Thursday, July 19, 2007


PT-LawMom's post the other day brought up some issues that I have been thinking about recently. Does being a mom mean I'll never be as good at anything else as I would have been if I wasn't a mom? Will I be at a disadvantage because I won't ever be able to give anything 100% like someone who isn't a mom could?

Although I've been doing it for almost a year now, I know that I am not cut out to be a 100% stay at home mom, so sometimes I feel like I am doomed to a life of being only half of anything. I will always be a mom, so whatever else I do will be hyphenated with "mom" -- law student-mom, lawyer-mom, whatever.

But at the same time I know that almost everybody has family and friends and a life outside of work or school that limits, or should limit, how much time they are able or willing to commit to other things. So, really everybody is hyphenated: teacher-friend or doctor-wife or accountant-daughter. Of course being a mom is different than being a daughter or wife or friend. For one thing a friendship will likely survive even if you don't see the each other for a couple months.

I haven't really resolved how I feel about all this yet. I realize that what I am feeling is related to this ideal of motherhood that society has created that maybe isn't really ideal and is definitely unfair to women. And there are times when I think being a mom could actually be an advantage. I am used to having only small chunks of time in which to get things done and, knowing that I won't be able to spend the night in the library, I will be motivated to do my work more quickly and efficiently than someone who doesn't have my constraints might. I am the kind of person who gets more done when I have less time to do it in, so it is even possible that I will be a better law student as a mother than I would have been had I gone to law school before I had the little guy.


PT-LawMom said...

I think being a mother teaches us about what is important and what is inconsequential. I know a lot of mothers who take on the bake sale, the PTA commitments, the community organization, etc., essentially trying to be Super Woman or all things to all people. They may appear to do a good job but they're probably stressed to the gills. I think we need to learn to say no, set boundaries, and be realistic about what we can and cannot accomplish. In terms of law school, I worry more because ranking is so important for job placement. My family's future rides on my doing well. I think it's important to be more than just Mom, but the trick is to strike a balance between having other things in your life and having too many things in your life.

Proto Attorney said...

Being a law student could make you an even better mom too. A happy and fulfilled mom is the best mom, and also, I like to think my children will look to me as a role model someday. Like, wow, look at all that my mom accomplished!

Good luck on your 1L year! It's tough and it's often demoralizing, but when you get through it, you feel like you've just climbed Mt. Everest: exhausted, but triumphant.

Quirky said...

Even though I don't have kids - so I'm not pretending it's the same - I feel this way sometimes about being married vs. not married in law school. I'm not going to be the person who's spending every spare moment studying. Some of it (and probably a fair amount) will be spent with my spouse.

This may sound a little new-agey, but I try (often unsuccessfuly) to focus on just being the best me and knowing that it encompasses a lot of different things that are all of value. At least that's what I'm hoping to do - sometimes I get caught up in all the same stuff, though.