However, it is becoming more and more common to see some quite unchildlike things poking out of these knapsacks laptop computers, presentation decks and course packets.
From soccer fields to professional fields
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 70 percent of mothers in the labor force worked in some capacity during 2004. In the past five years, women have made a marked move in the highest of high-powered business arenas.
Some of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing corporations have flourished under women CEOs, including Xerox Corp., eBay, Avon Products, Lucent Technologies and Sarah Lee. Interestingly enough, the aforementioned companies not only have female CEOs, but these driven women are also dedicated mothers.
Adults flooding the education pool
Women now account for nearly half of the United States labor force. As a result, we are seeing more moms getting ahead by going back... to school. Whether it is men or women, the National Center for Education Statistics has reported a distinct increase of students who are parents.
Moreover, the U.S. Census Bureau found that six million college students are now over the age of 25, comprising 37 percent of the entire college student population. Of this nontraditional college category, 58 percent of students are women.
One of the reasons why women are able to earn a degree while juggling the roles of mother and dedicated professional is the variety of educational options available to working adults.
Looking for flexibility outside yoga class
Everyday, we are seeing more moms excel as students, thanks to flexible class options, a focus on team learning and an immersion in real-world business situations.
Kim, a mother of three and registered respiratory therapist, went back to school to hone her business skills, with plans of starting her own company. She explains, “When I decided to get my bachelor degree, my husband and I looked for a school that offered flexible options. I had class once a week, which was intense, but manageable.”
Other students, such as Joan, who earned an MBA while her youngest child was also in college, are looking to better prepare themselves for the added responsibilities of a managerial position.
In anticipation of these challenges and evolving professional environments, area schools have perfected detailed business simulations which are led by established professionals from local companies.
We have also found that working adults thrive by learning with others in their same situation. Perhaps even more interesting, we have seen students make their own unique learning bonds. For example, some schools have mother-daughter teams persuing degrees at the same campus.
Lynne Heaggans and Renee Jenkins, coupled with their adult daughters Amanda Heaggans and Maria Jenkins, have excelled in school while working full-time. All four women are friends and attribute their success to mutual support and a strong personal and maternal bond.
As an increasing number of moms sport briefcases and book bags, these motivated professionals have emerged as an inspiration for men and women alike. Juggling family, job and school can be challenging, but today’s dedicated mothers are proving they can do it all, thanks to flexible education and career options.
Eric Ziehlke is campus director for the University of Phoenix-Columbus campus. University of Phoenix is the nation’s largest private university, with over 280,000 students at more than 172 campuses in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico.