What To Do When Your Wife Goes Back to School

Are the kids finally out of the house? Has Mom spent the last 20 years being a mom? If so, it’s not uncommon that she may find herself having feelings of futility once the mom duties have dwindled, as most would agree that no job is as important as raising children.

Perhaps Mom had a career before kids, or maybe your family started very early in her life, but either way: 20 years is a long time, and a fresh career is a great way to combat the feelings of unimportance that come naturally when the cubs leave the den.

Here are some tips on how to help make Mom’s transition back to education a smooth and fulfilling one.

Be Supportive: Share the Stats and Facts so She Knows She’s Not Alone

Women make up 47 percent of the U.S. workforce, and that trend gets closer and closer to 50 every year. One place women have eclipsed the 50 percent mark is in collegiate classrooms.

Last year, 56 percent of students enrolled in universities were women, and, for the first time in history, there were more female college-educated workers in the U.S. labor force than men.

All across the U.S. workforce map, women’s roles are steadily increasing. The number of women in executive and C-suite positions in on a steady rise, and though a gender gap in fair pay still exists, it is steadily getting smaller, especially in high-profile jobs that require an education.

It’s proving a good business move, too, as a Harvard Business School report on the venture capital industry (male-dominated) notated that companies who increase their female partner hires by 10% saw an average 1.5% increase in fund returns at the end of the year.

All that considered, it’s a great time for Mom to get a new degree.

And Highlight Powerful Women Leaders to Inspire Her Along the Way

Though it must be mentioned that the percentage is still very low (33 of 500), the number of female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies is, indeed, increasing every year. Some of these female CEOs are in fields historically dominated by men, so if your wife has cold feet about a given industry, let her know about these ladies currently holding the highest office at their car, tech, and industrial businesses:

  • Mary Barra – CEO General Motors
  • Ginni Rometty – CEO of IBM
  • Marillyn Hewson – CEO of Lockheed Martin
  • Kathy Warden – CEO of Northrop Grumman

In addition to women holding powerful positions in science and tech fields like IBM and Lockheed, women-owned businesses are also some of the most profitable in recent years, and the top 50 women-owned companies in 2019 generated $7.2 billion, up from $75 million just ten years ago.

Being a Mom is an entrepreneurial endeavor on its own, so the soft skills are already there for someone who may want to start her own business after receiving an education.

Share with Her Grants and Scholarships for Women Going Back to School

If you already have a few kids in school, the financial aspect of Mom hitting the classroom may be a bit stressful. Fear not, though, as there are many grants and scholarships available for adult women.

Some of these are more specific to the aforementioned STEM (science, tech, engineering, math) fields mentioned above, such as the Society of Women Engineers Scholarship, but there are many non-field-specific grants aiming to help adult women pursue whatever field they choose.

Give Them Time and Space to Focus

Just as the house starts to get a little more boring when the kids grow up and don’t want to play at home anymore, the post-kids house will seem even emptier with Mom’s nose in a textbook all the time. Suck it up and support her studies just as you would your kids’.

Spending time together is obviously still important, but adults need even more time to study and prepare, so it’s best to let the college student in the house dictate when to make the “we” time available.

Being a supportive husband while your significant other furthers her education is not only the correct spousal thing to do, but given the steady increases in female employment, it may even result in you retiring earlier than planned!

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