By Athena Skapinakis
April 11, at 10:25 a.m. Tiffany Evans gave birth to her son Mark Eduardo Lopez. He was seven pounds, nine ounces and 20-and-a-half inches.
Evans is a senior business administration major with a focus in human resources. She is in her senior year, expected to graduate in the fall, and nothing is going to hold her back from that goal.
However, being a new mother has proved to be difficult. Evans is doing the best she can and looks forward to graduating next fall.
“I’m slowly getting into the way things were,” said Evans.
She found out she was pregnant last summer. She and her husband had been trying for a baby, and once she visited a doctor, their hopes were confirmed.
“I wasn’t planning to leave school,” Evans said. She fully intended on maintaining her student schedule and sticking through it until graduation.
She did take maternity leave from her job as a manager at Fresh and Easy.
“My husband pushed me to [go back to school].” Evans said that her husband, Alvaro Lopez, encouraged her to continue her education. He doesn’t want her to work the rest of the year and only wants her to focus on school. “He’s my back bone.”
The pair has been married for nearly two years. Lopez said that although his wife considered putting school on hold for the baby, he helped her realize the need to focus on graduating. He feels that it’s “great to see her staying on track with school because many people drop out.”
Lopez said he believes that any woman can continue school and also take care of children if she really wants too. “It’s hard, but it’s not impossible, especially with a strong support system.”
To help her with responsibilities at home, Lopez cooks to ensure Tiffany gets to rest and have some spare time to herself. He praises her for her mastery of multitasking, saying that she always makes sure their son’s needs are met before anyone else’s.
“It’s hard because there is no couple time anymore, and it’s all about the baby,” said Lopez who works in the oilfields. “I work 12 hours a day, and I’m barely at home during the day so Tiffany is with the baby all the time.”
His steady Monday through Friday schedule allows him and Evans to spend some time together in the evenings. The two also make sure to have date nights while Mark is taken care of by Evans’s mom and dad.
“That’s an essential part to a relationship as well. When you have a kid you have to make time for your husband,” said Evans. She believes that it is all about balance.
While Evans is at school and Lopez works, her mother usually watches the baby. She said that in the beginning her mother wanted her to finish school before having a baby, but once Mark was born “all that stuff went out the window.” Evans explained that her mother enjoys bonding with the baby very much.
Often sleep-deprived, Evans gets in naps whenever she can. She usually on gets about four hours of sleep every day, saying that it’s “on and off” while most of her time goes toward taking care of the baby. She often studies and does homework while the baby sleeps.
Evans notes some differences between being a student and being a student who is also a mother. The extra time like taking care of the baby, breastfeeding, waking up in the middle of the night, changing diapers and bathing keeps her busy.
Evans said that her professors were also very understanding and encouraging when she notified them she would be taking time off. She only missed about three to four class sessions before diving right back into her regular 15-unit routine. Professor See has been particularly supportive.
Another professor was able to accommodate Tiffany by allowing her to test later.
“As a student you already think it’s hard enough,” Evans said.
She still keeps up with all of her classes and does her best to maintain focus. This quarter she made sure to space her classes about two hours apart each so that she was able to return home with her baby.
During summer, Evans said she would be looking forward to spending quality time with her son.
“I don’t want to be anymore behind. I want to keep going and finish [school].” Evans is hoping to find work in human resources. She hasn’t decided on the exact direction of where she wants to go, but feels her professor Tom See will guide her.
Tiffany said that she thinks anything is possible, including becoming a new parent while attending school.
“Just keep going and don’t give up,” said Evans.