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Calling all parents!

IgnatiusIgnatius Alum Member
edited November 2019 in General 382 karma

Any parents out there that are planning on attending law school or who are already in school? Just wanna make sure I'm not alone. I'm seeking some advice and input as to how y'all are faring and balancing parenthood with the rigors of a law school curriculum. I know there are a lot of factors involved, like the amount of help one receives from family, financial position, etc.

My baby will be born in March, and I'm planning on attending law school full time in the fall of 2020. I'm a bit anxious, but determined. Not sure how much help we will have from family, and my wife will be working about 60-70 hrs a week.

So, how will y'all manage? And, for those of you already in school, what advice do you have for maintaining your sanity?

Thanks in advance. You guys are awesome.

Comments

  • AudaciousRedAudaciousRed Alum Member
    2689 karma

    No idea on how to make it work with a baby, but I am a parent. Luckily, my kid is old enough to do basic functions and use a smart phone, so not as big a concern on them surviving. However, I do remember the baby days, and I will say this: use your tribe. Family, friends, whoever. Use all and any help offered. All those people who said they would love to babysit? Well, now is their chance! Grandparents? Bring them in. Use any and all resources you can.

  • IgnatiusIgnatius Alum Member
    382 karma

    @AudaciousRed, thank you. That is great advice.

  • kisham7kisham7 Member
    29 karma

    I have a soon to be 3-year old. My husband and I will just figure it out as we go along and with lots of prayer LOL!

  • ChardiggityChardiggity Alum Member
    336 karma

    Find out if there's an affinity group for older law students at your law school. UVA even has one specifically for parents/families. If there is one, ask about resources & their own experiences as law student-parents in the city & school. My mom is retired and is willing to move in with us for at least the first year while I find my footing, but if that falls apart for some reason, we will consider using school loans to help either subsidize our income so my spouse can work part-time, or hire help in the home, whichever makes more sense for our situation. No babies here, but multiple children.

  • lsatplaylistlsatplaylist Alum Member
    5244 karma

    The Law School Toolbox podcast has some episodes on being a parent and a law student. :)

  • IgnatiusIgnatius Alum Member
    382 karma

    @Chardiggity, thanks for your reply. Some good advice here.

  • IgnatiusIgnatius Alum Member
    382 karma

    @lsatplaylist, thank you. I will take a listen to that podcast.

  • axjxmarvelaxjxmarvel Alum Member
    158 karma

    Following! Also a parent of a soon-to-be 3yo (hi, @kisham7 !) and will be entering in fall 2020. Can’t speak to the rigors of law school, but I began my studies for the LSAT shortly before my son was born in February 2017. Took my diagnostic on my due date - it was a great distraction, LOL - and then studied hard for about 6 months while I was on leave and working part time. I remember bringing him to our local coffee shop and working through the Powerscore Bibles while he slept on me in a sling. I didn’t reach my goal score that September so deferred for another year.. and then another. Here I am heading into the November LSAT and I can tell you that the number one thing that has saved me and allowed me the time to study for the past several months has been the fact that I have a supportive partner. So while I can’t speak to how to balance law school and parenthood yet, I imagine the ability to lean on your spouse/family will be incredibly important.

    Congratulations, by the way! You have a lot of joy ahead of you. And I think with a March due date that gives you and your wife time to get out of the haze and sleepless nights of the newborn phase before beginning law school in the fall.

    Will you be working as well? Have you determined your child care situation? I know you mentioned you’re unsure of how much family help you may have.

  • Lana KaneLana Kane Alum Member
    176 karma

    Not law school specific yet (I don't plan on starting until Fall 2021) but I've got 2 kids and had them while my husband was in medical school. Similar amount of work, crappier hours. We did it with no family or friends around to help as we moved for med school and at 30 & 32 didn't have a lot in common with his classmates.

    Realistic expectations. My first was 9 months when my husband started and our 2nd was born at the end of his 1st year. So they were babies most of the time. I stayed home the first 2 years and then went back to work when the youngest was 1. With two busy parents some things are just going to fall by the wayside and you have to be ok with that. Find quick and healthy meals and eat them on repeat, don't cook anything that takes more than 30 mins. Your house might get messier than you like, it'll be ok. For the next three years your main goal is survival, that's it.

    When my husband was home he was helping. 95% of the childcare and home was my responsibility but he would come home if he could and then work from home once they went to bed. Yes he had to study, and in the later years he had to work 80+hrs a week, but he was never "too tired" to help out when he was home.

    He's even busier now that he's in residency, hence why I'm waiting until he's finished for law school, but we still follow all the same rules.

  • IgnatiusIgnatius Alum Member
    382 karma

    @axjxmarvel, I will not be working while in law school. However, I may consider a part-time program to help with the baby. We have not yet figured out the childcare situation either. At times, that aspect makes me very anxious, and other times I'm just kinda indifferent while thinking it'll work itself out. My mom is retired, so she may be able to help for a weeks at a time. We were also considering a daycare, but we'll have to see if we can afford whatever options are available. Thanks for your reply.

  • IgnatiusIgnatius Alum Member
    edited November 2019 382 karma

    @LanaKane, thanks for your insight. I know some docs that had children while in residency, and I was always dumbfounded how they juggled such a demanding work schedule and family. It definitely helps to have a supportive spouse as you know better than me. Overall, the jist of the advice I've received outside this forum is "you'll just make it work," which is seemingly unhelpful, but also reassuring in a way through its simplicity.

  • Hopeful9812Hopeful9812 Legacy Member
    872 karma

    I'm not sure if this was mentioned above, but something to consider is that some schools (I don't know about law schools in general, but this is definitely the case for other graduate programs) offer day-care services while parents attend classes. Again, I'm not sure how accurate this is across schools, but quite a lot of my classmates in grad school would drop off their kids at a university affiliated daycare before attending classes. This might be a question to consider when speaking to potential students who are already in the law schools that you are considering. Also many of my friends have had babies while in grad school or prior to grad school. It is tough but they've all made it work and so will you! Good luck!!

  • Lana KaneLana Kane Alum Member
    176 karma

    @Ignatius I'd start with the childcare situation and go from there. That is really going to determine the path forward more than anything else. We were in a situation where we couldn't afford childcare for 2 kids even if I was working, so we decided I would stay home until they were older and the cost of childcare dropped. The day to day functioning will work itself out as you go, who gets the kid up and ready in the morning, who does bath while the other cooks, etc.

    If you can't secure affordable, reliable childcare then you guys have some serious talks ahead. The only reason my husband has been successful at his career, and he has told me this so its not exaggeration, is because I put my career on hold to take care of things at home and the kids.

    One your baby is born you guys will find a new rhythm and you'll get a taste of that "making it work" and it won't feel so daunting!

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