i reserve the right…

…to change my mind. Cause I do it often. But my problem is that I tell everyone of my Major Life Decision as if it’s permanent when it, in fact, is not.

The Major Life Decision that I informed everyone of was that I was no longer going to pursue the law degree. I was having a bad couple of weeks health-wise, and really doubted my ability to be a good mother and a good wife and a good student without losing my mind. I thought that just focusing on one degree was the best thing for me and my family.

But this week I’m feeling better and I’m freaking out. Cause when I feel good, I feel like I can do anything. Not in a bipolar type of way, but in a confident-that-I-can-do-the-things-I want-to-do kind of way. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to go to law school. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS. But law school is pretty different from grad school. And I was (and still am) scared of my ability to cope with the lack of flexibility and the competition along with the pressures of having little kids.

And another part of the decision was that I have a lot of mommy guilt and I want to be the best possible parent I can be. The problem is that the picture I have in my head of the best possible parent is really not a person I think I would be really happy being. Like when I look at the stay-at-home moms I live around, I just think, “how cool – those kids get to be with their mommies all day” and think about what a great bond that must be. But on the flip side, I think I would go crazy if I was with my kids all day and not able to do this academic, intellectual work within this structured environment that I really enjoy doing. And then I think, “well, why did you have them if you didn’t want to spend time with them?” and my answer is, “I do want to spend time with them but there’s a tipping point when enjoyable becomes really [insert word that means not enjoyable here] and having a happy mother has to be more important than simply time, right?” And this conversation keeps going on and on and on.

So last week I convinced myself that I really didn’t WANT to go to law school because I really wanted to be this kind of mother. But the truth is, I really DO want to go to law school, and I really DO want to be that kind of mother, but I also KNOW that being that kind of mother, while it would be nice for my kids, the downside would be I would not be a very nice person to be around. It’s like it’s better for them for me to have a certain amount of selfishness and actually still doing those things I wanted to do even before they got here.

But it wasn’t just about them – I thought about other things I want to do in my life, like having another baby, and I couldn’t see how that could happen between law school and the PhD. I wasn’t sure how I would feel having to go back to taking classes that I didn’t really want to take but rather had to take. I was afraid of not being able to stay with my kids when they are sick – the baby’s been sick all week and while I’ve been able to take time off to stay with her, could I afford to miss a whole week of classes at the law school?

But I’ve always wanted to go to law school. There is something about the law that fascinates me, and I want to know it. And it doesn’t hurt that law professors make 3 times what soc professors make (thanks ORJ for that realization) and I have two kids and expensive taste. I don’t want to ever regret a decision but I also want to strike the right balance between my family and my dreams.

Somebody said a few weeks ago that parenting is not supposed to be hard, but if it’s not hard, you ain’t doin’ it right.  I feel that way about life too, and if you noticed, that last sentence offers no solutions.

So I find myself in the position of having to inform everyone of my change of mind (I think), when if I’d just kept my mouth shut in the first place I wouldn’t have to do so. Did I mention that I actually informed the law school of this? Thank you to the professor who informed them that I mistakenly made a rash decision and I really wanted more time to think about it. I swear, I am the most talkative introvert I have ever met.

3 thoughts on “i reserve the right…

  1. Good for you. Just tell folks this time that you realized you’d made the wrong choice when you understood how much you regretted it, and that for now you want to keep all your options open as long as possible. This really is the kind of thing that you can’t necessarily know up front, you have to find out as you go what the right thing is.

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  2. It seems like you’ve figured this out already, but since I’m in the middle of studying for finals and I’m still loving law school, I wanted to chime in…

    It is absolutely possible to combine law school and parenthood. If you manage your time well, which you clearly can do, and if you keep the work in perspective, you will be shocked at the amount of spare time you have. There are definitely people who seem to be studying for 18 hours a day, but biggest key to 1L seems to be avoiding the temptation to study as much or more than these people. A normal amount of SMART study six days a week seems to suffice just fine.

    Also, it helps the competition/academic pressure IMMENSELY if you end up at a law school with no grades – and I believe your prospective law school just adopted a no-grades policy, didn’t it?

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