You may have noticed, in the six or so years since I started this blog, that I write very little about my job.
In fact, for many years, I didn’t write about it at all. I worked for a big, very prestigious, very conservative, white-shoe law firm in Manhattan, and I decided early on that the best policy for balancing my work life with my blog was to keep them completely separate. If you met me in person during those years, I would happily have told you that I was a lawyer — but on the internet, I barely mentioned it at all.
But, as you guys know, about a year ago I quit working at a big law firm and started my own practice here in Houston. And with that change, I’ve slowly, tentatively, become more comfortable sharing little bits about my life as a lawyer with you guys.
So I’ll start by saying: building a new business is a wild ride. Really, really hard, but also incredibly rewarding and exciting. It’s like moving from a leisurely drive to a roller coaster, if that makes any sense. For the past year, building my law practice has been the focus of nearly every waking minute. It’s the biggest professional challenge that I’ve ever taken on, and not a single day passes without me analyzing how I’m doing and how I could be doing better. There are days when it feels like too much, when I miss the steady salary and support staff that my big firm job provided. And there are days when it feels like the best thing I’ve ever done, when I am so damn proud of myself for taking on this challenge and making it work.
But for the last few months, there’s been a new thought that pops up every single day.
Balancing work and the baby.
Being a working mom.
I had this idea that starting my own practice would make it easier to have a baby, and in a lot of ways, I was right. Obviously, I have deadlines and meetings, but for the most part, I can manage my own schedule, and that’s no small thing. Even when I’m very busy at work, I can still spend a good portion of the day with our son, and I’m so incredibly grateful for that: it’s a luxury that many (most) working moms don’t have.
And yet — the fundamental problem is that I want to do both.
I want to take care of our baby boy.
And I also want to give 100% to my job.
What I need is 48 hours every day, to spend time with our amazing, wonderful baby, and to be able to build a business with focus and care.
What I have, instead, is what most moms have: a balancing act that never ends; concerns that I would love to give more in both areas.
And yet… it’s been almost five months now, and I’m doing it. There are tough days and easy ones, but nothing has slipped through the cracks. I am so excited for the time I spend with our baby boy, but also so excited for the professional successes that I’m building toward.
And there was the moment that I captured in the photograph above. When Bear was not quite 3 months old, I had an oral argument for one of my cases in New York. And after a lot of debate, I decided to bring him with me for the trip.
A few minutes before I went into the courthouse, my mom snapped this photo. And since then, I’ve loved looking back at it — it’s a reminder that even when the balancing is hard, that I am doing it. That I have not had to give up my job for being a mom (or vice versa), and that, sometimes, every once in a while, it feels like it’s working pretty well.
A long time ago, the idea of being a working mom seemed to me a little bit impossible. Would I be able to work once our child arrived? Would I “pick” my job over this tiny life that I had worked so hard to create?
But it’s not impossible. It’s being done every day, in households everywhere, and just like me, moms are making it happen. Despite the fact that it’s hard, despite the fact that the odds are stacked against us, we are balancing professional demands and family and figuring out how to make it work. And with every generation that does it, it gets a little easier for the next one.
So from now on, here’s what I’m going to do.
Rather than hide my job on this blog, I’m going to embrace it.
I’m a working mom.
And that makes me pretty darn proud.