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College Parenting

Ways to Help Manage Your Life as a Single Mom While Balancing School

Social Services

1. Apply to section eight housing through social services.

There is usually a waiting list, so make an appointment with your local Social Services as soon as you can.

2. Apply for food stamps.

There’s a stigma around food stamps, but more and more stores have started to accept them.

3. Are you are a full time college student who works at least 17 and a half hours a week?

You may qualify for free help paying for your child’s daycare. Talk to your local social services about any of their “daycare assistance” programs.

If you qualify, find out the total amount the state will give out. Not all daycares accept government assistance. So, cross any that don not accept that assistance off your list immediately.

As a heads up, if you’re sick and miss work that week, the state will not pay for that week of daycare.

4. Speak to someone at social services about your insurance.

If you’re still covered by your parents, awesome! You may not be after you move out (in fact you probably won’t be). Apply for Medicaid and Obamacare.

Community Action

1. Community Help

Check with local churches, county groups, and community centers. Put yourself out there and tell them that you’re a single mother trying to finish her degree.

2. College Support

Some colleges might offer different support programs, such as TRIO and EOP. These programs offer tutoring, events, free food, and general support. Speak with a counselor at your school to see if they have any similar programs for you.

3. Mom it up.

Talk with other young moms around town to create your own social network. These moms will be there for you when your car breaks down and you need a lift! Maybe they can recommend a reasonably priced nanny, or be your nanny. They can also give you relatable advice, and maybe be willing to watch over your kid(s) for a couple of hours.

General Tips

1. Agenda/Calendar

Write down all your daily tasks in one place so, you don’t feel overwhelmed or forget any important dates. Here are some examples of things you might want to write down:

  • Doctor’s appointments
  • Rent or insurance payments
  • Classes
  • Assignment due dates

2. Laundry

If you land an apartment with a washer and dryer, do laundry every other night. Don’t get bogged down trying to do five loads of laundry every weekend, or you won’t be able to get anything else done.

3. Budgeting

Budgeting is very important! Ideally, you’ll be paying all your monthly expenses on time, while still managing to put away anywhere from $50-$100 for emergency money. Here are some expenses to take into account:

  • Rent
  • Electric/hot water
  • Day care or babysitting expenses
  • Transportation (Gas, bus fare, train tickets, etc)
  • Food (The general rule is $100 per person a month)
  • Other household items (like toiletries, cleaning supplies, animal food, etc)

4. Cook

You will save so much money by cooking your own food. Cook bulk meals when you have the time to, freeze whatever you do not eat right away or is leftover. Your food will be healthier, tastier, and cheaper than anything you can take out that fits into your daily budget.

5. Find time for yourself.

You are a parent with lots of responsibilities. But you’re also a woman who has needs and has been working very hard day to day. You deserve a break! Give yourself a couple hours a day to decompress. This might be at 9 PM after your kid are already asleep. It does not matter what time, it’s so important that you do something nice for yourself. Here are some cheap/easy things to do:

  • Face masks (Cheaper option: Looking up DIYs online and making your own with household ingredients)
  • Watch a romantic comedy
  • Do a conditioning mask for your hair
  • Exfoliate (You should be doing this once a week regardless of your living situation)
  • Take a nap
  • Get a sitter and go out for a girl’s night

Note: This advice comes from a friend finishing up her degree with three children. Hope the advice helps you in your journey!