Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Face it fellow evening students, we have no more bargaining power with our families. A few of us were talking about this on the way to the parking lot after class last night. Your husband made a huge mess trying to clean something up? Smile, nod, and be grateful he tried because you have elected to be away from home, away from your family, and away from your right to have much of a say at all in anything anymore. Your partner is upset because you forgot to (insert any chore here)? Just apologize and do better next time! Let's face it, for those of us who are married or partnered and have kids, we are putting a huge burden on our families. They have to pick up the majority of the slack our absence is creating. This includes cleaning the house, doing laundry, running errands, shopping, taking care of the kids and the pets, yardwork....most everything that we are unable to do due to our work and school schedules. Not only do they get the brunt of the work, but they get no glory. We have the respect of our co-workers and other peers - "Oh, you're in law school and you work? Wow! Congratulations! How do you do it?" They get dirty diapers and the dog throwing up on the floor.

Seriously, though, we are at the 4-week point and many of us seem to be riding some rough waters - both internally and externally. The honeymoon is almost over and we (families included) are getting a picture of what our lives will be like for the next four years (and the legal writing assignments have barely begun!). I sometimes wonder if I am doing the right thing. Is getting a law degree worth what I am putting my partner and my kids through? Is it really going to be worth it? Should I have waited until the kids were older? How the heck am I going to pay back those insane student loans? Can I become a lawyer without understanding Civ Pro? It's hard to have to look into the eyes of my sweet son and tell him that I have to leave him to go do homework, or that I am not going to be home when he wakes up in the morning. It's hard to hear my wife on the phone struggling with our 3-year-old who is testing every limit ever created and know I can't be home to rescue her at 5:00. I know I'm not the only one questioning this crazy thing we are doing. Many of us are going through these struggles. I wonder if the men are experiencing it as much as the women? As women, do we have more of a sense of duty to being at home with our families? Is there still a cultural bias towards it being more OK for a man to be going to school so he can be a lawyer and take care of his family? I have no answers. Just thoughts. I love being in school. I hate that it is hard on my family. If only we didn't need my salary to live on!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Almost Survived Week 2

We have almost completed week 2 of law school and we are surviving. My partner seems to be having a better week this week than last. Our son has been really good this week, and he gets to stay up to see me on school nights. When I get home, we play a bit and then I put him to bed. Makes for late nights for all of us, but worth it to get to spend time together. Our baby girl may not notice when I am gone, but she sure is happy when she sees me. It is great seeing the big smile light up her face and having her reach for me. Oh, she is crawling in earnest now - no stopping that girl! My partner has her work cut out for her!

Classes are still fun. I love the way we are being encouraged to think and analyze. This is so much different from classes where the professor gives you the answers and you memorize them (not that there was a lot of that at my undergrad schoo, The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA). Here, we often hear, "we don't know the right awswer," but they help us look at the things we should be considering. Cool.

An odd thing has really struck me being back in an academic atmosphere - that is the man/woman dynamic and the potential for mating behaviors. (Sounds so scientific.) At work, if you see members of the opposite sex talking, it is still assumed to be work ( maybe it's that we only have 5 men where I work and they are all gay).....at school...well, maybe they are talking about class, maybe they are flirting, maybe they are doing both. This is particularly pronounced at times before the evening students are on campus. I have found myself wondering if I should approach someone I know if they are with a member of the opposite sex. Will I be interupting their flirting session? What if I know they are married? I say man/woman....which I know leaves out the same sex couples, but let's face it, the stats are heavily stacked in the other direction. Besides, hopefully I could more easily pick up on the vibe if it was same-sex flirtation happening. OK - weird line of thought and I am not articulating it well. I'll end here. Must go work on my Civil Procedure homework (aka Civ Pro).

Thursday, September 01, 2005

1L - First Week - Law School Rocks!

I am having a blast in classes and doing the whole student thing after 17 years of being away from academia (well, as a student anyway). We get to examine things in a million different ways, playing "what if" and "arguing" in class. How great is that? We've already discovered the answer to almost every question is "it depends." YES! A school/profession that revolves around my very way of being in the world. This would drive my partner nuts :)

Yet, it is a mixed blessing. It is difficult to be having fun and being excited when I know how hard it is on my family. Monday was a good day for my partner and the kids, Tuesday a bit worse, and yesterday, my study day, not so great at all. I think whether it is a good day or bad day for them changes by the hour. That is not all due to school, of course, that is also a fair description of life with a 3-year old. Still, it is hard for my partner to be the mom-on-duty almost all of the time and hard on my son, who misses me so much. I miss them too, of course, but know that this is self-imposed, so cannot complain too much on that count. I will try to make the best use of our limited time together and know that because I am doing this now, I will be more available for school activities and such when my kids are older. I truly believe that within a few weeks we will all adjust to our new "normal", but it will be a rough go getting there, and I know some points in the semester will be more difficult than others.

It's going to suck having all of my time so rigidly scheduled and to only having one family day per week. It's going to suck when we have to do errands on family day. It's going to suck to not get enough sleep....oh, wait, that's been the past 3 1/2 years! Still, I think there are going to be a lot of fun times. It's fun to be challenging my brain again. Oh, another thing that sucks is the commute. Gotta run catch the bus!!!!