It is Friday, my routine of going through the long list of unopened emails started a few minutes ago while taking care of a sick kid next to me. This is what motherhood looks like for me: caring for my kids and juggling to accommodate routines, schedules, work, studies, and starting a business. I work from home, research online, and organize my day around school hours, short meetings, and long nights. That is how I survived motherhood and college, that is how I am starting my business. It is all a balancing act.
From a dozen of notifications, just a single email caught immediately my attention: “The Motherhood Equation in Higher Education.” The article highlights the increasing, yet ignored figure of mothers on college campuses.
Dr. Shai L. Butler talks from experience, pointing out the need for affordable daycare on campus, not only in the corporate world. The more students see other mothers on campus, “with their children, teaching courses, leading in the C-Suite, or conducting groundbreaking research,” the more they understand the importance of maternal leave or paternal leave for the labor force.
She poses excellent questions on the importance of educating women, especially teenage mothers who wish to attend college despite the challenge of raising a child. She talks about her experience of moving with her child to attend college because she knew that “education was [their] ticket out of poverty and crime-infested neighborhoods.”
“It’s important for us all to know that there are student-mothers on our campuses that care very much about earning degrees to lift their families out of poverty.”
Dr. Butler stresses that having affordable daycare close to colleges (or workplace) facilitates the advancement of women because mothers can focus on studying, complete research, and submit deliverables because they know their child is safe and close by.
Colleges for Students with Children.
According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, in 2017, almost five million students across the nation had dependent children ( read the study here ). A figure representing about a quarter of all college students, and an increase of 30% since 2004. Motherhood should not be an impediment to have a degree. However, the number of graduation rates of student parents is lower than peers without children.
Fortunately, some colleges are child-friendly, with family housing, on-campus childcare, scholarships, and other support programs. While some of the resources are free, others have a reasonable cost.
Misericordia University, Dallas, PA. The University offers a very supportive environment for student mothers. The university hosts the Ruth Matthews Bourger Women with Children program, one of only eight of its kind in the nation.
College of Saint Mary, Omaha NE. Focuses on single mothers, has the most progressive student-parent support programs in the nation. Mothers Living and Learning provides not only housing and childcare but monthly life skills workshops.
Follow the link to read the full list of Colleges for Students with Children.
I took comfort on what I love the most, my kids, and my research, and after months of soul searching, I ended up with a starting point for rediscovering my skills, my passions, and a blueprint to achieve my goals at my own pace. I found my compass.