Sorry it has taken me a while to reply, got busy and overwhelmed with exams!
Bishop1234-Congrats on your acceptance into law school! I would say that the biggest challenge in 1L was the combo of getting used to law school along with the challenges of balancing my family and the workload. Before law school, I had been home with my child so I wasn't used to juggling the two. If you have already been in school with kids or working while being a mom, you are a step ahead of the game and I am sure you will have an easier time finding a good balance. I have an extremely supportive partner who was always willing to step in and help with household duties and childcare and it is so important to have a strong support system whether it is a spouse/partner, other family members or friends. Don't be afraid to ask for help, it is something I see way too often with women who feel like they need to prove they can do everything and do it well- no one can take care of everything and its important to realize that and ask for and accept help.
Another challenge that I wasn't really prepared for was socially; most students are young and don't have the responsibility of taking care of a family; there are a lot of social events and drinking after school. I never took part in that; I didn't have much time with my kids as it was and I didn't feel right taking time away from them to hang out. I was always either studying or with my kids. If the social event was a professional event, or networking I would go, but I never had the time to just hang out with my peers. I still had many friends but I definitely did miss out in that aspect. I will advise you to find a couple of "mom friends"- I did, and we became so close right away because we were going through the same struggles and could really relate to each other. It really really helped me, having a couple of people that were in the same situation that you could vent to and that understood. The standard law school student is totally focused on school, nothing but school and grades and OCI's, and you will be dealing with all of that plus carpool, potty training, doctor's appt's etc. It's a lot to deal with and helpful to have someone to talk to.
I did not work part time- I feel like it would have been impossible for me to do so. My family and school were already completely overwhelming. I would strongly advise against working part time unless it is absolutely necessary. you have so much on your plate already.
AuriaandFoxen- It's a great question, and something I was recently discussing with a female prof. The prof's view was that law school is the best time to have kids- no pressure from the firm to return to work already, not being nervous that you are missing the partner track etc. I understand where she is coming from as law school is VERY accommodating to women that are pregnant/give birth in law school. you can take a semester off, go part time etc. If you have the time to take off, and are not strapped financially, I would say law school is a good time to have a baby in that you don't have the pressure to get back into work and can take it at your own pace. but keep in mind if you do have a baby during school, you won't be graduating with your class and if you had a job lined up and have to push it off I'm not sure how that would work. You will also be dealing with studying and being up with a baby all night, and the sleep deprivation is a killer. I was barely functioning for a semester. At least with work you get mat leave.... I can't advise you if it's better to have kids while you are working, because I haven't been in that situation (yet!). I imagine every firm is different, I will be working in a small firm that seems very accommodating and flexible, and that is a main reason why I chose to work there. The reality is for us there is NEVER a good time to have kids!! Law is a huge part of me, but it is not the main part of my life, my kids are my everything. And I think women that keep waiting for the perfect time will hopefully realize, sooner then later, that there just isn't. it's just the reality of the profession. I spoke to a female partner at one of the top law firms a couple of months ago who told me if I ever want to see my kids for dinner, I should not be joining that law firm. That is just the way it is. So you make choices, there is no right or wrong choice, just make sure the choice you make will be the best one for yourself and for your family.
Hope this helps!!