At some point over the next 8 to 11 weeks, you’ll have to decide whether to read The Global Public Relations Handbook: Theory, Research, and Practice for your course or 5-Minute Disney Princess Stories to your daughter.
It sounds like an easy choice, but it’s not.
Anyone raising a child will tell you that parenting involves sacrifices … you have to resist the urge to take a bite of the free kids’ cookie at the supermarket before handing it over, give up precious midnight minutes of sleep debating in the dark whether or not there are wolves in the closet, and forget about controlling the car radio—you will never recognize the name of a current pop singer again.
It’s all doable (even handing over the cookie) for one simple reason: The moment you held your child’s tiny, pink, squishy body in your arms for the first time, you knew that you would do anything to make sure that the life they just started would be the best that you could possibly provide.
That’s why I bet that before you arrived at the crossroads of Global Public Relations or Princess Stories, you stood at another juncture: Stay the course with your career, or pursue an advanced degree and take your expertise to the next level?
In the age of online learning, it’s possible to work towards your master’s degree and pick up the kids at school, make it to a soccer game, and tuck them in at night, because you are in control of when and where you study.
You can trust me, because I know firsthand of the fine balance.
There’s never going to be a “right time” to dive in, so I started my master’s degree when I was working full-time and six months pregnant with my second child. I ended up giving birth during the third week of my second course: I had my daughter on a Monday and didn’t miss that week’s Wednesday and Saturday discussion-board deadlines. (Not that I’d necessarily recommend that, but true story!)
The same flexibility that allowed me to make the most of the maternity ward’s Wi-Fi later allowed me to take the next term off to adjust to life with a newborn and a preschooler.
And going back to school to pursue your master’s degree is an adjustment.
There are only so many hours in a day. To squeeze in the approximately 10 hours of classwork per graduate class per week, you’ll wake up before you make the kids’ breakfast and teach them to attempt to dress themselves so that you can keep up with the week’s readings.
You’ll log-in to your class on your lunch hour.
And, yes, after you read 5-Minute Disney Princess Stories snuggled next to your child in her twin bed, you’ll sit at the dining room table, laptop screen illuminating the room long after you’ve kissed them on the forehead and turned out their bedroom light.
The truth is that unlike Belle, Ariel, and Sleeping Beauty, not everyone marries Disney royalty and moves into a castle without a mortgage, fully equipped with a cook and mice maids. Not only that, but after a certain age, if you want a cookie at the supermarket, you have to buy it.
Even with online graduate courses and being able to study anytime, anywhere, there will be times that you let your kid watch another show on Netflix so that you can finish your final paper.
And that’s OK.
At the end of the day, you’re working to ensure that they have a better future by bettering yourself through education. That, Cinderella, is true love.
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