Going to Law School with a One Year Old

Updated on February 23, 2008
N.S. asks from Los Angeles, CA
12 answers

HI Moms,
here is my situation.
When I was pregnant I applied to and got in a couple of law schools. But I deffered one of them. Now the school starts this August and by then my son is going to be one year and two months old. I am planning to go to night program (the school is Loyola Law school in case you have heard of it). I was wondering if anyone else has done it with a kid or has had a similar situation. I am pretty stressed out right now because I don't know how I am going to have time to handle the family and study. Law school is pretty demanding and my boys (my son and my husband) are both hard to deal with also. My other concerns are not being able to spend any time with my husband (he is at work daytime and night time I am at school) and not having enough time for my son. Also financials are a bit of problem; I have to pull out a lot of loans. Any advise? What should I do? What have your experiences been?
Thanks so much

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answers from Los Angeles on


I am sure you can do it!
You just need to be organized, and be prepared for some long nights.
I was in scholl when I got pregnant, I had 3 semesters ahead of me, I did it...it was hard, I had to study, breastfeed, cooked dinner, do papers, read books, but at the end it worked out, I have my degree and I fell very good for having it achieve it.

Good Luck!



answers from San Francisco on


I went to law school before my son was born. Then I worked for a few years as a tax attorney before he was born. After he was born, I worked part time. I've recently left my job to stay home with him. He just turned 2 in November.

Law school is extremely demanding and stressful. I wouldn't recommend trying to go to law school and raising your son at the same time. When I attended law school, I had a girlfriend who had a baby our last year. I'm not sure how she did it. Plus, the first year is the most difficult (and stressful), and if you don't do well right away, it's hard to make up that ground. Lastly, you can always to to law school, but your son will only be this age for a short time. For me, I'd rather have my career goals delayed and be there for my son rather than regret not being there for him when he was young.

I hope this helps.



answers from San Francisco on

Hey N.,
I had my daughter when I was still in school, the semester that I was going to have her I worked really hard to finish early and my techers were very understanding and worked with me. I had her in April and then went back to school the following August. I took classes during the day and had a friend watch my daughter while I was in class. Much cheaper than daycare (and kids get so sick so frequently there) and I still had evenings. I took a light load the first semester to feel things out. In all honesty I didn't think it was as hard as I thought it was going to be. I would much rather be in school than in a job. Just make sure your teachers know your situation and really talk with them, if they know you on a personal level then they are a little more understanding when things come up (sick baby missing class or late assignments). Good luck!
ps- that was 2004 I graduated in 2006



answers from Las Vegas on

Why does this society act like women can have it all? Of coarse you could do both: go to law school and be a mom, but do you actually think you can do both WELL? So, if you were to choose, would you choose not to do well at mothering? I think in this society we need to choose what's good for our children over what we WANT... Your child is only with you all the time for the first 5 or 6 years of his life, don't blow that precious time with him. Even if law school doesn't accept you later when he is in elementary school, oh well! Isn't it worth it to say you accomplished raising a good human being? And, you can't do that if you're not around. I don't care what anyone says about, "We can have it all as American women!" If you think that way you're avoiding the reality that some part of your life will fail (law school or mothering). I certainly have made sacrifices to raise our twins and I wouldn't change a thing. I don't care if it's "night-school," you're going to be studying your ASS off! I think it's all about choices. We, as American women, need to make the CHOICE to raise our children, not necessarily fill our desire to be HAPPY, good parenting is about sacrifice! (And I really hope MamaSource readers don't respond with, "Well, single moms need support their family somehow..." Because I'm not talking about all situations. This situation is already a Stay at Home one!



answers from Sacramento on

I am 22, and I have 3 little boys, so I know what a hassle and how demanding they can be. As far as financial help for school goes, try www.fastweb.com for grants and scholarships, that is what I am doing now. It's a great web site that will ask you some very specific things about you and your parents so they can be sure to give you a list of ALL the grants and scholarships available to you. Congratulation's by the way on Law school! My youngest son was born on 6/16/06..and my middle one on 6/6/05...kind of funny. :) Grats on the new baby too!!



answers from San Francisco on

Hi N.,
I think you can pull it off. It is hard, you already know that. I was a stay at home mom for the most part until I went to law school. I did undergrad as a single mom, but was able to somehow still stay involved.
I am in law school now and I can say it is much much much harder than undergrad. I go to Hastings, and there are a handful of people who are parents as well, even single ones, and there are some that even manage to maintain a pretty normal lifestyle with support from family.
I think the most important thing is to really know that this is what you want.
I wish I could give you better advice, but I have to get to class, and I am exhausted, and I don't even have all of my reading done. I am not sure if my little one took her homework to turn in, my house is a disaster, and no one has gone grocery shopping in a very long time. It's hard to deal with chaos and still study.
I don't know how the curve is at your school, but I can tell you it's killing me. Anyway, there are parents who are going to my school who just gave birth, already have a PhD and their extended family is in another country. People can be tough.
Like I said, too tired to think. This might give you pause, as you will be too tired to think/act rationally.
Good luck.



answers from San Francisco on

Hi N.,

Sounds like you have a lot on your mind and on your plate. I tend to agree with Christine's response - your family has to come first, especially since you have such a small child, not even a year old yet as you wrote your query. Also, if you think you feel overwhelmed now - I wouldn't even think of adding law school to the mix.

A little about my background (so you see I'm not just talking through my hat!)....I finished my university education as a nontraditional student (1st marriage, no kids then), graduated summa cum laude with a double major in psychology and English/creative writing, and now I am happily remarried and a SAHM with a 2 year old daughter. Prior to my marriage and motherhood, I did have a professional career and enjoyed many aspects of that...but surprisingly I don't miss it like I thought I might. The rewards of family living far outweigh the momentary kudos and satisfactions my job used to provide.

Here are some things to think about...

With a young child, I can't imagine trying to take on something with the depth and intensity that pursuing a law degree would require (I tend to be an intense student in any case :) ). I have a good friend (married, no kids) who went through law school, and from all I know of her experiences, it is MUCH harder than I suspect you may be anticipating - it's truly extremely demanding and will consume your thoughts and life. Practicing law is also a very demanding field (if you want to be successful) so things will only get more stressful, not less, once you have graduated and passed the bar exam. (My friend vouches for this!)

I'm sure you already realize that time you spend in lectures/class is the least of what will be demanded of you as a student, particularly of the law - there will be tons of individual study, writing, research, etc. etc. To succeed as a student you must have the time and energy to think clearly, work hard and be uninterrupted for long stretches of time. Similarly, to do well as a mother, you must have the time and energy to devote to caring for your son during his waking hours, playing with him, reading to him, taking him places, exposing him to new experiences and giving him a safe place with you to explore, test and learn....plus meeting his basic physical needs. In a sense, as mothers we are "students" of our children's needs and changing personalities, as well as being their most important teachers.

The difference between law school and motherhood is that your child's wellbeing and development is dependent on you in a very unique way - no one can replace you and the time is fleeting while he will be young and needy. Your decisions (on this and other things) will fundamentally affect your son's life and future on multiple levels.

You are correct to be concerned that you will have virtually no time with your husband as well, if you choose the law school avenue; naturally this would place a strain on anyone's marriage, even if your h says now that he is supportive of your pursuing this course of action. Taking on tremendous loans is also a black mark against this choice - financial stresses are perhaps the leading cause of serious marital strife. I realize that education is expensive but you can plan ahead and minimize the amount of debt load you incur for your family's future.

It's unclear from your post who will be caring for your son while you take classes, study and do research. He is still very young and small, and at his age it will be extremely unsettling to him for your attention to be so scarce and your focus to be away from him so much - he needs both his father AND you to be his primary caregivers right now. The reality of child development means that this will not change for many years to come.

Since you directly asked for advice :), these are my thoughts: why not simply put law school on the back burner for now? You're 23 years old (still young) and thus could easily wait many years and still be capable of pursuing this dream when your son is much older. Since you were accepted already at a couple of schools, you must have the appropriate background education and abilities, and these attributes won't just disappear. If law school is on your future agenda, you and your h can start saving money toward your education (as well as your child's, don't forget!!) and at least make a dent in the costs so you don't have to hang a huge millstone of debt around your necks for years to come after you complete your schooling.

You chose to marry and have a child, so I know you must value your family - and whether we like to acknowledge it or not, successful marriages and children both require a great deal of attention, effort and nurturing to grow and thrive especially in our stressful world (both your h and you bear this responsibility). Relationships and people can't be put on a back burner, not without risk of great pain and loss.

Getting a law degree is a fine objective, but it's not worth attaining it at the expense of sacrificing the peace, love and harmony in your home and your marriage - and it's ESPECIALLY not worth sacrificing your son's natural needs for his mother's focused and sustained attention and love. You are fortunate in having this choice - I do realize not everyone does; some women are forced to work and leave their children in the care of others for most of their waking hours, which is very sad for everyone concerned, even when it's supposedly the mom's "choice" to be a full time employee rather than a full time mother.

N., our kids are young for such a short time in the grand scheme of things, and IMO we owe them the best emotional life and stability we can manage to provide before they reach adulthood, whatever our situation may be. Our choices shape their future! Being a good mother is a full time career in itself, and the rewards are priceless. When I get discouraged, tired, bored, frustrated or at my wits' end with being "Mama," I always think of that old saying, "When you're on your deathbed, what do you want to look back and see that you've done with your life?" The point being that in the end, loving relationships are what matter forever, not money or recognition or "professional success" in any field. That's why I am so confident in saying, "Wait!" ... as long as you and your h are making a good happy home for your son to grow up in, you are doing what is most important in life.

Remember this final thing, too ... you will change and grow over the next several years as well as will your son, and you may even find that your dreams take a different turning as you move forward through your life. :) Much better to put your time and effort into your son and see what dreams may come with time.

May God give you wisdom and discernment in making your decisions, and shower many blessings on you and your family!

S. M



answers from Los Angeles on

Yes I can relate. I work part-time and have my own business as well. My daughter is 2 now and she is a handful. If you are open and looking for ideas to get out of your financial situation, let me know. I may have an opportunity for you. T.



answers from Los Angeles on

To be honest, and this will probably not be a popular opinion...you have a family. It needs to come first. Marriages and parent-child relationships are OFTEN strained when one parent goes back to school. Your son is little, your marriage is important. Law school will always be there, maybe when your son/kids are quite a bit older and would understand. Right now, I really believe in putting family first.



answers from San Diego on

Hi N.,
I totally understand your fear and apprehension. I am a student too, and when i had my son, it changed the way i persused my career. (I'm 23 too and my husabnd is older too) I pursuing Nursing at SDSU and the program is extremely competitive, so i knew i was gonna really focus to get the grades I needed.I prepared my family all the time by saying "next semester,i won't have time" and " i'll need your help, because i'm gonna be really busy" I was/ am exhaused by all the work that has to be done with being a full time student/ mom/ wife/ me, but i knew this is what i WANTED, if i didn't do it then i would be missing out on something big in my life. I believe the most important thing is to have a supporting family, because there will be many days that you won't be able to cook/clean/ or get to the laundry. And your going to feel like a terrible person because you don't see your son or husband enough, and money issues really suck and you'll feel your not succeeding in school like you'd like to. BUT having a good support and determination will help you through. CONGRADULATIONS on your acceptance, that is fantastic! In the end having my son helped in to be even more determined in school and life, so i have bad days but I'm doing this for my family and me. I hope this helped and i'm willing to talk anytime, I feel we have so much in common I would love to talk or give and suggestions that worked for me or tell my experiances. Okay good luck! I know you smart, you got into law school so i'm sure if this is what you relly want then it will work. :)



answers from Yuba City on

My friend did it, and she is a top prosecutor. She however is not married. She said it was tough, but she is happy she did it. My other friend did it, but she aborted her child before begining law school. SHe has been unable to pass the bar and has huge amounts of school debt. So I really think that for you it is an issue where you need to weight all things around you. Take into account that stress can be a pesky booger that will effect you, your relationship and your child. It did for me so I had to make other plans for my career. I was a former law student, loved it, but it wasn't the right choice for my family. I then became a Probation officer and loved it, but I didn't see much of my family. In June I graduate with my masters and I will be teaching. Not a great job money wise, but.. I have already taught and I love spending so much time with my family. WE love it.. So to me I gave up what I really wanted to do, and ended up being happier. Try taking a semester of law school and see how it goes. Talk to attorneys who are women and have children. I know that the former prosecutor for Butte County has two boys and a husband..hope this helps



answers from Honolulu on

I appreciate all the moms saying family comes first, and of course it does. But it seems many think family NOW is more important than the future. I commend you for trying to do something to better your future and you family's.

I had my first and went back to school when she was 13 weeks old, second born Thursday, back to school Tuesday, third born August and back to school for September semester. As soon as I finished, my husband started and worked full time so he was gone 6am-11pm 4 days a week. Is it a sacrifice? Of course!Grueling schdule, but we do what we have to to make it work. Looking back, we were young and poor and we did the best we could with what we had to get us here today... that is financially secure, home owners, in a job that allows me off in time to meet the kids bus, with the ability to afford amenities for our family (like red meat that isn't hamburger or a jump house for the kid's birthday) that we could not had we continued to struggle in low paying jobs. And we aren't talking decades to get here, my oldest was 4 when I finished and in Kindergarten when her dad finished.

It isn't greedy stuff. I think people take for granted what they can afford to do in thier lives. It is great that you are trying to better your life with this. And an added bonus is my children saw my husband and I succeed at something that was important to us and to them. It is a path I want to see my children follow. What an awsome life lesson to example for your son.

All that said, be sure you have your husband and any other family you have's support and understanding of your goals and reasons. After that, don't worry about the little stuff. My house wasn't clean during finals and we had hamburger helper a lot, but the children survive this just fine. And so will you. Good luck to you.

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