21 answers

Going Back to school...is It the Right Time?

Good Morning,
I am faced with making a really hard decision that I feel is a "catch 22". I was recently accepted to law school and was very excited, until I began making plans for my eight year old son. Due to the fact that I will have to continue to work to support the two of us, I will be in the Evening Program. For the past few years, I have taken my lunch to pick him up from school and take him to an after-school program. I then pick him up from the program when I get off work @ 5pm and we either go to football practice, track, boxing or whatever activity he's participating in and then home for homework and dinner. His father is barely around anyomore so for the next 4 years, I am going to need family and friends to pick him up from school, and I don't want to impose even more by asking them to commit to taking him to various activities.

Additionally, I will not have much time to spend with him anymore. My classes will be Mon-Thurs. 6-9 somtimes 10, so by the time I get out of class, he will be asleep.(I am trying to have someone at my place so that he can be home at bedtime and I won'thave to wake him every night to take him home).

The catch 22 is, do I go to school now, to provide a better life for us later, and afford to send him to college, or do I wait until he's in high school, when he's older and more self sufficient to pursue my law degree? I envy those if you who are stay @ home moms, I would love the option of going to school in the evenings when dad gets home from work, but that is definitely not an option for me. So please keep that in mind when replying.

BTW I am also looking for scholarships for single or working moms returning to school. I am also a minority, so any suggestions on where to look for scholarships would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Between a Rock and a Har Place

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I just finished my first semester of law school and my son and I both survived:) My sister picks him up from school and instead of me breaking his sleep and picking him up at 10pm, on the nights I get out of class late, I have him sleepover and I get to her house before he wakes up in the morning. It's been rough, but I'm managing and he's happy to be with his cousins, being an only child. I'm sure he misses me sometimes, but I make up for it every chance I get. It's semester break so we just finished playing Wii Sport and watching movies.

Thank you all for your responses and advice. I absolutely loved the advice about creating an email address for him and communicating that way. I haven't done it yet, but it's definitely on my things to do list. Actually I think I'll do it now. Thanks so much!

Featured Answers

Have you considered doing the middle of the road thing, just taking one class at a time? It really isn't any easier as a stay at home Mom. I started my classes when I was a single mother and I took one class at a time to minimize my time away from my son. I would highly recommend this way of doing it, it would make it affordable, and you would be a part of his life for the next 4 yrs. If you start full time in the evenings, it doesn't sound like you would be involved with him much and that would be awful for him and you, it might take longer but a lot can change in 4 yrs and maybe you could start full time next year for the year after. You don't need to give up one to have the other.

More Answers

T.,

It is a very hard decision to make and my heart goes out to you. I too have an 8 year old son. If it was me, I would wait until your son is just a little older. Right now they still need us so much and they do not understand why we are not there. Spending time with them when they are young is so critical for our bonding. Not only that, but before you know it he will be all grown up and you'll miss it all.

1 mom found this helpful

Congrats on getting into law school. I am president of the Oakland County Women's Bar Association please feel free to contact me (____@____.com) if I can help! The Women Lawyers Association of Michigan and the Straker Bar Foundation offer scholorships.

I would consider reducing your class load to 3 nights per week and/or considering asking your employee if you could take one class during the day.

When I was at Wayne State...there were sometimes kids in attendance at the night classes...so don't feel bad if you occassionally have to bring him. Why not find an activity on the weekneds? Or limit to one activity per week. I think your son will understand.

Parenting for single parents and working parents is about making sure your child understands they are loved and QUALITY not QUANTITY time.

What a wonderful example you will set for your son about working toward a goal!

Good luck... and let me know if the WBA can help you in any way. We will be running a mentorship program in the fall.

1 mom found this helpful

Congratulations on being accepted in to law school!!! I wish you all the best. It doesn't matter when you go back to school... it will be difficult and you will feel guilty about not being with your son more often. My advice is to just be open and talk to him about what you are doing while you are gone from him and why. Try to make the time you have with him meaningful. Make a promises that you can keep so that he can look forward to some one-on-one time with you. For example, "We will eat dinner together every thursday night. Saturday mornings are just for spending with you." Etc. Also, plan ahead so you can make all of his important events like his school award ceremony, or his game.
It will be hard, but you can still do what is important for the future and let him know you love him today.
Again, best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi T.,

Congratulations on being excepted to law school. I was in a situation many years ago where I considered law school. I was a single mom working full time then I went to part time work/full time school when I decided to finish out my Bachelor's. I made some sacrifices, but it was worth it. I graduated with a Bachelor's in Legal Administration out of UDM and after that, I worked as a legal assistant. I considered pursuing a Juris Doctor, but once I found out from the professors at the school and the attorneys that I worked for what was involved in law school plus the work load that a new attorney would have, I opted out of pursuing my Juris Doctor. The schoolwork is time consuming and so is the homework, but well worth all the effort if you really want it. And, I was told that as a new attorney, I would have to probably work over 70 hours a week starting out in the profession. I'm not suggesting that you not consider this path--in the long run, it will pay off but it requires a huge commitment because it is a profession you are gearing toward, not just a job. The great thing about being an attorney is that you can always work for a firm or even work as a sole practioner, never leaving you without a way to support yourself, so it is a wonderful career choice that opens many doors to opportunities like government and politics. If I were you, if you haven't already, make an appointment to meet with the school counselor who runs the law program to discuss your situation. I think worse case scenario, that if you even go part time to law school, you'd be better going that route now than waiting until your little boy is grown up--slowly, you'd get there rather than put it off for so long and then who knows what can happen in the meantime and you may never get to go back to law school. I would ask the counselor about possibly moving to on campus housing where you could live with your son and have your son go to school while you're in school. Would it be possible for you to quit your full time job, live on state assistance, move in with family or move on campus with possible daycare for your son while you fulfill your dream? I know a few single parents who are going that route now just to finish school so that they can have a career. I received great advice from the counselor that I spoke too at the school when I worked to get my Bachelor's. I also left my full-time job, moved in with my folks, worked part-time, put my child in daycare and collected MIChild for health insurance. Once I explained my situation, the school counselor prepared a program especially for me and set me up with financial aid and state help. As a single parent, you are entitled to alot more financial/state aid than if you were not a single parent. They should also give you information at the financial aid office about scholarships and minority funds. Check into it. Doesn't hurt to ask. The school counselors, I'm certain, come across situations like yours and can offer advice.

Sorry if I rambled too much, but hope I helped some!:)

M.

1 mom found this helpful

Have you considered doing the middle of the road thing, just taking one class at a time? It really isn't any easier as a stay at home Mom. I started my classes when I was a single mother and I took one class at a time to minimize my time away from my son. I would highly recommend this way of doing it, it would make it affordable, and you would be a part of his life for the next 4 yrs. If you start full time in the evenings, it doesn't sound like you would be involved with him much and that would be awful for him and you, it might take longer but a lot can change in 4 yrs and maybe you could start full time next year for the year after. You don't need to give up one to have the other.

ask yourself...what would I want him to do if it were his life?
You are setting the example for him. Personally, I would want my child to take any amazing opportunity that came his way, and not put it off hoping that it will come around again. You can't bank on the future, you never know where it will take you... you know in your heart that you can do this, and what it will take.
Law school is huge...and you should be so proud of yourself!! He will be proud of you too...

Kudos!
Just between us, I went to the Academy of Court Reporting 3 years ago. I surprised myself and far excelled my expectations as a Legal Administrative Assistant. Deans list 3 times, etc. Wow!

But to your dilemma, is there any way you can do any of the classes online?

Obviously I cannot tell you what to do all I can do is share my experience with you. When I was 7 my mom and dad divorced. After the divorce my father was hardly, if at all, in the picture. My mother decided to go to back to school full-time and work full-time. Needless to say my brother, sister and I rarely saw our parents. That was 22 years ago and my sister and I still talk about how we wish our mother would have waited to go back to school - we needed her more at home. People say its not about the quantity its about the quality of time - its both. This is a very crucial time in his life. I hope this helps. Good Luck.

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