Life is a lot easier when both partners work full-time. You have two incomes and therefore twice as much disposable income to spend, which means extra money to spend on vacations and all the nice things in life. So what happens if your spouse decides to go back to college for an online social work masters?
It can be hard for both partners when one of you takes the decision to go back to college. There are many reasons why this might happen. Perhaps your spouse hates their job and wants to study for a masters in social work so they can have a more fulfilling career, or maybe they need a further qualification to improve their earning potential. Either way, your job is to be as supportive as possible and help them every step of the way, because that’s what you signed up for when you got married.
When your spouse goes back into education, their decision will have far-reaching consequences. Your income is halved and you become the primary breadwinner. It will also decrease the amount of quality time you spend together, as every spare moment for them will be spent studying and for you taking care of family and home. However, you are a team, so here are some strategies to help you get through this difficult time.
Work Out a Budget
Since money is going to be tight for a while, you need to work out a budget – and stick to it. Write down all of your expenses and figure out how much money you have left at the end of the month. If there isn’t any, see if there are any ways you can supplement the family income, perhaps with a second job. It’s going to be tough for a while, so be prepared to live as frugally as possible until your spouse finishes studying. The good news is that once they have earned their qualification, they can start earning again.
You are going to have to be super organized if you are taking care of the home, doing the childcare, and holding down a job. It won’t be easy, but the more organized you are, the smoother things will run at home.
Make Time for Fun Family Time
It is important that you make time for date nights and family time. All work and no play makes everyone depressed. Allocate one night a week for family time. You don’t need to spend much money. Take it in turns to choose a movie, make some popcorn and sit down on the sofa to watch the action. As for date night, cook a nice meal, light a candle, and enjoy some uninterrupted snuggle time once the kids are in bed.
Keep the lines of communication open at all times. You will both feel like ships passing in the night for a while, so it is important to stay in touch. Use text messaging, leave cute notes around the house, and if something upsets you, talk about it.
Going back to school is stressful for everyone, but this difficult period won’t last forever, so keep smiling!