When we found out we were pregnant approximately one month after we were married and about four months before my husband was set to start his MBA in a different city than my job was located, I knew life would never be the same.
I thought I always knew what I wanted: a career and a family. A perfect balance. I was going to be Martha Stewart by nights and weekends, and bad-ass corporate lawyer by day. I even chose to go in-house right out of law school, knowing my personal and family time was going to be a priority in the long run. And to top it off, about 3 years out of law school, and my career well on its way, my biological clock started ticking. I couldn't ever imagine what my life would be like if I couldn't have children and raise a family. I had convinced myself that giving up my legal career would never be a problem. But it took actually getting pregnant, while supporting my new husband through his MBA program and our new addition's presence in my life to really throw a curve ball in what I thought I wanted, and when I wanted it.
Now fifteen months into mommiehood (which I do love), thoughts of a second addition to our family, a husband graduating from business school and starting a career in Investment Banking (and you thought law firm hours were tough!), I find that I am at a crossroads and not sure exactly what I want to do, or how I can do any or all of it. But my career is still ticking in the back of my head, just like that biological clock four years ago. I am watching my "former lawyer" friends who gave up their jobs for baby #1 or baby #2 stressing about getting back into practice and still maintaining a balance. Or watching my other friends still going at the same pace as pre-baby, but not really "raising" their own children, moreso fitting a new accessory into their lives. I don't think I want any of their lives.
When I graduated from school in 2000, I was offered and accepted a position in-house at the place I am still at today. They have wonderful maternity benefits and I have had the fortune of having very nice balance of family and work. I KNOW I am a lucky person right now. I work three days a week, and am with my son and husband the other four. But life will change soon. We are moving to a new city for my husband's job. I will probably not be able to keep up at this job long distance, and so I am faced with a question that most moms have to face much sooner than I have: Do I look for a full-time job in my new location, OR can I take a few years to enjoy raising my son (or any subsequent children)? If I do take this time, then will I be shooting myself in the foot when I want to return to the work force? Will I be like my friends who quit their jobs and long for some professional identity that I no longer have?
It's really hard to say what you will want if and when you have children. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted and right now I definitely feel like one of the most confused people in the world. Complicating things further is the fact I know my husband will have to work long hours. I am thankful he didn't accept his offers in either Los Angeles or New York City, where the cost of living would have fored both of us into having to work. But at the same time my choice would have been made for me and my family.
I have a part time status at my job until September of this year and we move to our new house and city in June. So while I do have some time to decide what I want to do with the rest of my life, I have found this struggle much more of a live changing event than anything I have faced before (including childbirth!)
I know this isn't something I suffer in alone and it's unfortunate that there aren't more venues for quality part time work for working lawyer moms. Any thoughts from mommies who have already had to make this decision? And regrets, suggestions or thoughts?!
part-time lawyer, full time mom
Become a Member
FREE online community for women in the legal profession.