The Cruelty of Law School

2 Feb

There is a special kind of cruelty that the families of graduate students know.  I think it’s probably true for any grad school, not just law school, but that happens to be my specific experience.

The first year is tough.  There is so much work that the student pretty much disappears.  You might see them enough to say goodnight before you go to sleep, and if you’re in the unfortunate situation where you work weekends, like I do, you might get to say goodbye to them before you leave on Saturday morning.  Besides that, there’s not much time together.  Exams start and everything ramps up as they study for those first law school exams, wanting to do their best.  And who can fault them for that?

Then comes Christmas break.  That glorious, beautiful, and much needed break after the first semester.  All of a sudden your student is around all the time again.  But there’s also lots of traveling to be done, parties to attend, christmas shopping, decorating… well, you get the picture.

And then second semester hits.  Once again, your student disappears.  And so it continues.

I always have a tough time adjusting when Joel goes back to school for a new semester.  Just when I’ve gotten used to having him around all the time again and sharing those mundane daily decisions with him again, which I have to make by myself when he’s in school – and he’s gone again.  It’s just the way law school is.  But it is difficult.

He’s been back in school for about a month now, and I am still trying to get used to doing everything by myself again.  When you’ve gotten used to having two people share the responsibilities of a household, it’s really easy to feel inadequate when the laundry and dishes and trash starts to pile up, and when you forget to think about dinner for your family until 5pm, when it’s entirely too late to really cook anything and have it ready by a decent hour, considering you don’t have any food in the house because the grocery trips are now all your own again as well.

All three of us were also sick the first couple weeks that he was back in school this semester, so that didn’t help my attitude much.  I found myself, sleep-deprived, foggy, and easily irritated, yelling at my 16 month old for doing something she shouldn’t be.  Not my best mom moment.  There have been several of those over the past few weeks.  Just the same way you have bad days at work, bad driving days, bad cooking days… I now have bad mom days.  Might be the worst of all.

I don’t mean for that to sound complainy.  I’m incredibly blessed in my life.  But the reality is that it is really hard for me to entirely change things like this every 4 months or so.  I suppose I’m a creature of habit.  Maybe we all are.

I am really thankful for a few friends who tell me that it’s ok to have bad days, even bad weeks.  And I know that they mean it.  And even though I know that deep down before they say it, sometimes you just really need to hear someone say those words.

3 Responses to “The Cruelty of Law School”

  1. abbey February 2, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

    Bad days… how about bad weeks or even seasons?? Let’s give ourselves some grace!! I know I need it. It’s tough, some days I tell Frank I’ll go back to work and he can stay home 🙂 You are doing great and Clara is so blessed to have you as a momma and Joel is a blessed man to have you as his wife.

  2. marissa February 3, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    You are right when you say bad days are allowed, Rebecca. You are an incredible mom, wife, friend, and photographer. Thank you for your honesty in this post. My best friend (and maid of honor) is married to a fine fellow who is in his first year of law school. I shared this with her, in hopes that you can both feel less lonely in knowing that others are experiencing it too.

    • Ginny February 6, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

      Yep, you are allowed. You don’t have to be perfect, it’s exhausting trying. I think you’re doing amazing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: