Why You Should Celebrate Your Mom Going Back to School

Posted February 05, 2014 by
Smiling mother with school belongings carrying her daughter

Smiling mother with school belongings carrying her daughter. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

If your mother wants to go back to school, she is part of a nationwide trend. Many mothers are returning to the classroom after their children are grown. The National Center for Education Statistics found that women over the age of 40 make up nearly 11 percent of the undergraduate student body at colleges and universities throughout the United States.

The Empty Nest Syndrome

Conventional wisdom says that mothers become depressed when their grown children move out. The reality, however, is more nuanced than that, according to the American Psychological Association, which found that mothers often feel an increased sense of well-being during the period of their lives after their children had left home. Many express satisfaction with being able to spend more time with their siblings and other relatives, explore new interests, go back to work, or go back to school.

Personal Growth

Going back to school can provide the intellectual stimulation that some women crave after their child-rearing years. Becoming a student also offers mothers a chance to meet new people and to explore new and old interests. Taking on the role of student provides structure that some women need now that the routines involved in raising children have become a thing of the past.

Potential for Increased Income

A major reason many women go back to school is to get a degree that will enable them to find higher-paying work. A report recently published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that women’s income rises dramatically with an increase in education. In the fourth quarter of 2013, the median income for women who had not graduated from high school was only $390 per week. That rose to $564 for high school graduates, then jumped to $977 for women with bachelor’s degrees. Women with graduate degrees earned a median of $1,170 week.

Increased education can lead to more than increased income—it can lead to increased job satisfaction as well. The more education a woman has, the more career choices she will have available to her.

How You Can Support Your Mother

Going back to school is a wonderful opportunity for your mother at this stage in her life. She’s probably excited and maybe just a bit nervous too. It would mean a lot to her if she knew that she had your support. And what better way to let her know you are there for her than to show your support in tangible ways:

  • Give your mother a special gift that she can take with her and use every day in her new role as a student. Let her know you believe she deserves only the best by giving her a high quality laptop, ultrabook or tablet from a trusted brand, or a stylish backpack from a chic company.
  • Give her the gift of your computer expertise by teaching her how to use the programs or apps she will need to do her work.
  • Give her the gift of your time by offering to be available to talk to her and to give her any help she might need in the early days as she starts to make the transition to her new role.

By Kristine Maldonado

Kristine is an elementary educator who has her eye on the latest classroom-enhancing tech.

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