By K Hernan • October 10, 2007•Other Career Issues
There is a post on The Juggle that made me stop to think about another dimension in this inner-struggle that we working mothers face everyday – you know, the struggle to be a good lawyer and a good mom at the same time. That dimension is my own mother’s opinion about my choice.
I actually have the best sort of mother that any adult woman could ask for. She was a great role model for me growing up and gave me lots of guidance and advice when I needed it most. Now, she is a great listener and a great friend that only gives advice when I ask. However, I trust that she would give me unsolicited advice if I was really screwing up my life or that of my kids.
It is in that assumption where I suppose I might be wrong. You see, I’ve never asked her advice about working and she’s never offered any. Nevertheless I do feel like her opinion on the subject weighs on my shoulders. I know that she doesn’t approve. How do I know?… I just know.
In my pre-law school career I worked a lot of hours, probably more than I’ll ever work again. Towards the end, I hated that job, not because of the hours but because of the work. She hated that job too. She was open about the fact that she was concerned about how much I worked and how she was worried about the kids being raised by the nanny. She was also worried about the dangerous aspects of my previous career and how they might result in my kids not having me.
She was super supportive of me going to law school. Looking back, it was probably because it meant a career change and more time with the kids while I was in school. It was likely also because she knew law school was a lifetime goal of mine.
In my legal career the little comments have resurfaced. She has never come right out to tell me that I work too much (remember that I haven’t asked) but she makes it known in little and subtle ways. She is “worried” again about how much I work. She is sad that the kids don’t see me very often.
So even though I’ve never asked and even though she’s never tried to convince me to stay home with the kids (like she did when I was young)… I just know. Maybe I don’t ask because I don’t want to hear it. Maybe I don’t ask because I respect her advice too much. Maybe just knowing in my heart how she feels (without having to hear it in my ears) is enough of a struggle. The struggles of a working mother are great enough already, I don’t need anything more.