When I decided to go back to school after having my daughter, I thought I had it all figured out before I even started: I would just, ya know, drop off my kid at school, and then go to school myself, and then go pick her up, go home, do her homework, then my homework, and... wait... also make dinner... and a shower! Yeah, we need showers, both of us. And oh, also I need to have a job, so somewhere in there I'm going to work a full day. And then I'll put her to bed... but I guess... I just won't go to bed... at all? Yeah, this is totally easy, no problem, handled. Han. dled.
Clearly, when I decided to go back to school after having a kid, I (like most people) totally underestimated not only how much being a student would affect my parenting life, but how much being a parent would affect my student life — and how much juggling both of them would affect every other aspect of my life. None of that is to say that it isn't totally worth it; It is, and also it's more than a little awesome that I get to have additional common ground and shared experiences with my child because we're both students at the same time. (Granted, her school experience and my school experience are obviously dramatically different, but... not as different as you might think. Let's just say that a**hole teachers and know-it-all teacher's pets are essentially the same no matter if you're in 3rd grade or grad school.)
Being a parent is a difficult job no matter the context. But there are some twisted crevices in hell reserved for the job of parenting while being in school — it's so hard, and exhausting (and yes, worth it, but still). Whether you are finishing a GED, starting college for the first time, going back to school, or finishing up your PhD, the world of parenting and academics collides in a special sort of way. So, as I raises a glass to you heroes of the late-night study sessions while trying not to wake the kids (yes, I’m toasting myself here), these are some of the things only parents who are still in school will understand: