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Author Topic: mom and dad in school full time...possible to do this daycare-free?  (Read 1475 times)

mom_to_mackenzie

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I've been reading through some older discussions here about juggling parenthood and law school, but I'm wondering if anyone has started law school in a similar situation as I will probably be in next year.

My husband and I are both 25, and our daughter is 9 months old. He is a stay-at-home dad and I work full time. I decided not to go to any of the [all private] schools that admitted me for this fall, mainly because the hugest loan I could take out would not leave us with enough money to survive on.

So, I'm going to reapply for next year and my husband is applying to Ph.D. and MFA programs. My question is: Has anyone managed to keep babies out of daycare while both parents are in school full-time? Is it possible to have opposite class schedules so that someone can always be with the child? Am I crazy to think that we can pull this off?

Any words from the wise would be much appreciated.

mbw

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It may be possible, but potentially much more of a hassle (and hence much more stress) than it's actually worth.  From what I've heard from every law student I know, 1L is a full-time job.  I know people who do it in a regular 40 hour work week, but none who do it in less.  And law school schedules are pretty full - I'll have classes every day, sometimes from 9am until 4, with an hour break here or there - certainly not enough time to run home and let the other parent go.

Many law schools will allow you to take out loans not only for tuition+living expenses, but for day care.  Your child will be over 2 at the time - the age than many children begin to benefit from more socializing experiences.  What about part-time care, so your spouse could take his classes part-time in the am or afternoon, without impinging upon your law school schedule? 

I've had five kids, and for much of the last 12 years have been a SAHM (with some periods of seasonal, i.e., bi-annual campaign) work thrown in.  My spouse now works mostly from home, but has periods of international travel for 1-2 weeks.  He already knows that this is my time to pursue my career, and it's his responsibility to figure out child care when he has to travel.  It's really hard for both people in a partnership to pursue their own goals at the same time without there being major compromises - and I honestly don't think it should always be the woman who does the compromising, though it often seems like that's the case.
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saradsun

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Extremely unlikely for your first year. First year classes are simply assigned at all schools(at least to my knowledge). If you aren't real picky about what you take, though, you might be able to swing it 2 and 3L.

oh hiya mbw! didn't notice you had replied here too. Look at me avoiding last minute studying for my property final tomorrow :)

just dot

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I agree with both mbw and saradsun.  I find it very, very unlikely that you could make that work and keep 1) decent grades and 2) your sanity.

One of the toughest decisions I made was to put my children in daycare.  I was a SAHM for 5 years before I returned to law school.  However, I've been very pleasantly surprised at how well my children have taken to it.  Do a lot of research, find an excellent daycare, and meet the teacher that will be with your child.  Make sure you have a good rapport with that person and your child likes them.  Put your child in daycare a full month before you are scheduled to begin law school.  (A friend gave me that advice- I ignored it and was sorry)

Of course, only you can make this decision.  You just need to do a LOT of research and fully appreciate what a big deal law school is.  I also have a Masters degree and law school is 1000X more intense than regular Grad school.  It isn't easy, but it can be done.  I have no regrets.  My children and happy and so am I.
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mom_to_mackenzie

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Thanks to each of you for the responses. I've been thinking that mbw has a great point in that day-care--especially a part-time arrangement--could actually be beneficial for our daughter once she is well into toddlerhood. I've also been looking at schools that offer a bit more flexibility than your average law school, and that may turn out in our favor, too. Thanks, again!

Alamo

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I have a daughter who will be 2 in July, wife is a PhD candidate (just about finished), and I graduated last weekend.  She was writing up her dissertation during my 2nd 2 years of law school, and it would have been extremely difficult without daycare.  We took the "mortgage-our-future" approach, and will have large loans to repay when we get out, but let me tell you--it's a great motivator to do well in school!  And our daughter has loved her school/daycare arrangement, it's been great for her development--both language and emotional (learning to share, etc.)--I think it will really help prepare her for dealing with younger siblings.
I must admit that I may have been infected with society's prejudices and predilections and attributed them to God . . . and that in years hence I may be seen as someone who was on the wrong side of history.  I don't believe such doubts make me a bad Christian.  I believe they make me human . . .