Balancing Family and Education as a Military Spouse

mother and childMilitary parents face unique challenges when it comes to raising a happy, stable family. With frequent moves and deployments, military spouses already face an uphill parenting battle, so adding the pursuit of a personal or professional goal may seem like nothing more than one more distraction or a distant wish. In case you, as a military spouse, have dreamed of pursuing an education while still maintaining a healthy family life, we’ve compiled a few tips that have worked for others.

Making the Decision
While the decision to continue your education may seem daunting, understand that it’s not an impossible ambition. Continuing and finishing your education will give you the ability to contribute toward your family’s financial well-being and set an example of life-long learning for your children.

There is power that comes from simply making a decision and sticking with it. As you’re deciding on the career you want to pursue, it can be helpful to begin by listing out your interests, attributes, and even hobbies, keeping an eye toward any that could translate into a future career.

Looking for Schooling
Once you’ve made the decision to pursue an education, your next task will be to find an institution that can help you get the necessary training for the career you’ve chosen. Military spouses in particular may find that pursuing an online course can give them the flexibility they need to manage both their households and families and their careers. This flexibility may be exactly what you need to make going back to school a possibility while also maintaining a healthy family balance.

Another good option may be the My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA), a funding program provided by the Department of Defense for select spouses of active duty Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine service members. MyCAA provides $4,000 of school tuition to military spouses looking to further their careers. If you qualify, look for MyCAA-approved schools. There are even a number of MyCAA-approved online schools, which many military spouses find more convenient than attending a more traditional school. If you qualify for MyCAA funding, a MyCAA-approved online school can take pressure off your family from both a financial and scheduling standpoint!

Managing Family
Once you’ve found a suitable military friendly school, time management becomes a critical factor to your success. Create a schedule and stick to it! Budget study time for yourself, and you’ll find that pursuing an education really is a possibility. Persistence is also a key factor. While there’s nothing wrong with taking a break every so often, make sure you stick to your goals! And don’t’ forget that it’s ok to ask for a little help: babysitters, nannies, daycare centers, and family and friends can all give you a chance to get in a little uninterrupted study time—even if you only rely on them every once in a while. For a busy parent trying to juggle education and family, you face an uphill battle—but you can do it!.

Continuing your education once you have a family can seem like a daunting and even overwhelming task.  But the delicate balance between your family life and your own ambitions doesn’t need to hold you back. With some time, dedication, and a little bit of foresight, you too can achieve your dream of having a rewarding, fulfilling career!

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