Getting an Education as a Single Mother

“It is so important that you young men and you young women get all of the education that you can. The Lord has said very plainly that His people are to gain knowledge of countries and kingdoms and of things of the world through the process of education, even by study and by faith.”

~Gordon B Hinckley

Thrasymachus is skeptical of the role of reason in establishing morality/ethics. His claim…

Mom! Abby peed on the couch! MOM?! MOM WHERE ARE YOU??? I need you quick!

…is literally that “morality is nothing other than the advantage of the stronger party”.

In looking at this exchange between Socrates and Thrasymachus, I was distracted by Socrates’ style of debate, and found myself pondering if he was setting up a false dichotomy, or straw-man with Thrasymachus. It almost seemed as if he was playing with his prey. While I don’t…

CRASH!!… mom? mom? I’m bleeeeeeding mom! Bean shoved a straw in my lip and now I’m going to DIE!! I need a band-aid!

…personally find Thrasymachus’s argument persuasive, his point is an important one to consider. In recalling the introduction of the Peter Singer text we are using, I found myself, oddly, thi…

Ring. Ring. Ring. MOM! The phone is ringing and I can’t find it, can I answer it mom!? MOM?!! JEFF!! Give me back the phone! I GOT IT FIRST MOM!!! MOM MOM MOOOOOM!!

…nking of Hume.

I’m hungry mom! Can I have a go-gurt? Abby ate the last pink one and I don’t LIKE THE BLUE ONES! AND SHE PEED AGAIN! Gross, Abby. Go tell mom!

(If I read it right, Hume argued that our morality is based on belief rather than reason, and knowledge only comes of direct experience. While Hume and Thrasymachus might not have much else in common, this view of justice…

Bean chewed through Wii controller cord again and now my game won’t work! Put him on a timeout mom! MOM! He left his Chewies in bed and ATE MY WII! Can I hit him? MOM!?

…and morality as being subjective and relative is something I kept coming back to.) Socrates sets the stage by making a simple point, as noted, about the fallibility of government leaders- those in power.  If those in power are those who have morality vis a vis that power, then…

Mom, I can’t find Wubsy. Can you help me find Wubsy? Bean took the remote from me. Mom, can we go to the park? Mom, can I go on the computer? Why are you using the black keyboard and not my keyboard, mom? Where’s brothers? Mom?

…and procedes to dismember Thrasymachus’ position. He says “…morality is no more what is advantageous to the stronger party than it is disadvantageous to the stronger party.” Thereby rendering the position impotent, as it cannot be both and have any authority…


It becomes amusing and looks more like baiting when Socrates proffers that Thrasymachus holds him to be a bully. Thrasymachus is- perhaps too narrowly- looking towards what he sees (fallible or not) as the ideal…

*ding dong* Hi! Mom? MOMMM? Your home teachers are here. MOM? What are you doing mom? Where ARE you MOOOMM?!!

…He is rather ham-fisted in his attempts, but I don’t think he’s the buffoon Socrates plays him to be. From what little I know of philosophy, I think centuries later Nietzsche pretty powerfully argues from a similar place of moral understanding.

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  1. Brilliant.

  2. esodhiambo says:

    I had to do every lick of my homework when the kids were sleeping. I knew if I didn’t I would feel guilty and frustrated. While the kids were awake, I am 100% mom. When they were in bed, I was 100% student. I was only part-time, though–I’m sure that helped. Good luck! If only I could wish you extra time.

  3. I’m rooting for you!!! It’s a bit exhausting just reading about it–I’m sure the doing is at least 100 times more…

  4. Reading this made me want to tear out my own hair. Of course, reading it without the kids’ interruptions probably would have made me tear out my hair, too.

  5. Kevin Barney says:


  6. My favorite line was when she asked for permission to hit her brother. That’s a civilized kid you’ve got there!

    Also, it sounds exhausting. I wish you patience and energy.

  7. God bless you, Tracy – and your kids as they see the example their mother is providing.

    I’m sorry you have to be providing it in this way, but . . .

  8. I second the “brilliant.” You need to make this a book, Tracy.

    I think it’s harder to be a mom in college than a working mom because you have homework. My heart goes out.

    But dang you write about this so compellingly.

  9. Cynthia L. says:

    Ah yes. Lost track of how many Big Important meetings or lectures I went to, and upon opening my notebook, realized I had to flip through several pages of scribbles before getting to a clean place to take notes.

    Lemme tell you this, though, Tracy: I can’t wait to see the photo of your kids pulling at your graduation robe and stealing the cap off your head.

  10. Me too, Cynthia. Me too. It’s going to be a happy day…

  11. This IS brilliant, Tracy, and you’re amazing. My oldest daughter finished her BA degree a year ago. I attended the graduation with her three boys in tow. The highlight was when she walked across the stage to receive her diploma and her six-year-old yelled in excitement, “Grandma, Grandma, Mom won the prize!”
    Good luck!

  12. Love it & you.

  13. Mark Brown says:

    I can’t do your homework or make your kids behave, but I can cheer you on from a distance. So imagine me, doing a one man wave.

  14. Best wishes.

  15. britt k says:

    This so reminds me of my sister getting her bachelors with 2yo twins…I have vivid memories of her studying chemistry and them pointing and saying over and over and over “ball, ball, ball, ball, ball”.

  16. By The Rules says:

    I am sooooo glad I am intergenerational right now…my youngest is 17, and no grand kids yet! Of course, (my role in) raising the second generation should be a lot more fun, and I’m looking forward to it. I find that distractions from parenting have changed nature from education to critical business items, pressing church responsibilities, etc, etc. And the parenting problems have changed from (Primary) to (Young Single Adult), ie: “my transmission just broke, can you run me to the airport? type problems. My preferences run towards the YM/YW and YSA problem sets rather than the Primary sets.

    I find it doesn’t matter what the distractions are, maintaining balance is what is important.

  17. “I think centuries later Nietzsche pretty powerfully argues from a similar place of moral understanding.”


  18. Stephanie says:

    Well, I read it through twice and still can’t make sense of what you are learning. That’s just with written distractions! I can’t imagine it IRL. Good luck to you, TracyM! You are a hero.

  19. Beee-yootiful, Tracy!

  20. If I’m keeping score right, Thrasymachus is losing badly not only to Socrates, but to Abby who pees on the couch and Bean who chews through electrical cords. Awesome!
    My second oldest son is now going through a similar situation with his one year old daughter. It’s not as difficult as your situation, Tracy, as he is still married, his wife works full time, but he blew off college after one semester at BYU, and now 10 years later is trying to get an accounting degree via online classes, and is the stay at home dad. We have the most interesting conversations these days.

    Hang in there, we are all pulling for you.

  21. Tracy, great post. I can remember those days. After a few years, it got so that I could not study unless I heard Raffi in the background.

  22. God bless, amiga.

  23. Tracy, I was just chuckling reading this. I found out that I can’t study unless things are chaotic around me. I took a few days off to really power through work at the end of my master’s degree last year, and just couldn’t bear to be in my quiet home. So I packed my stuff up, went to the food court at the mall, bought some soup and sat and studied for hours. To my amusement, I looked up, and the guy at the next table was doing the same thing.

    So, clearly we should have planned this so we were going through school simultaneously, and living in the same town, then abby could come and pee on my couch and we’d both get more done. :)

  24. StillConfused says:

    I went back to college (law school) as soon as my son started first grade. I didn’t find it hard at all because both of my kids were in state-day-care aka public school when I was in law school. On the few days when they had school off and I did not, they went and attended class with me and thought it was fun.

    I think the important thing is that I had raised my children from Day 1 to be independent and self reliant. So I did not get a bunch of unnecessary “Moooommmm” calls. My kids always did their own homework and got themselves ready for school.

  25. OMG! I know this feeling. I am currently pulling my hair out pursuing a BA in Women Studies and a BS in Social Work and both are mostly paper writing. I only have one child who is 5 and very independent but it seems as if every time I try to do homework he has to tell/show/explain/complain/ beg/borrow/need SOMETHING!

  26. Larry the Cable Guy says:

    MOM! He left his Chewies in bed and ATE MY WII! Can I hit him? MOM!?

    Your kids actually ask permission prior to hitting each other? Major props.

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