A Single Mom in Law School’s Point of View:
When I decided to go to law school, my first thought was how it would negatively affect my parenting, as I have a toddler. I would be in class three nights a week with loads more to do.
The experience has been quite the contrary. Law school is different from any other kind of degree program out there. It has, in its own way, made me an even better mom.
After only one semester of law school, there is a lesson that has hit, or rather punched, me the hardest: If you enter a season where your plate will be full for an extended period of time, you must accept that you will not do much, if any, of it well.
I talk to moms that have multiple kids under five that try to do it all so well. I talk to working moms that try to work like they don’t have kids and parent like they don’t work. Generally speaking, most of us are trying to do it all.
And this is so unrealistic.
A former governor told me that he could always sprint, if necessary when he could see the end in sight. Things like hurricanes, elections, etc. all had ending points. He elaborated by saying, “Most people try to sprint on the treadmill with no end in sight and that just isn’t possible.” This conversation hit me hard because that’s exactly what I was doing.
I had similar conversations with a mentor of mine throughout my first semester, calling me out for continuing to do this from time to time.
Here are some examples of ways I’ve peacefully sucked over the last few months:
- I’ve attended class without a great understanding of the reading material. This was terrifying, at first, because law school is exactly like Legally Blonde, where you get called on at random and get asked to leave class if you don’t know what the professor is talking about.
- There are now three nights a week where I’m in class and my daughter is with my friends.
- My family doesn’t hear from me as much.
- My daughter went to “dress-up day” at dance class wearing a mermaid princess nightgown, while all the other toddlers pranced in with elaborate costumes.
- I say no to a lot of things.
- My daughter ate frozen chicken nuggets for every other meal, while I ate canned soup, for weeks.
However, I got to a point where those things didn’t bother me quite so much because I was forced to decide what was actually important and accomplishable:
- If the reading for class that day was harder than normal, all that mattered to me was that I gave the reading the time I had. If I got called on in class and was stumped, I had to suck up my pride and be okay with that.
- My daughter is with my friends three evenings a week when I have class, but she knows when we get home later that night she will have my full attention. She knows she’ll get quality time with me the next day. Oh, and she loves Nanny and JayJays’ house.
- My family doesn’t hear from me as much (and they love to tell me about it), but they still love me and respect what I’m doing for myself and my daughter.
- My daughter ADORED going to dance class that day in her Ariel nightgown. It didn’t matter that the other girls were rocking some awesome costumes because she was happy.
- I say no to things I really do want to be a part of, but I remind myself it’s only temporary.
- The frozen chicken nuggets and soups were all organic… so it’s fine, right?
Sometimes, it’s in our best interest to just suck at some stuff for a while. I don’t think I would have been forced to sit down and accept this, had I not started law school. Life is about seasons, and some of those seasons just require some sucking to keep us and, consequently, our little ones happy.