Woman Holding baby

Mom Guilt: Going to College

in The Word is Text by

by Daniella Flores

Moms feel guilty if they focus on anything else other than their children. As I’m finishing my CSU applications, I received good news. My partner and I were expecting our third child. I had acceptance letters from different Universities, yet I asked myself, do I hold off a year or so to focus on my newborn child? Or should I continue to work towards my bachelor’s degree? Does that make me selfish if I choose to take classes? Moms worry that they won’t be able to balance time with school and family time. In my case, I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough time with my newborn child.

As I began my first year at the University of Cal State Northridge, three days later my baby boy was born. The question that moms ask themselves are, how can I balance motherhood and be a student?  Will I feel guilty focusing on class lectures and homework instead of being with my baby?  In the article, “Motherly” the text says, “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”. This a complete lie that a lot of moms can’t see. Society and Culture add mom guilt for spending time on yourself. You can go to school and still be a good mom. You can spend time with your children and then work on your research paper.  

How do I balance my time with online lectures, doing homework, studying, postpartum, and a newborn? I don’t. There’s no such thing as balancing school and being a parent. But we try our best. I continue to go to school, be a good mother to my children, spend sleepless nights and spend my days multitasking with breastfeeding and doing homework. This doesn’t make us moms less of a mom. In fact, it should make us stronger mentally and physically. Because how cool is it that we choose to work on something that we like while we get to take care of little humans. In the article “Quartz at Work”, the author Lauren Groff was asked a question, “how you manage work and family?’ The author replied with saying ‘until I see a male writer get asked this question, I’m going to respectfully decline to answer”.  For the majority part (compared to men) women get shamed for returning to work or returning to school after having a baby or spending time with girlfriends and night outs. Yet, you hardly hear someone shaming a dad saying he’s working too many hours. Mom guilt has stopped many moms to pursue with their academic plans or careers or simply staying sane. 

I’m not saying to ignore your children and focus on school. What I’m saying is prioritize your children, but work towards what you want to accomplish. According to the article “Motherly”, “it’s okay to be a mother and a student. It’s okay to have playtime and homework time. It’s okay to work hard at being a mother and work hard at being in school”. School is hard as it is, let’s not stress over “mom guilt”. I say prioritize your children because at the end of the day everything we do, including our academic plans and career, is for our children. 

The El Popo Newspaper was first published in 1970 by students concerned about the lack of a Chicana and Chicano perspective in newspapers. As a result, students called the newspaper, El Popo. The paper was named El Popo after the volcano El Popocatepetl. Involved in Chicana/o Movement of the 60’s and 70’s, students saw a connection between the smoke spewing volcano ready to erupt and the student movement ready to engage. Thus, throughout the El Popo’s forty-six years, the name continues to symbolize and to represent the spirit of each generation of students that contribute to the pages of the El Popo Newspaper. Faculty Advisor/Publisher Carlos R. Guerrero, Ph.D.