Ever since I decided to go to law school, I've been experiencing deja vu. Seriously, I have had the exact same conversation over and over again, with many different people. It seems that, when people find out about my plans, 95% of them ask this question: "What about the kids?" Generally this is said in a disapproving or condescending tone. Some brave souls will even go further and attempt to explain to little ol' me just exactly how hard this is going to be for the kids. Others venture further and lament about how hard it will be for my husband to take care of 3 kids and work full time. Almost without fail, when said individuals find out that my children will stay with my parents during my husband's working hours, they drone on about how wonderful it is that my parents are willing to "raise children" again while I complete my education.
Now, I have been ranting about and discussing this with my two best friends, but have thus far spared the online community. However, having discussed this topic with other mothers in the program, it seems that we are all experiencing this same display of sexism. So, I will share my rant with you all, as well:
Granted, I have been a full-time mother most of the time that I have had children. I love it, I truly do. Unfortunately, at this point in time it makes no sense for me to continue to be. I need to be able to earn money and I'm not going to work my ass off for minimum wage when I can have my law degree in just three short years. So, my husband, myself and the children talked it over and decided that this is the best course for improving our family's situation.
These ignorant people never asked "what about the kids?" when both my husband and myself were working full time jobs. As one of my classmates, also the mother of 3, said today, "you could go to work at 7-11 and they'd applaud you for 'working to support your family', but if you try to go back to school to get a better job and life, you're being selfish and abandoning your children". And, for the record, I do know how hard it will be for my husband. There was a time when I was a homeschooling mom, while working a full time job and being a full time student.
During the time that my husband and I were both working night shifts, our children had to stay with my parents, just as they will while I attend school. However, now that I'm in school instead of working it means that my parents are raising them? WTH? And, if one more person asks me if my husband will "babysit" while I take classes, I will scream. It is not babysitting. They are his children too...it's called parenting!
Granted, my being away from my family for most of the summer is a huge departure from our normal routine. I've never been away from my kids so, yes, it is hard. But it will be worthwhile in the end. These mean spirited, judgemental jacka....sorry where was I? Oh yes, these wonderfully well meaning people act like I'm locking the kids in a closet and forgetting about them for 8 weeks. Hellloooo people, we have phones, webcams, etc...they can talk to me everyday. Besides that, they will be coming out here for part of the time. That's not really the point, though. My complaint is this: none of these people, not one, said any of these things when my husband traveled for work. There were times that he was gone for a couple months at a time. None of these supposedly concerned people asked him whether or not I'd be able to take care of the children while he was gone. He was never lectured about how it can be hard or damaging to the children to not see him everyday. He was never accused of abandoning his family. No, he was praised for trying to make life better for us.