Diapers to Degrees

My journey from teen mom to lawyer


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On Procrastination

So you have something important to do. The deadline is fast approaching. You know you have to do it….but then it hits you.

The fridge hasn’t been deep cleaned in 2 months.

What kind of human being doesn’t deep clean their fridge for 2 months!? At this moment, what could be more important than purging the fridge of outdated salad dressings? This immediate concern must take precedence. You scrub the sides, wash out the drawers, reorganize the contents by food group… And then it hits you.

There are no more apples.

How have you been surviving without apples? Seriously! An apple a day keeps the doctor away. You don’t have time to get sick. This requires an emergency trip to the grocery store. There are so many kids of apples. Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Red Delicious….delicious…. And then it hits you.

You have not made a delicious dinner for your family in years.

Do you really call yourself a mother? Home all day and can’t even muster up a home cooked meal from scratch. Pathetic. The only way to remedy this is to make your grandmother’s famous lasagna. And don’t forget the chocolate chip cookies.

Oh, and whatever important thing you had to do.

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Return of the Blog?

“Summer is already better, but the best is autumn. It is mature, reasonable and serious, it glows moderately and not frivolously… It cools down, clears up, makes you reasonable…”  —Valentin, Finnish writer

I’ve always loved fall and its imagery. Although it marks the end of summer’s growth, somehow it feels more like a beginning to me. This is especially true for the present year. 

Before I can blog freely and for the sake of continuity in Diapers to Degrees, I feel obligated to recap the summer.

Graduation Day

I worked a night shift at IHOP, threw on my cap and gown, grabbed a cup of coffee, and graduated.

I know I should look back on graduation with a certain glow of pride and warm feeling of satisfaction, but I’d be lying if I painted it in that light. I completed my undergraduate degree in 3 years. For half the duration, I took online classes with UMUC and then transferred to the University of Maryland College Park for the remaining 3 semesters. My first class started in September of 2011, when Luke was only 1 month old. Looking back on those early days, I’d probably call myself crazy. I remember typing papers on my iPod while holding Luke as he slept in the rocking chair…the only place he would really sleep. The transition to College Park was rocky. The commute was long and tiring and it took weeks for Luke to let me leave for class without crying. I also had no intention to do anything with my government degree. It was simply a prerequisite for law school. Either way, my degree is sitting in the packing tube on top of my fireplace. I did it!

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I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland College Park on May 23, 2014.   

Summer Break

The summer was rather uneventful, just as I had planned my last weeks of freedom before law school to be. The end of break culminated with my annual trip to my hometown in Newfoundland, Canada. It was lovely seeing family and unplugging from “real life” for a little while.

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Luke’s 3rd Birthday

My baby turned 3! As in 3 years old! I’d write more but I am having a hard time accepting that my sweet little squish is an actual human now.

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Pre-school & Law School

Luke and I had our first days of school together. Its been a tough transition for us both but we are finally settling into a routine. Its special to me that we get to share this experience. Every day on the car ride home we talk about our days. He tells me how he learned about the weather and ABCs and I tell him how to determine if a taking at preschool is common law larceny. He still lights up and yells “Mommy!” every time I pick him up. There is simply no better feeling.

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In between motherhood, law school and an attempt to have a social life, I hope to find some time to return to blogging on a more regular basis! Thanks for reading and happy fall!


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Diapers to Degrees- A Reflection

There has been a post sitting in my draft folder for the majority of this semester. Ultimately it is a post for me as a necessary reflection in my journey of Diapers to Degrees, the blog and in life.  This was a difficult post and I’m not sure if I’ve done it justice, but it at least deserves the chance to be said before this class formally ends…


 

Up until my pregnancy, I had never truly felt like an outsider.

               I am heterosexual.

               I am from an upper-middle class family.

               I am often viewed as conventionally pretty.

               I am white.

It is impossible for me to reflect on my journey through motherhood without recognizing my privilege in society.

In comparison with so many other young mothers, I have had it easy and I am aware of this. I am able to continue onto higher education due to the financial support of my parents. I work, but it is not necessary for my survival. It is a choice. I do not think most people that know me would claim that I am not a hardworking individual, but perhaps my hard work simply goes further.

Despite my privilege and the amazing support system I have in my family and close friends, being a young single mother is sometimes just plain hard. It can be isolating and frustrating. At an age where you are supposed to find yourself, you are required to simultaneously shape the life of someone else. You constantly have to fight against teen mom stereotypes and prove yourself as a mother. Finding your place and making friends is discouraging as your experience does not fully connect with the average teen or the typical married mother. You must make difficult decisions about personal relationships. You will have to make sacrifices. It won’t always be fun and it won’t always be easy.

But it’s okay to be mad. Or down. Or to think about what ifs. It’s okay to reflect.

This is what blogging has done for me. It has created a space where I can pause and take an honest look inward. I wondered early on in my blogging journey if I was hiding behind the humorous tales of my son’s adventures. Those stories were easy to write and gave a picture perfect snapshot of my life, but they remained at the surface. Breaking through that barrier is tough but I have come to accept that it is necessary for my personal growth and is a normal part of the human experience.

So I’m not a perfect mother. I’m not afraid to admit that sometimes I wish I could be a carefree 20-something. I make mistakes and have bad judgment. I can be cold and closed off. I lose my patience at times.

But that’s okay — because at the end of the day, I know I’ve tried damn hard to be the best mother I can be.

As this chapter of my life comes to a close with the conclusion of undergrad and the end of the baby and toddler stages, I am excited for the journey that lies ahead. I know it won’t be easy and that I’ll continue to make mistakes but I’m determined to make it. And the best part? I’ll have the greatest little partner in crime by my side through it all.

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Blog Takeover- Toddler Eyes Only

Dear Toddlers of the World,

If you are a grown up, STOP HERE. This letter is for toddlers only!

It’s me. Luke. While Mom was napping and letting me play iPad games, I finally saw my chance. It was really easy to hack into the blog, especially considering my mom uses the same three passwords over and over, all a variation of my name. She’s not the brightest crayon in the pack sometimes!

Anyway I need to take this time to relay my expert knowledge to you all. IF YOU ARE A MOM AND YOU HAVEN’T STOPPED READING, STOP NOW OR BE CURSED WITH A YEAR OF POTTY TRAINING FAILURE!!!

Here it is guys-

The Secret to not having to Sleep in your own Bed

My mom is so cute. One of her first blog posts was a brag about how she got me to sleep in my new big boy bed so easily. She actually thought it was a permanent thing! LOL! Here’s how you get out of that dirty diaper.

The process is simple and you only are required to sacrifice 3 nights of your precious mommy sleep.

The first night of the transition, go to sleep perfectly with no midnight wake ups. In fact, do a little midnight wake up, but put yourself back to sleep within a minute. Your mom will be so impressed. This is good. Her contentment with the night will turn into over confidence.

The next night, she will be so cheerful putting you to bed. Don’t mistake this for a good thing. She is only dreaming about how now she will be able to watch TV and eat ice cream while you are stuck sleeping your life away in your “cool new big boy bed”. Go to sleep with minimal fuss but definitely ask for more stories than allowed. Aim for 6. That’ll get her flustered. After you settle in, wait about half an hour until she is just getting to the good point in her TV show, then scream at the top of your lungs, MOMMY!!! She’ll come running up with her concerned face and ask you what’s wrong. Creativity is key here guys. The sheets are too scrunchie, the air is too noisy, your pants are too blue. Make it something that’s not easily fixed. Then ask to pee and to have a snack. Your next wake up should be scheduled for 2am. Bear with me friends! You will only have to sacrifice one more night until you are back snuggling next to your mommies!

The third night is crucial. Take at least an hour to settle in. Run away, protest the bath, spill your water all over the bed. I don’t care what you do, as long as you can stretch out an hour of stalling time. Repeat last night’s wake ups, but add one more at 3am. Refuse to go back to sleep. This is where wars are won, where the babies are separated from the toddlers! Your mom may threaten extreme measures but you must not give in. Think of how hard you’ve worked to get to this point. She’ll be exhausted and reluctantly take you in her bed. GO TO SLEEP IMMEDIATELY!!! And snuggle for bonus points.

In the morning, make sure you are doing your peaceful dream pose and sleep in! Let her wake up and find you resting like the adorable angel you really are.

Here’s a demonstration photo- this was yesterday.

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This level of faking takes skill. Don’t worry, you’ll get there with time!

Best of luck friends! I know you can do it!

I’m signing off before she gets suspicious!

Your Pal,
Luke


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Happy Mother’s Day

I wasn’t ready to have you.
At 18 I had other dreams.
But here you were, a life new.
Growing, stretching, breaking the seams.

I didn’t know if I would make it.
How could I do it all?
But I learn each day, bit by bit,
And we grow—I refuse to fall.

I didn’t believe there could be love so strong.
That sacrifices would come so easily.
But now I know the mother’s song.
Unconditional love until I cease to be.

I love you baby Lukie.
You mean the world to me.
I’m so glad I have the chance to say,
Thank you, my little boy, for this Mother’s Day.

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Lessons from the 90’s

I’d like to take you on a journey back in time. Don’t be nervous. We are going to that magical decade.. the 90’s!

Play this on our trip for maximum time travel results–

 

Now presenting….

Lessons We have Learned since the 1990’s

 

1. Hats have decreased in size.

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2. Cars have upgraded

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3. It just takes more to be cool

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4. Matching outfits are no longer acceptable

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5. Playing in the leaves is timeless

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6. There have been a few advancements in technology

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7. Outdoor pictures must be artsy

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8. Mommies have changed their hairstyles

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9. Car seats have come a long way

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Its been said the more things change, the more they stay the same.

 

Keep smiling 🙂

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Origins

My name is Robyn and I suffer from the love of Nostalgia. I’m not sure if this is an actual disease, but it can be incredibly debilitating when trying to clean a room or write a #tbt blog post. (Hence why this Throwback Thursday is being published on a Sunday).

This week’s blog challenge was inspired by our class discussion of memory. The task was to take something analog and convert it into a digital memory that would be preserved on our blogs. To accomplish this, I looked no further than my night table where I keep a shoe box full of memorabilia and journals. I loved writing and reading as a child and admittedly kept a diary for much longer than the average girl. My infatuation with writing began at an early age, far before it was en vogue with the voice-activated lock password journal of the early 2000’s. The hit toy didn’t really work out for me anyway considering my younger sister could easily hack into the inferior voice matching technology. The journaling continued into my teenage years and became more complex as I developed as a writer. The original entries about juvenile childhood crushes turned to a space to vent about problems or ask questions about the world. There was even a brief flirtation with poetry that made a special appearance between entries, particularly in moments or grief or sadness. Eventually and rather unfortunately, I learned the only way to safely store information was in your mind and I stopped writing in journals.

My first diary was a classic key and lock book. I began writing in this diary during my final year of elementary school at the age of 9. This is the only surviving journal I saved and I am so glad I had the foresight to understand I might appreciate it someday!

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Here is the very first entry in the diary:

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I’ve transcribed it for your reading ease–

 Jan 23, 2003
Today was the worst day of my entire life. In P.E. Mr. Ryder, the coolest teacher on Earth, had a substitute. Her name was Mrs. H. When we came in she told us to sit on the circle and no talking, criss-cross, and no fooling around. We played dodge-ball with balls the size of baseballs and as light as a feather. She put two people out because they weren’t on their bottom. We had to stop playing dodge-ball because she was tired of watching it. She asked us what to play. We said soccer–no too complicated. Capture the flag– I’m not getting cones. That narrowed it down to two games: Fruit, which she plays with her second graders, (they loved it) or duck duck goose. Then she said we will play fruit.
“Uhhhh… What you do is I tell you a fruit, remember it, when I call it try to catch the other people that are the same fruit as you and you can’t pass your place. Uhhhhhhh. So if they tag you, you go in the *cramped* middle.”
“Mrs. H, how do you get out of the middle?”
“You can’t for the rest of the game.”
That stinks. We have to play stupid fruit.
My friend asks to get a drink sweating with red blotches over her face. NO. Second time, NO. Third time she has to go to the bathroom. NO, nobody’s going to. Line up straight with your feet touching. No talking. Face forward.
I have a headache on the bus now. We go over a ton of bumps and I feel like I’m going to throw-up. WOW. What a wonderful day. I found out she was the old PE teacher.
*This is the actual diary entry containing only minor grammatical and spelling changes*

 

Clearly, I had a bit of a flair for the dramatic at age 9.

Looking back at these journals has reminded me of how much I love to write and explains why the idea of a blog is so appealing to me. As this semester is drawing to a close and the academic obligations to this blog will shortly end, I hope I will make the time to continue to write and perhaps even come to a place where I can someday consider myself a writer.