parens binubus

more than you want to know about a law school graduate/bar examinee who is also raising two children and doing her best at being a partner to her love.

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  • Monday, June 25, 2007
    Precariously Balanced ... or not.
    Law school and motherhood didn't clash very often for me. My kids were cared for full time, and I had relative flexibility in case I needed to be with them extra, or something came up. In the summers, they've gone to X's, but the schedules have varied. Last year, I had them leave pretty early, b/c I thought summer firm would be all-consuming (ha!). The year before, I was working for a judge, for no pay, and no likelihood of permanent employment, and I took some time off around the 4th to hang out with them before they left.

    This year, I've pretty much been hit upside the head with a brick. A huge brick. A cinder block. Perhaps an entire cathedral. Maybe even the moon. The Bar Exam Moon.

    I didn't expect this stress so early on (it's not early on anymore, really, but it was 4 weeks ago, and I was already feeling it). I thought that I'd have less to do in the first month of bar review classes. I thought that I would go to class, and maybe or maybe not study in the afternoons, and it would be FINE. I had people tell me, "oh, it's less than a full time job during BarBri classes."

    Well, it was all bullshit.

    In the first week, I was feeling like I had a lot to do, and soon after that, with the girls' end-of-school-year activities, I was feeling like I was behind. For a good reason: I was behind.

    Things come up when you have kids. Things like, "can I have a friend over," "can my friend and I go to the library?" "hi, mom, sorry for calling, but can I go to the park?" "Mom, did you forget about soccer practice?" "Zuska, it's me, ____'s mom, can ____ hang out at your house for a couple hours because [insert dire emergency]."

    I think that I know [no, I don't just know] that I'm going to pass the exam. I have never failed anything without trying to fail. I am very engaged in class, and very engaged when doing the work assigned to me. I'm not blowing things off. Yet, I worry.

    The people I have surrounded myself with in class are all overachievers. They're all studying 6-7 hours an evening, and one person is studying about 18 hours per weekend.

    So I feel more behind than I am. I'm not doing PMBR questions. Until this past weekend, I was a week behind in typing up my notes. I was behind on essays and on multiple choice questions.

    This past weekend, I worked hard to catch up. I woke up at 6 a.m., and I was working 2 or 3 hours before the girls woke up. On Saturday, I continued to work while they read and farted around the house until around 1 p.m., and then we all went out and had the rest of the day together. Sunday - up early again, and worked at home until Beloved returned home from the gym at 11. Then I went to a cafe until 3:30. The girls went to the pool from 1:30 to 3:30, and I was home before them - again, we had the rest of the afternoon/evening together.

    Yet, while E and I were going for a walk, she said that she's felt slighted. That we only have 2 weeks together, and why do I have to study all the time? That she thought they were home until July because we were going to spend time together, and instead, I'm working all the time.

    So I think, "wow, I need to have some perspective, I need to realize that 2 weeks of less studying isn't going to be a question of pass or fail, and I need to just be with the kids."

    Then I go to class today, realize how much I need to learn, and I think, "wow. I need to have some perspective. I can explain to the girls that this is a) very temporary, and b) very important, and they need to understand that I can't blow it off."

    I think (duh) the answer is somewhere in the middle ... although I am not an over worker. This weekend was the most intense I've ever worked, and it really took very little from them. 2 or 2.5 hours per day.

    I'm finding it hard. The stress of the bar exam and the emotion of the kids - especially with them on their way out the door to X's house - I just can't do the dance like I could in law school. Law school was within my abilities, and I'm not sure this stupid test is. It's just so different.

    Classes I got an equivalent of an A+ in during law school are KILLING me on the multiple choice (I'm talking less than 50%). I don't know how to memorize every element of every issue in every subject. I just don't know how.

    So, I'm struggling.

    Labels: ,

    posted by Zuska @ 8:13 PM  
    • At Tuesday, June 26, 2007 3:07:00 PM, Anonymous Kady said…

      This probably won't change your stress level, but I too was surrounded by hundred hour week over achievers when I was taking Bar/Bri, whilest I was on a kid friendly schedule: I studied until 5pm every weekday, then basically didn't study all weekend. I passed. It's possible to pass without killing yourself. But my biggest suggestion: do the practice questions and essays. Don't do the stupid readings. The readings don't stick, but after you do enough practice, something does click and they get formulaic. Good luck with the rest of your studying.

    • At Tuesday, June 26, 2007 3:16:00 PM, Blogger Zuska said…

      No, that helps! Thanks. I will admit, though I have literally NEVER done the readings. I've done the state-specific distinctions, and turned them into notecards, and that's about it. I try really hard to keep up with everthing else, though - the typing/condensing of notes, the MBE Q's, and the essays.

      My essays are so slowly creeping up with the graders. so slowly!

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