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Cant work and be a good mom..so I quit.

Anonymous
Posted by Anonymous
  • 73 Replies
1 mom liked this

 Quitting, Because It's Too Hard To Be A Lawyer And A Mom

Posted: 11/09/2012 5:13 pm
 
The recap of one working woman's day begins at 4:00 a.m.: "Hear baby screaming, hope I am dreaming, realize I'm not, sleep walk to nursery, give her a pacifier and put her back to sleep" and ends at 1:30 a.m. when, after falling asleep at her desk at home, she caffeinates enough to complete "task number 3" on a "50-item-to-do-list" from work, and "Finally go to bed."

That was how a lawyer in the D.C. office of the firm Clifford Chance bid good-bye to her colleagues last week, explaining that the expectations and demands of high powered law left her unable to "simultaneously meet the demands of career and family."

"I...have chosen to leave private practice, and the practice of law (at least for now)," she concludes. "I truly admire all of you that have been able to juggle your career and family and do not envy what a challenge it is trying to do each well."

With those words hers became the latest salvo in the Battle of Doing It All. It first appeared yesterday on the website "Above The Law," where reporter Elie Mystal says he received it from a friend of his who was a recipient. He took out the name of the writer and posted it to a wave of advice and "me too." Like Ann Marie Slaughter before her, the writer is seen by some as a traitor to the cause of women in the workplace, and by others as its champion.

It would be a shame if the conversation stopped there -- with the usual tit for tat of "you brought this on yourself, stop complaining" and "the sexist world is holding this woman down." Because if we go a step further, we find within this woman's day a succinct summary of what is wrong with the workplace -- and a roadmap to some of the solutions.

The workplace as is exists -- particularly the legal world in which this woman works -- is a 1950s model set in a 2012 world. It assumes that workers can do their jobs (billing 1800 to 2000 hours of work each year) with no distractions, because there is someone (traditionally a wife) at home to sort out the rest of their lives.

But today more than half of all two-parent families with children have both partners in the workplace, meaning none of them (nor the 40 percent of all new mothers who are single parents) enjoy the luxury of that phantom homemaker. The only way to make life tenable for men and women is to change the workplace to reflect that not-so-new reality.

For instance:

"TRAFFIC." The harried lawyer writes this at 8:15 as she drives her infant and her toddler to daycare, and again at 6:30 bringing them home, this time with "a side of screaming kids who are starving." Which raises the question of why she is commuting in the first place. She describes a day with little face-to-face interaction, most of which could be done with technology that did not exist during the 1950s.

Meetings. "Run into my office, dial-in to conference call 5 minutes late and realize that no one would have known whether or not I was on the call, but take notes anyway," she writes at 9:20. At 10 a.m. she writes: "Team meeting; leave with a 50-item to-do list."

There are progressive schools of workplace thought that see meetings as rarely necessary. The creators of the Results Only Work Environment, for instance, preach that the most efficient employees are those where "all meetings are optional" and it is up to the person who leads the meeting to make the case that each attendee needs to be there in order to effectively do their job. Such a policy would have freed up two hours of this lawyer's day.

Dinner. "Finally arrive home, throw chicken nuggets in the microwave, feed the family," she writes. The newest life/work thinking out of Silicon Valley aims to provide employees with help at home. A front-page story in the New York Times last month explored companies who were paying for housekeeping and dinner delivery for harried workers.

Partnership. "Negotiate with husband over who will do bathtime and bedtime routine; lose," she writes at 7:45, then proceeds to spend until 9 p.m. on those routines. This after being the parent who got out of bed at 4 a.m., gave the baby a bottle at 6:15, dressed the kids at 7 and drove them to daycare at 8. The fact that she and her husband "negotiated" that night's evening rituals means that they do share the work. But in today's amped world, most two-career couples have to be more strategic than daily negotiating. One parent "on" at the start of the day and the other at the end is the new normal for many families. You can face waking up at dawn more easily knowing that tomorrow it will be your partner's turn.

There is no workplace reform that will ease every conflict or erase the reality that work is often time-consuming and hard. But there are changes of attitude and policy that can mitigate many of the strains that have become accepted as the norm.

ATL reporter Mystal says he wrote about this memo from his home office while his 6-week-old son slept in a bassinet at his side. " I don't know this woman," he wrote, "and I don't know what her hopes and dreams are or might have been, but it shouldn't be so damn hard -- in the richest country on Earth -- to have a big-time job and be a loving parent."

No, it shouldn't.

A MOTHER'S DEPARTURE MEMO


4:00am: Hear baby screaming, hope I am dreaming, realize I'm not, sleep walk to nursery, give her a pacifier and put her back to sleep
4:45am: Finally get back to bed
5:30am: Alarm goes off, hit snooze
6:00am: See the shadow of a small person standing at my bedroom door, realize it is my son who has wet the bed (time to change the sheets)
6:15am: Hear baby screaming, make a bottle, turn on another excruciating episode of Backyardigans, feed baby
7:00am: Find some clean clothes for the kids, get them dressed
7:30am: Realize that I am still in my pajamas and haven't showered, so pull hair back in a ponytail and throw on a suit
8:00am: Pile into the car, drive the kids to daycare
8:15am: TRAFFIC
9:00am: finally arrive at daycare, baby spits up on suit, get kids to their classrooms, realize I have a conference call in 15 minutes
9:20am: Run into my office, dial-in to conference call 5 minutes late and realize that no one would have known whether or not I was on the call, but take notes anyway
9:30am: Get an email that my time is late, Again! Enter my time
10:00am: Team meeting; leave with a 50-item to-do list
11:00am: Attempt to prioritize to-do list and start tasks; start an email delegating a portion of the tasks (then, remember there is no one under me)
2:00pm: Realize I forgot to eat lunch, so go to the 9th floor kitchen to score some leftovers
2:30pm: Get a frantic email from a client needing an answer to a question by COB today
2:45pm: postpone work on task number 2 of 50 from to-do list and attempt to draft a response to client's question
4:30pm: send draft response to Senior Associate and Partner for review
5:00pm: receive conflicting comments from Senior Associate and Partner (one in new version and one in track changes); attempt to reconcile; send redline
5:30pm: wait for approval to send response to client; realize that I am going to be late picking up the kids from daycare ($5 for each minute late)
5:50pm: get approval; quickly send response to client
6:00pm: race to daycare to get the kids (they are the last two there)
6:30pm: TRAFFIC with a side of screaming kids who are starving
7:15pm: Finally arrive home, throw chicken nuggets in the microwave, feed the family
7:45pm: Negotiate with husband over who will do bathtime and bedtime routine; lose
8:00pm: Bath, pajamas, books, bed
9:00pm: Kids are finally asleep, check blackberry and have 25 unread messages
9:15pm: Make a cup of coffee and open laptop; login to Citrix
9:45pm: Citrix finally loads; start task number 2
11:30pm: Wake up and realize I fell asleep at my desk; make more coffee; get through task number 3
1:00am: Jump in the shower (lord knows I won't have time in the morning)
1:30am: Finally go to bed

 

This Blogger's Books from
 
 
I get that it was hard for her to blance work and family, but did she really have to write about her hard day, detail by detail to ALL her coworkers?
Posted by Anonymous on Nov. 24, 2012 at 11:40 AM
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Replies (1-10):
LectioDivina
by A.Priori on Nov. 24, 2012 at 11:42 AM

lol yeah... a lawyer is a lifestyle...

It's very hard to have two lifestyles

MamaRae85
by Platinum Member on Nov. 24, 2012 at 11:45 AM
4 moms liked this

LOL I agree with you. It seems like it would be kind of awkward to give that as your explanation for quitting.A simple "I need to focus more on my responsibilities at home" would suffice.

mamom01
by on Nov. 24, 2012 at 12:16 PM
1 mom liked this

I wouldn't detail my daily life to my coworkers, but I think lawyers are naturally "wordy" people. 

Momof5kids84
by Gold Member on Nov. 24, 2012 at 12:18 PM
I lived comfortably on my dad's lifestyle growing up. Lol

Quoting LectioDivina:

lol yeah... a lawyer is a lifestyle...

It's very hard to have two lifestyles

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Anonymous
by Anonymous on Nov. 24, 2012 at 12:19 PM

 Major Eyeroll

Anonymous
by Anonymous on Nov. 24, 2012 at 12:25 PM
12 moms liked this

A lawyer that is that busy needs to hire help. Live in help. She could have been to work by 6  and been able to leave by 4 (and still have worked an hour longer than she did) come home to happy kids -play with them while nanny gets dinner (or it is delivered)  eat at 6.  Spend more time with kids and perhaps do some work WHILE spending time with them-bathtime can happen in the morning with the nanny if necessary.

And a live in aupair would cost about the same as 2 daycare tuitions would. AND free up about 2-3 hours a day between taking the kids there and prepping them to go there.

ripemango
by Gold Member on Nov. 24, 2012 at 12:34 PM
7 moms liked this

"the expectations and demands of high powered law"

this is the main issue causing conflict. high powered lawyers work anywhere from 60-80 hours a week. Law fascinates me and it is a field that intrigued me. However, after serious contemplation, I realized that in order to pay back my loans to a good law school I'd be stuck being some firm's prisoner for a few years. 60-80 hrs a week? there is no life there, no free time, no real way of enjoying the life that you work so hard for.

regardless of her husband's income, she is more than likely bringing in 6 figures. that is enough to pay a nanny so you don't have to deal w daycare. Nanny could ensure the kids receive real meals.

Husband doesn't sound involved enough or care about the sacrifice the wife is making. Why is she the one getting up at 4 am? Why is she driving the kids to daycare? Why in the hell did he not have a proper meal waiting on her and and the family when she got home?

It sounds like she is trying to be both a fulltime housewife and high priced lawyer at once, and not completely doing either. I can see why she had to drop her job. She has NO support.


I don't know where the sunbeams end and the starlights begin; it's all a mystery.

Elyce225
by Ruby Member on Nov. 24, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Hahaha! Chicken nuggets in the microwave.

I think a lot of people think people graduate from Law school and start making 6 figures with an "easy" 40 hour a week job. Most lawyers that I know started out of law school as clerks, working 60+ hours making 60-70K. OR, they have to put 70+ hours and neglect their family. Pretty much sold their soul to the devil.

There are so many lawyers now, it's almost comical. They let anyone in school. This woman was probably one of those people who thought she would graduate and have all of this easy success, lol. Good for her for choosing what is right though. I wonder how much she resents her kids now though :/

My 2 cents.
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singlemom1208
by on Nov. 24, 2012 at 12:36 PM

 I'd probably throw in the towel too

furbabymum
by Gold Member on Nov. 24, 2012 at 12:37 PM
1 mom liked this

I work for husband and wife lawyers. Their daughter is 18 now but they love to share battle stories since the first 6 months of their DD's life she wouldn't sleep at all during the night. They shared a lot of duties. I think that's the only way they made it.

So to me, sounds like she has a DH issue.

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