Parents balance student life with raising children

By Annette Godwin
April 10, 2018

Many college students have to balance classes, quizzes, homework, a job and a social life. For student parents, balancing the daily stress of student life with parenting can be even more difficult. This applies to young adults caring for a toddler and older adults raising a teenager.

Sonja Carassai-Haus with her youngest son Jake. Photo submitted by Sonja Carassai-Haus.

Administrative Assistant of Residence Life at Cabrini University Sonja Carassai-Haus gets up at 6 a.m. Monday through Friday to take care of every in order to be a good student and good parent.

“Being a full-time parent and college student, you have to be very organized,” Carassai-Haus said. “I do a lot of school work after dinner from, like, 9 p.m. to 11 p.m and on the weekends as well.”

Not everyone can continue to go to school after the birth of their child; however, pursuing a better education is a common part of growing up and getting a career to help take care of your family.

“The average college graduate with a bachelor’s degree would get 59 thousand dollars coming out of school,” Carassai-Haus said. “I had an associates degree, [with] which you earn 41.5 thousands a year. The more education you have, the more opportunities you have. You can’t even get in the door without a bachelor’s degree.”

There may be days when parents cannot go to school because their child or children may have off of school or the child may be sick. When the child is off from school, parents who do not want to miss any assignments that were given in class have no choice but to bring the child or children to class.

On days she is sick, I have to bring her to school with me,” Sam Christian, a junior criminology major, said of her daughter. “On my first day of school, I had to bring her to school with me because her school didn’t start until two weeks later.”

Christian balances student life with parent life by making sure her daughter is taken care of first and getting work done when she is sleeping.

Sam Christian enjoys every single moment with her daughter. Photo submitted by Sam Christian.

“My schedule in the morning is I wake up, then I get my daughter up,” Sam Christian, a junior criminology major, said. “When she is eating  breakfast, I prepare her lunch and snacks and also get her books ready for school. After she is done, I hop in the shower prepare myself. Once we both are ready, I walk her out to the bus stop. As soon as she comes home, she does her homework right away. After dinner, we hang out for a little. I do my homework when she is asleep.”

Communication major Dante Fantauzzi said the most difficult part of being a student-parent is being away from his child.

Fantauzzi wishes he could spend more time with his daughter when he is studying. Photo submitted by Dante Fantauzzi.

“Being a dad away from home is definitely rough,” Fantauzzi said. “Having to be away from her while she’s growing up hurts. Being a full-time student has made me miss taking her to her first day of school or going to social events that she’s participated in. So it hurts, the moments I want to share and spend with her [but] I can’t.” 

Parents want to be there for the important moments in their child’s life by sometimes miss out on events because they are trying to get an education.

Fantauzzi and Christian have both missed holiday parties events because of their school schedules.

“The memories I want to create with her, sometimes I really can’t. I have to wait for the weekend to see her or make plans with her,” Fantauzzi said.

Fantauzzi appreciates his time with his daughter. Photo submitted by Dante Fantauzzi.

“I have missed holiday parties, field trips and I’m unable to volunteer at her school because of my schedule,” Christian said. 

Though going to school takes parents away from their children, they do it because the education they are getting helps them provide a better life for their children.

“I’m trying my hardest everyday and working my butt off to make sure that her future is going to be set,” Fantauzzi said. “Like every parent, we want to give our kids everything and I want to give her the best life possible. Every paycheck I get, I make sure to send $60 to her so she can get anything she wants. That’s my baby girl and she will always be my baby girl.”   

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Annette Godwin

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