Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017
Lariat “Saddleback’s student-run newspaper since 1968” Editor-in-Chief Colin Reef Managing Editor Austin Weatherman News Editor Adam Gilles Opinion Editors Ally Beckwitt Life Editors Maria Marquez Diana Tomseth Sports Editor Hanna Peterson DJ McAllister Media Editor Daniela Sanchez Copy Editor Sam Price Staff Writer Joseph Fleming Faculty Advisers Tim Posada MaryAnne Shults Instructional Assistant Ali Dorri
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A stay-at-home mom at school DIANA TOMSETH LIFE EDITOR
You’ve seen women like me on campus with our cap sleeve dresses or workout gear, comfy shoes and hair either in a messy bun or down in beach waves. We look more like mommy bloggers on Instagram versus the “just out of high school” college students. Sometimes we look lost. We can look out of place, but we are exactly where we belong. We are moms. And we are going back to school. Perhaps it’s no surprise that 4.8 million college students are parents—71 percent of are mothers—according to a 2014 study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. I am in my mid-30s, and I am one of them. I am old enough to be some of your mothers. So what is a middle-aged woman doing back in school? Well, I am here for some of the same reasons as many of you: to learn as much possible so I can land a job in my field. Since I was 8 years old, I have wanted to be a journalist. And I headed towards that path. I attended Cal State Long Beach and earned my bachelor’s in communication, landed an internship at KABC-TV Los Angeles and my first job was working for a newspaper in Arizona. But after all that hard work, I took a long break. It’s been 13 years since I first stepped foot into a classroom. But after being a stay-at-home mommy for 10 years, it was time to go back. A lot has changed in my field thanks to advances in technology, so I needed to update my skills. A community college right down the street was a great way to get the experience I needed while being close to home. At Saddleback College, over 37 percent of students are ages 25 and up, with 25 to 64 year olds making up 35 percent.
Saddleback College offers resources for student parents including the Re-Entry Center, an on-campus daycare and day and night classes are offered, making it easier for moms to choose classes that work for their schedules. Moms go back to school for a variety of reasons, especially financial ones, making it more necessity than choice. One group of student mothers struggles more than others. Two million of them are single, many of whom don’t receive support from a spouse or partner. Single mothers re-entering the
What’s it like at home? Loud. Lots of chaos. The kids need diaper changes, food, hugs and kisses. They need BandAids when they get hurt, advice on how to deal with that bully at school, help with homework, doctor appointments, sports practices and games, help with school, lunches, carpool, plays. Moms are tired. We are exhausted. Somehow we have to fit in time to clean the house, make dinner and study. It is not easy. But, still as hard as it is, kids are not a burden, they are our whole lives. We would do anything for them. They do require a lot of time, love and patience. And help is needed so moms can attend class, study and do homework. If babysitting is too expensive, moms can reach out to grandparents, friends, family for support. To make the decision to go back to school is a big commitment. But we are moms. We are warriors. We are resilient. The point is to be an example to your children. To show them they can follow their dreams and goals. To show them perseverance. And to show yourself you are capable of so much more than you realize. You can do hard things with obstacles all around you. You have school, someday you will have a job. It will all be worth it. All the long nights, reports, studying and writing papers. So be kind to the moms and dads sitting next to you in class. Most likely, they had to make dinner, help with homework, attend their kids’ school sports, take their kids to appointments, deal with tantrums and diapers, all while going to school and doing all that they have to do at home. They are tired, overwhelmed and hope all of this time away from their children will pay off.
To make the decision to go back to school is a big commitment. But we are moms. We are warriors. We are resilient. workforce aren’t graduating at the same rate as married mothers who have support, according to recent studies by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. I am lucky to have the support from my parents and husband. I have four small children. Yes. That is not a typo: four. They range in age from 10 years to 9 months old, and they are all beautiful and amazing, of course. With three boys and one girl, plus myself and my husband, we have a very full house. Making the decision to go back to school is a big commitment. Attempting to study while in the loud house is difficult. Many more fast food dinners. More TV watching than I would like. Less fun than we are used to having. I was always available at the drop of the hat, but now my children must learn patience. And they have been. It’s hard, but they’re very proud of Mama.
Lariat is the student-run news publication covering Saddleback College, part of the South Orange County Community College District.