Dear mama going to school,

I see you. I'm exactly where you are right now. I know the doubt and inner conflict. The feeling like you are a part-time student, part-time mom, but never a full-time anything because your roles are divided. Well, it's not true. You are not divided. You are multi-faceted.

Every time someone asked me this past semester how school was going, I replied with, "It's going" because I didn't know what else to say. How could I possibly explain it was more than the book work, more than the research, the assignments, the deadlines, the word counts and source lists?

It was also motherhood. It was nursing a baby while taking a quiz. Coloring with a toddler at the kitchen table while catching up on required reading. Staying up past midnight after everyone had gone to sleep to meet a deadline. Sometimes sacrificing family time on the weekend because there simply wasn't enough time during the week to do everything.

I have been questioned by some on this new journey of student/mother but also encouraged by many others. Encouraged to involve my children and not feel like I have to "hide" my school work from them or wait for them to sleep until I can work on things. Encouraged that it is good for them to see that mom isn't just mom, she is also a student. That she can do many things at the same time.

The baby may not remember me being in school and taking care of him but my toddler will. On the days he goes to preschool and I ask him, "How was school?" he says, "Good, how was your school, mom?" He also tells me he wants to go to college because I told him that's the school I'm going to. He recently told me that when he grows up he wants to be a daddy and a race car driver. And I encouraged him. Because you get to be more than one thing. We all do.

So, dear mama in school, I know the hardest part isn't the sleep deprivation or lack of time or energy. It's the mom guilt. The lie that if you are a mother you shouldn't be doing anything else and that if you are that your children are somehow not getting everything they need from you. But that isn't true. Because unlike anybody else, you know exactly what your children need. And that is why you go to school. Because you have big dreams not just for you but for them too.

It's okay to be a mother and a student.

It's okay to have playtime and homework time.

It's okay to feed babies and read books.

It's okay to work hard at being a mother and work hard at being in school.

It's okay if you can't meet the expectations of society, or other mothers or even your own.

Because every day you meet the expectations of your children. You are there for them and you are their mother no matter what else you do. Your children know that you are still their mom regardless of how your roles may change and shift. And, maybe you needed to know that too.

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