Melissa Tanner is a senior studying family and consumer science and mother of two. Tanner will also be graduating at the end of this semester with her bachelor’s degree.
Q: How long have you been a mother?
A: For two years and eight months. I have two kids, a 2-and-a-half-year-old and a 1-year-old.
Q: What difficulties have you experienced while juggling school and raising children?
A: Homework has been really hard. Trying to have the energy to do my homework after going to classes all day and work and then coming home and taking care of the kids. Then I go to bed, and then I’m just so tired that it’s hard to do homework.
But there’s babysitters; obviously, it’s hard to try to find a babysitter. Luckily, my parents are here now, and so they watched the kids while I’m at school, but … (my husband is) gone half the year, so usually it’s just me and them, just feeling like I’m fulfilling both duties well enough.
Q: What two or three things have been the biggest help to you through raising children in college?
A: My parents have been the number one help, because luckily they retired, and moved out here to take care of my grandma, but then they just ended up watching my kids too. That’s been a huge help. And then, my husband obviously supporting me through school.
There’s been a lot of times I’ve wanted to quit and just stay home with my kids, but my husband, and then bishops, and then a lot of inspiration, revelation, just encouraging me to keep going; otherwise I would have stopped a long time ago.
Q: Did you ever feel judged or looked down on for having had children this early and in college?
A: Yes, actually. I was just talking to my sister, and when she found out I was going to have kids — well, her and my brother — when they found out I was going to have kids while being in school, they both told me that it was a stupid idea and that I was making a bad decision, but people here don’t usually look too bad on it.
Q: And what advice would you give to other parents who are currently raising kids and attending college?
A: I have found that when I focus on my family and focus on the gospel, everything gets done. I used to stress and think, oh, there’s no way I can get it all done. And even still that stress will come up and be like, oh, I have so much to do. But I have found that if I do my best and I give all I can to every area, somehow it all works out and everything always gets done. And you can graduate. You can do it. I know a lot of girls do drop out because raising kids in college is hard, but you can do it. Just try.