Children don’t always arrive at an opportune time. Some are planned; some are not. When it’s the latter, unexpected change is thrust upon you. Of course, the change
is good in that you are blessed with a little one but, it can also result in a
disruption of your life’s plan. When it’s your education that’s been taken off course, you may wonder if and when to resume your studies. You may have feelings of guilt for leaving the care of your children to someone else while you go to school. First, let me say that I HIGHLY recommend completing your education before having children because it’s certainly more challenging with the little one(s) competing for your attention. But, if you’re reading this blog, odds are children are already part of your life so that advice is not applicable.
My oldest was born when I was a junior in college. It wasn’t an ideal situation but I was determined to continue pursuing my undergraduate degree. By taking advantage of various resources including, financial aid, student housing, food stamps, day care, and a supportive family, I was able to stay on course and graduate from the University of Texas at Austin as planned.
Fast forward seven years, I am married and daughter number two is fifteen months old. At this point in my life, I decide law school is the route I want to take. Because quitting my full-time accounting job was not an option we could afford, I began law school in the part-time program (i.e. night classes Monday through Thursday) at the University of Houston Law Center. After a year and one-half of this grueling schedule, I quit my job, borrowed the money we needed to stay afloat financially, and completed law school in another year and one-half.
The key here is having a husband or significant other that can handle your absence and a great nanny, preferably one that lives with you, to help with the children. If there is no husband/significant other in the picture, supportive family is a plus. No doubt, your absence will be tough on the family but you have to keep telling yourself (and them) that the situation is temporary and everyone will benefit in the long run. After all, time goes by very quickly and you will have completed your education before you know it.
As mothers, we tend to put everyone else before ourselves. It seems to be our nature to do so. However, if you have a dream to pursue an education and work outside the home, you can do so successfully. My oldest daughter is a graduate of Texas A&M and has a post-graduate degree from the University of North Texas. My second daughter,
the one that was 15 months old when I started law school, has an undergraduate
degree from UT-Pan American, works as the Manager of Communication for a national retail financial services company and is the co-founder of this blog. My youngest son is a freshman in high school. All three of my children are confident, successful and happy and can now appreciate the sacrifices I made for everyone’s benefit. I am very proud of all of them.
Bottom line: If going back to school after having children is something you want to do, it can be difficult but it can be done without harm to the children. In the end, they will benefit with a mother that is happy with her own accomplishments and success, apart from raising great kids.