Mother’s Day 2022 Tribute to Texas Law Moms

Law school certainly is a challenge in itself, but couple that with the responsibility of raising children at the same time, and it seems like a role for a superhero! Several law students who are moms first point to the love and support of their families as key factors in managing their years at Texas Law. For Mother’s Day 2022, we honor moms everywhere and the many law students who have mastered the art of juggling their dual roles. Let’s take a moment to get to know three of these special women.

Kensy Family on vacationDiana Kensy (2L)
Children: Caleb (5), Mila (3), and Emma (2)

What inspired you to pursue a law degree?
Prior to law school, I served in the Army as a sexual assault victim advocate. I started on my law school journey in hopes of building upon my work in victim advocacy, and I’m really excited to be joining the Texas Law Domestic Violence Clinic in the fall.

How has being a mother impacted your law school experience?
I thought I was decent at time management before — but being a mother in law school with three little ones took my time management to a whole new level. Even with a solid routine, balancing dual roles can mean lots of early mornings and late nights. But returning to school after having kids has made me truly appreciate the opportunities that come my way, and I’m just grateful for the chance to build a new career.

What life lesson(s) do you believe you are modeling for your children?
I hope my kids realize that becoming a mother doesn’t require you to abandon your dreams. Deciding to go back to school after starting a family can seem daunting, and parenthood doesn’t always align perfectly with our professional lives (cue the last-minute childcare scramble courtesy of coronavirus). But every day, I seek to strike the proper balance between school and family, and I hope I’m showing them that they can do it too.

What advice would you provide to mothers who are in or are considering law school?
I think mothers can be so inherently concerned about taking care of everyone else that we forget to take time for self-care. You’re a rock star for pulling it all off, so don’t forget to give yourself some grace when the to-do list piles up. Those pesky tasks will still be there tomorrow, so in the meantime, make yourself a priority and do something that makes you happy.

Schwertner familyBelinda Schwertner (2L)
Children: Carson (22), Zachary (21), Matthew (20)

What inspired you to pursue a law degree?
I was inspired by my youngest child who has known he wanted to be a lawyer since he was in elementary school. He is very smart in a way that doesn’t even make sense … always very logical. So, after taking a career break from being an OB/GYN physician to care for my children, I decided to return to work. I knew that I didn’t want to go back to being a doctor, but I was interested in the law and hope to combine these areas in a meaningful way.

How has being a mother impacted your law school experience?
During my 1L year, my youngest child who was a freshman at Cornell University, also was doing college at home because of Covid. We both were undertaking a new phase of our lives together. At times he would tease me for how long it took me to do certain tasks, but we supported each other. I think in that regard I benefit more from having children than not as a law school student. Sharing that experience was a gift to me too.

What life lesson(s) do you believe you are modeling for your children?
All my kids have turned out amazing … I am very fortunate. In fact, my oldest, Carson, will be a 1L here at Texas Law next year! I chose to go back to law school because I know life doesn’t stop when kids leave home and I wanted to create future career opportunities for myself. I love learning. I want to use medical degree and law degree to do good for other people. I think showing my children that it is worth taking a risk to expand yourself is a great message to share with them.

What advice would you provide to mothers who are in or are considering law school?
Don’t feel bad about doing something for yourself by going to law school. Your kids will always know that you are there, taking care of them … you are not going to lose that bond. Don’t worry you aren’t going to be a great mom; because you will be a great mom. As long as your children know you’re there when they need you, that is the most important thing. Take care of yourself because it benefits everybody when you’re on a good path.

Valentine familyAlyssa Valentine (3L)
Child: Eliana, almost 4

What inspired you to pursue a law degree?
I was in the Navy prior to law school, and I’ve always known that public service was what I wanted to be doing. As the urgency of addressing climate change became more and more obvious, I decided that I needed to be working on that issue in some way, so I decided to pursue a law degree with a focus on environmental law.

How has being a mother impacted your law school experience?
It has made it more difficult in some ways, of course. My husband is also working on his master’s degree and working full time, so we have had our hands full. I can’t spend my evenings working on schoolwork because I have a young child to take care of, and if I want to work on the weekend, we usually have to hire a babysitter because my husband has work he needs to do as well. It has also helped me focus, though, and remember that my family is the most important thing in my life, not law school.

What life lesson(s) do you believe you are modeling for your child?
My daughter has been a bit too young to understand exactly what’s going on, but she knows that mama works hard, and I think when she’s older, it will inspire her to work hard as well. I also hope that even though I was busy during law school, I was able to model for her that she was always one of my top priorities.

What advice would you provide to mothers who are in or are considering law school?
I would say definitely talk to your professors if you have childcare issues or sick kids or anything else that comes up. A lot of them have kids too, and they understand that these things happen. Definitely form a study group with your classmates and find people who are willing to do it during the day at school. It can be easy to get disconnected from your classmates when you don’t live in the same area as they do and have responsibilities after school, so a study group is a good way to stay connected.