Back to School Challenges

Q: I never finished college and have recently gone back to school now that my kids are older. I’m in a very intense program, and my kids have been very supportive. Lately, the work load is twice as much as expected, and my kids are beginning to complain that they never see me and are having a hard time adjusting. It’s crushing me that I can’t be there in the same capacity as I have for much of their lives. I feel like an absent mother who is neglecting her kids. How do I navigate this? -Karla, 42

Dr. Anna: It sounds like this program is more work than you planned for. Listen to your children and let them know you hear they’re unhappy and that you’re feeling stretched thin too. Think about whether it’s possible to scale back next quarter. In the meantime, schedule special no-screen-time dates with them. Taking an hour a week to really be with and listen to each of them may help both of you feel more solid in your relationship. If you can show your kids you’re listening and working to make some changes, it may help everyone settle down a bit.

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