Our newest contributor, Pam focuses on philosophical musings and inquiries into the nature of how humans learn and categorize things. This article, however, focuses on a very common theme here at AU – the balance between caring for children and continuing education. With the AUSU Student Mom’s Club boasting more members than any other club, the relevance of this topic is clear.
Few students, no matter how bright, would claim that post-secondary studies are easy. I’ve come across a number of individuals, and not merely an insignificant minority, who struggle with one or two classes per semester simply because finding motivation to do homework can be difficult. Even if you’re managing five or six classes per semester, let’s face it–paying vast amounts of money to learn things most of us won’t remember in a few months, not to mention years, is not exactly enthusiasm-inducing.
Few parents, no matter how energetic and patient, would claim that having children is easy. The sleepless nights, the perpetual responsibility for people half your size who all too often forget the importance of gratitude–the experience can be frustratingly unrewarding. For those of you not yet blessed with the 18 or more years of responsibility that comes with childbirth, believe me, you don’t know what it’s like until you’re there.
That said, I’d like to bring to everyone’s attention a special human achievement of the 21st century–the student mom. Student moms take two extremely demanding situations and somehow manage to make the sleepless nights, the emotional stress and the perpetual lack of motivation work. And what’s more, so many of them not only maintain top marks, but take the little time they have for themselves and use it to volunteer. Many have jobs on top of everything else. To me, that’s nothing short of incredible.
Even more remarkable than these commendable student moms are the student single moms who work, part-time or full-time, to make their lives and that of their children’s function. These are individuals who from inner strength derive (somehow) the time and energy to raise their children and improve their intellect, yet who manage to remain sane, at least most of the time. I admit that the inspiration for this article comes from living the struggle that comes from full-time education, part-time work, and 24 hour per day responsibility of parenting, but I’m not talking about myself. I only have one daughter. I’m talking about the single moms (and even the married moms) who have more than one child and a million other things to take care of (a lot of the time, this includes husbands!). These are the individuals who, as much as they might like to or intend to, cannot spend their evenings relaxing, partying, or volunteering. And the lack of that last option – volunteerism — is probably what prevents these hard-working, incredible individuals from being properly recognized and celebrated.
I have had the fortune of joining and participating in AUSU’s Student Mom’s Club (founded by a commendable student mom) and interacting with the amazing moms of AU. They’re around us, everywhere, waist deep in the struggle for survival. Over the past few years, I’ve read numerous articles stating that women, despite societal progress, cannot have it all–it’s a matter of choosing between career and family. To these people, I say that right here at AU we have women who have it all and more. They’re a credit to humanity.
All I ask is that the next time you hear a woman talking about how she had to stay up until four in the morning to finish writing an essay because her child was up sick the entire night prior (this is to be distinguished from individuals who stayed up all night partying), let this woman know how amazing she is. Because student moms are nothing short of superhuman.