC? If so they have income based day care where the students get priority placement. You can also see if there are other moms who you can share child care with in your class.
  6. 0
    Single mom here.
    let me start off by saying if the only way I could go to school was to give away my kids, I wouldn't do it. I wouldn't even consider it an option.
    I am currently in my second semester and I do get help paying for daycare by the ymca. There are probably similar programs in your area. I'm taking out loans for additional expenses, nothing to crazy, grand total will probably be around 8k.
    You won't be the first single mom to go to nursing school, it's not impossible.
  7. 0
    Single mom of 4 kids here, no help from their dad at all. I am in my last semester of nursing school. You can do this! It will be hard, but it is possible. (Where there is a will, there is a way).

    Does your kid's father help you financially at all? Not sure of your situation with him, but you can take him to court and have him pay child support and help you out, you didn't make these kids yourself, he needs to be held responsible too.

    If that is not an option for you, this is what you should do. Drop your hours at work, yes you heard me right. If you work full time, you risk not passing your classes on the first try, you will end up in school longer.

    Look up your state's info on food stamps, medical insurance assistance, and child care assistance. I paid about $20/wk for my youngest to be in day care full time while I worked and went to school until she was old enough to be in school herself. The state paid for the remaining amount.

    Check into head start/early childhood education programs in your area. Where I am, you can send your kids to head start when they are 3 and 4 years old. It is free for people with low incomes. They will be gone at least part of the day. They can be dropped off at day care via bus after school.

    Look into rent assistance. I live in a low income housing project. I live in a small town, so not too much crime, and I have to pay $0/mo for rent based off of my income. They do not count student grants/loans as income.

    Might not be the best idea, but I took out the max amount of student grants and loans. I use this and my work income allong with my tax money to live off of while I attend school. I will end up owing $20,000 in loans after school, but I feel that it is worth it in the long run.

    Take online classes. I took the majority of my pre-reqs online. They cost more, but you can do your work after the kids are in bed at night, or whenever it is convenient for you.

    Are you able to wait a couple of years to go to school? In two years your kids will be in school full time themselves, then you wont have to spend too much on a day care.

    Can't think of anything else at the moment. I am sorry you are having to make this decision, it must be tough.
  8. 0
    Tough questions...I am a nursing student. I've been taking RN/ BSN prereqs for a few years prior to now. i If I had known that I'd end up a divorced, single parent away from my kids more than full time as nursing student, i wouldn't have chosen to become a nurse. However, I chose to become a nurse and THEN my husband left us and kicked us all out of the house. I decided not to stop pursuing my dream of becoming a nurse in spite of this circumstance.

    I say all this to respond to your question of whether its ok to send your kids away. I have had to heavily rely on relatives to help me with my kids. Clinicals start at 6:30am and are 45 mins from my home. I can't pick my kids up from school or take them to their after school activities. They spend the night with relatives A LOT. I feel like I don't see them. I feel like we don't live together sometimes.

    So, I can see how in certain situations, you may find it best to be away from your kids in order to establish a career in which you can take care of them.

    Some posters have commented that they wouldn't have chosen to be away from their kids. For me, I wasn't working and haven't been able to find a good job to support my kids after my husband left us. I saw it as an excellent and necessary choice for the future well being of my kids to continue to become a nurse.

    I did wind up going to a 1 yr LVN program, rather than a 2 yr RN program because of how everything worked out. I'm looking at only 1 year of this before I can get a good job. However, I also plan on bridging to an RN/BSN program as soon as I'm done becoming an LVN. The good thing about this is many bridge programs expect that you are working and are not as time intensive as straight RN programs, from what I hear.

    Perhaps that is an option for you to consider.
  9. 0
    IM currently in my 2nd quarter of nursing school. I have a 6 yr old and a 7 mth old and am a single mom with no support. I recently realized that God had helped me alot along the way and keeps bringing me back to the same situation to finish school. He always had made things work for me somehow. It is hard. There is ATLEAST a day a week I cry BC I don't get to spend alot of time with my kids. I work 4 days a week, and goo to school 3 days a week.....my oldest isn't with me full time. Only half of the week. My youngest is always with me. I live in a one bedroom apt. I don't go out. I have a 94' yr car. But its paid off. I pack my lunch. I do get wic for the baby but that's all. All of that stuff is my motivation... it keeps me going. I can't tell you how I have been able to make it work, BC most days I'm sure it won't lol..... But I have a few select friends who have helped alot. My point of my rambling is this.....somehow things fall into place. It is ok too fall apart Somedays as long as you get up and keep going the next day. Your kids will still love and respect your decision to go back. Friends and family wouldn't offer, or stick around, if they didn't want to see you succeed and care about you and your kids. It is temporary, and I really think it'll be worth it......we will make it thro :-)
  10. 0
    I just graduated in December 2012 and I was a single mom, too. I worked a full time job as well. This will be the hardest thing you have ever done. But it will be even harder if you are missing your children. Somedays they are all I had going for me...the only ones in my corner.

    Downgrade to a smaller apartment, get on federal assistance, go seek out all available resources. Your school can help you with that, just ask someone. You are trying to better your life so do not be embarrassed to seek financial assistance. You will pay it back to your community when you begin to help save lives and make a difference in the lives of your patients!!

    Best of luck to you!


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