jessie

Out of the Frying Pan…

I graduated from law school on Friday. Woohoo! Only not so much, because I spent half of commencement stewing over the less-than-inspiring words of our commencement speaker. About halfway through her speech, our speaker, an extremely accomplished public interest lawyer and mother of two, changed course and addressed her comments to the women in the graduating class. "You can have it all, as long as you are willing to compromise," she encouraged us.
I know I have to compromise. But I think I'm going to have to compromise, because I'm an adult, not because I'm a woman. And as far as having it all is concerned, I'd probably have to compromise a lot less if all the men in the audience were being asked to listen up too. Maybe if people were telling them that they would have to compromise to get what they want, they would be more prepared to do so?
Well things went from bad to worse, since my friend's dad spent dinner wondering how I would feed my family if I didn't learn to cook. For all the complaining I've done about the prevalence of gender stereotype and sexism in law school, it's looking pretty good now compared to life after J.D.

6 Comments

jeni_g

It's called take-out, people. Take-out. You went to law school, not culinary school! But in all seriousness, I think in lots of relationships involving two career driven people, there is one person who is the workaholic and there is  the other person, who works less and holds down the fort at home. There is no real reason why the one holding down the fort needs to be the woman…and there is no real reason why both people can't compromise and share responsibilities at home and at work.  

zuska

I graduate next Friday.  I start at a large firm in September.  My husband works part-time out of the home, and writes from home the rest of the time.  He also cooks.  He also helps the kid with school projects, and does the grocery shopping, and keeps track of who needs field trip money when.  I am plenty involved, as the flexibility of law school has allowed, and don't plan to disappear completely.  I do, however, feel more confident knowing that my partner doesn't have the same demands from a workplace as I will (and even in law school, as I have had).  
 I'm not completely useless, though.  I do take care of dinner at least once a week. The kids tend to vote on whether it's take out or eat in.
 I also do the laundry, and the dishes, and the vacuuming, and the clothes shopping.  But it really helps that I don't do <i>everything</i>.
 I completely agree that the words of wisdom about balance should be delivered to men as well as to women.  
 
<i>Zuska</i>

Kalokagathia

You are so right! My ideal relationship includes a much more balanced division of household tasks/chores than the traditional role would have… unfortunately it is also more balanced than any real-life relationship I have seen in my friends who are married or close to it. That doesn’t mean I don’t think I can do it - I just anticipate a struggle against the stereotypical expectations (which I am disappointed to have learned are still pretty strong)... ugh. Oh… and I can’t cook to save my life. And the thing is, I don’t really want to learn. I wouldn’t mind a husband who can cook though… or a guy who can at least share my passion for delivery.com

TND

I'm a pretty good cook and my husband is a great cook, but we still eat more take-out than I'd like to admit. Life is just very busy and sometimes take-out is the easiest way to gain a little extra family time. Between me in law school, my husband in residency and our almost 2 year old son, something has to give and it's usually cooking and the associated clean up. I will say that when we do cook (4-5 nights per week), my husband does at least 50% of it. I always advise my friends to marry men who can cook!

one_elle

Interesting—successful women law students with husbands/partners seem to have a little trend going on (at least in this forum) that their partner actually helps with cooking and other household chores! My boyfriend (serious relationship) does most of the cooking. He's simply better at it.  He does laundry too.  I do all the planning, business writing etc.—he says I'm better with words:)  Ok, and I clean the bathrooms too.
Meritocracy can work! If not, shared chores seems to go a long way for a healthy relationship and promoting the business successes of each other.
Congratulations Jessie on your graduation!

KHernan881

I would definately agree that those of us who manage to juggle professions, married life and family do have great contributing spouses.  I would pass on one word of caution about sharing child-rearing responsibilities: be ready to be more affected by the challenges than your male partner.
I have spent the last 6 years or so wondering why it is that being a working mom is much harder on me than being a working father is on my husband.  We both juggle; perhaps I do a little more juggling than he does because a lot of child care things fall disproportionately (but not drasitically more) on my shoulders. However, I have really had to adjust to not being able to do everything perfectly in a much deeper and personal way than my husband has.
There are a couple of good posts about this today on the WSJ's Juggle Blog:   http://blogs.wsj.com/juggle/2007/06/15/do-working-fathers-agonize-like-working-mothers/
One of the writers wrote this which really hit home for me:When I first started working at the Journal, my office was an hour-plus car commute away from my home, and my child was just over one year old. His father was home with him — he was in the very best hands. But I only saw him about 45 minutes a day on either end of the day. I recall sitting on the New Jersey side of the Holland Tunnel, stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic as the sun was setting, tears streaming down my face. <font color=”#333333”>I can definately relate with this and have numerous such experiences in my own life.  At the same time, I am certain that my husband hasn't suffered the same extent of emotional turmoil because of work interfering with family.  He just hasn't.  It isn't that he doesn't love the kids; It isn't that he's a bad father. It isn't that he doesn't think parenting is his responsibility.  He just isn't affected the same way. </font>
<font color=”#333333”>So be aware and be ready—I say that, but you really can't be ready for what affect mothering will have on you until you have your OWN kids.</font>

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