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Single Mom in Nursing School

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by futurenurse06 futurenurse06 (New) New Student

94 Profile Views; 7 Posts

Hi All!

I am not yet a Nursing Student but will be starting nursing school soon. If any other single mamas can address my concerns it would be much appreciated!

My son will be about 3 years old when I start. I have daycare secured for while I am at school. But after that I am EXTREMELY worried about how I am going to study when I have a toddler with me all evening and all weekend. My family does not help, and his father is not in the picture. I would hate to fail out of nursing school all because I simply could not find the time to study. So really here are my questions:

1. If I absolutely have to, I would hire a nanny to be at my home in the evenings to entertain my son while I study. But it would be expensive. Or I can wait until my son is asleep every night and stay up late to study? But that would mean getting maybe about 3-4 hours of studying in a night and I'm not sure that that's enough..

2. That being said, I don't expect myself to be a straight-A nursing student, I simply want to graduate. So how much time should I really be spending a day studying? Is maybe just staying up at night enough time?

3. Or lastly, any nursing student moms out there have any methods of studying while spending time with your child(ren)?

Thank you for anyone who can lend some tips! I will and am determined to become an RN no matter what it takes!

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1 Follower; 137 Posts; 1,354 Profile Views

I can't speak to being in school with a toddler, as I have an eleven year old, but I am a single mom and I'm working full-time through nursing school.

1. I personally think 3-4 hours of studying each night after your son is in bed is plenty, it may even end up pushing you into overkill territory if you're prone to overthinking and overstudying.

2. The amount you'll need to study is very dependent on how lectures are structured and the kind of learner you are. I have several classmates that record lectures and listen to them in the car and as they take notes at home each night. Recording lectures has never done much for me, so I instead focus on reviewing Power Points and keeping detailed notes.

3. I'm not sure how many sports or activities your son is involved in at only three, but I keep my notes in notebooks and take them with me when I take my son to sports practices or parkour training. I always make it a point to take a break from reviewing notes and watch for a few minutes every now and then. It has helped me comment on things I saw him working on, while still having a chance to focus on school.

I also HIGHLY recommend the NCLEX RN Mastery App! I answer practice questions while my son isn't getting playing time on the field or if I have some down time at work. I squeeze practice questions in every chance I get because that is what helps me get into the critical thinking mindset necessary to tackle nursing school exams.

All in all, I think it's very doable to get through nursing school as a single parent (some days are harder than others, because holy mom guilt); I simply remember nursing school is temporary and my son is a big reason I took the plunge in the first place.

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7 Posts; 94 Profile Views

BagelBomber- Thank you! Your response gave me a lot more confidence. I think I was under the impression that Nursing School is going to be like a never ending workload on top of class and clinical and I had moments of serious doubt that it would be possible given my situation. Then again, SO many single moms pursue nursing school so It must be possible.

And ah yes, the mom guilt. I agree with you tho, I chose nursing to better my child's future, and nursing school will only take 4 semesters at my school. In the bigger picture of his childhood, that's not that long.

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87 Posts; 1,092 Profile Views

I have a four year old and I am starting my 3rd term of nursing school. It is challenging but this is how I have maintained high grades.

when I study I will give my son different activities. He has a basket of play dough, kinetic sand, color books, and puzzles. And he can only play with these activities when I studying so it helps keep him interested.

I will let him have TV or tablet time when he done with his table activities so that will buy me another 30-45 min of study time. In between though I try to take 5 min breaks to play with him.

If I am practicing for skills lab I involve him and we practice on his stuffed animals. I get practice with physical assessment and he feels like we are playing doctor together.

I personally struggle staying up late but 4 hours of sleep is doable for some people so it might work for you. But I will wake up about 2 hours before class and study. I find my mind absorbs the most info and I retain it for the test. You will find what works for you.

It was an adjustment my son would have tantrums a lot when I first started but eventually things got better. Like the previous poster said its only for a short period of time and trust me that time will go by really fast!

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7 Posts; 94 Profile Views

2 hours ago, slyvalleygrl said:

I have a four year old and I am starting my 3rd term of nursing school. It is challenging but this is how I have maintained high grades.

when I study I will give my son different activities. He has a basket of play dough, kinetic sand, color books, and puzzles. And he can only play with these activities when I studying so it helps keep him interested.

I will let him have TV or tablet time when he done with his table activities so that will buy me another 30-45 min of study time. In between though I try to take 5 min breaks to play with him.

If I am practicing for skills lab I involve him and we practice on his stuffed animals. I get practice with physical assessment and he feels like we are playing doctor together.

I personally struggle staying up late but 4 hours of sleep is doable for some people so it might work for you. But I will wake up about 2 hours before class and study. I find my mind absorbs the most info and I retain it for the test. You will find what works for you.

It was an adjustment my son would have tantrums a lot when I first started but eventually things got better. Like the previous poster said its only for a short period of time and trust me that time will go by really fast!

Thank you! That's reassuring! I was thinking of doing something similar, finding activities for my son to do to keep him distracted so I can study during the day. Thanks for the tips and good luck with school!

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24 Posts; 415 Profile Views

I went to nursing school as a single mom of 3, youngest was 4 at the time, but I had help from my parents and the older two grew up quick and had to help with the preschooler. I used to take my books and the kids to the park and let them run for hours while I read. Books and flashcards went with me to the dentist, flashcards always lived in the front seat of my car so I could study at red lights. You find every single minute in the day to study.

A single kid, preschooler, will be difficult but lots of moms do it. I wish I could send a fairy godmother to help out, though!

You will probably find that other students in your cohort are in the same situation--you could trade child care time in the form of playdates.

Be aware that your days may start VERY early--like 0530 if you have extended care clinical rotations--make sure that the daycare is available at that early hour.

As a graduate and now a nursing instructor, though, I want to address topic #2-that you just want to graduate, you are not planning on being a straight A student. I must warn you that a good many students who DO plan on being an A student find that nursing school is harder than college ever has been, and now need to settle for being a B student, or even just being relieved to pass. If you are aiming for "C" you may not hit your mark. ALWAYS aim for 100%; then you are able to accept and learn from mistakes.

That being said, 3-4 hours per night is likely sufficient studying time. Best of luck!

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Lurkndmurk has 1 years experience as a LPN.

156 Posts; 582 Profile Views

I had a 2 year old when starting nursing school & survived. I was in the same situation as you. No family around. Baby daddy was MIA. I heavily relied on my friends & their kids to help me with mine because I definitely had to get someone to help watch him so I could study, it was worth it IMO because whenever i did try to study or do homework with him around it would just drive us both crazy- he would want my attention & i couldnt concentrate

You can get creative though. YMCA has day care for their members to drop their kids off to play while you work out- you can just chill in the locker room or whatever to study/do homework while your little one plays.

You can also record lectures/search youtube videos on the subjects you are studying and listen while you play/watch your kid. I did A LOT of that whenever in a bind.

You can also teach your kid these lessons. My kid learned A LOT because I learned by talking it out. He still remembers stuff I would talk to him about lol

If you have a friend with a similar aged child, I would recommend inviting their kid over to play. I would actually get A LOT accomplished hw wise when I watched my BFF's daughter because my kid would have someone to play with

I used to take my kid to places like monkey joes, fenced in playgrounds, etc so he could play while i tried to get stuff done. It wasnt the BEST because I still had to keep an eye on him so it was distracting, but I could get assignments done (slowly at times, but still. better than not)

If you have daycare vouchers, you can always tell your daycare worker that you need time to study.

WIOA helps with low income families to pay for daycare as well.

There's tons of grants you can apply for as well to help pay for someone to watch your LO so you can study.

I would usually get my homework done at night after my LO fell asleep, but that was just me. I liked to study during the day and knock out assignments at night unless i was certain I knew the material well enough to do homework while i had the luxury of 'alone' time

Good luck! You can do it!

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