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Single Mothers in College Stretched Thin

Balancing schoolwork, housework, and parenting is not easy by any means.

Audrey Bowers

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The Atlantic says that single moms in college spend up to 9 hours a day on housework. While being a mother is difficult in and of itself, parenting and going to school at the same time is not a cakewalk by any means. Almost 2.1 million mothers have to balance parenting and schoolwork as obtaining a college degree is necessary to even be hired for an entry-level job.

Due to the demands and constraints they face, these mothers don’t have enough time to complete all of the work that they need to do. “Single moms who are enrolled in college full-time spend about two hours a day on active child care, six on supervisory care (meaning time spent looking after their children while doing another another activity such as cooking or cleaning), and about two hours on housework; all told, these women are spending upward of nine hours a day on care and housework.” This leads to sleep deprivation, lack of exercise and virtually no time to socialize.

In an IWPR study, nearly half of women who attend community college and live with children said they felt likely to drop out. “Single mothers in college are doing double and triple duty to make a better life for their families,” said Lindsey Reichlin Cruse, a researcher at IWPR, in a release that accompanied the new report, “but too few have the support needed to juggle the competing time demands of college, parenthood, and employment.”

A possible solution to this prevalent issue is to allow mother’s to have more time for themselves by having child care. However, finding affordable and reliable childcare isn’t easy. In 2015, fewer than half of both public four-year institutions and community colleges had campus child-care centers. And when those centers did exist, there was often a waiting list for their services.

Some colleges have produced programs specifically for these types of students, but there is much work to be done. For example, they can offer financial aid and accessible childcare.

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Audrey Bowers recently graduated from Ball State University with a B.A. in English. Bowers is currently an MFA candidate at Butler University. They are the editor in chief of Brave Voices Magazine and formerly the assistant managing editor of The Broken Plate.

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