Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Babies and Career Ambition

I wrote 90% of a post answering a question from Anonymous about her "having a baby in law school" panel and whether or not I'm being naive in thinking that having a baby this early won't affect my career. I still want to do that, but this afternoon I became distracted by this comment to my last post: (The first two sentences about breastfeeding have been omitted because it really is impossible to have a rational internet-based discussion on the topic, as she proves.)


Seriously, LagLiv, you irk the heck out of me. You want it all- law school, career, and baby, all in a year's span. People can coddle you all you want, but I think you are simply an immature woman who wants to play house when you get home from work, but won't sacrifice to give your child the most of yourself. I'm your age, have my graduate degree, and have chosen to stay home with my daughter for the first 1 1/2 years of her life, and I wouldn't have had a baby this young if I wasn't planning to give her my all!

I deleted it, as I said I would, but then I realized the rebuttal I'd already silently fired off in my head ties in with the original topic so this time I'll give in to my desire to answer back.

But first I want to address the original commentor's question about her panel (she asked for discussion topics- I know many of you reading have had children in grad school, so please include yours in the comments) and my decision to have Landon in law school. I was really surprised to find that some of my readers think that getting pregnant as a law student and/or this young is something I would change. I suppose that given the tone of many of my posts during 3L year that's a reasonable assumption. I've been honest about my realization of how unimaginably difficult a baby can be, and I'll admit that even now that things are so much easier I've thought how different this phase of our life could be if we weren't parents yet- JP could spend more time at school and out with his classmates, I could spend more time at the office, we could go out and then SLEEP IN on the weekends... and all of that would be great. But I can say with absolute conviction that even knowing what I know now- especially knowing what I know now- I would never change our decision to start our family when we did. Being a student gave me the flexibility and freedom to deal with all of Landon's issues in a way I wouldn't have been able to as an attorney. By 3L year it was about graduating; I ended up doing well in my classes, but all I had to do was pass and there isn't a career student out there who couldn't have managed to do the same. Plus I love being a young parent, I loved having so much free time with him that year, and more pertinent to this post, I love that my career will grow around my family and not the other way around.

Which takes me to the next part- am I naive in thinking that having a baby this early won't affect my career? I think this is a good question and I'm going to try to answer it fully but I'm having a hard time turning my thoughts into coherent phrases. I'd say that yes, if I thought my BigLaw career wouldn't be affected that would be naive. But I don't. In fact I'm 100% certain my career will be affected because of Landon, but I want it to be. I have always wanted a professional career and I have always wanted a family- I never wanted one without the other. I want to grow up as a mother and a lawyer at the same time. The fact that I have a child means certain things- I don't stay at work late unless it's absolutely necessary, I won't ever be the super star associate who's always in her office in case a nearby partner has a last minute late night project, I'm not going to be the top biller, and I'm okay with that. Living the work-life balance I want from the beginning may affect my partnership track, but it also means that I'm building a law practice on (mostly) my terms and one that is sustainable with the family life I want. Basically, whatever effects children might have on my career I want up front because I'm not interested in being a lawyer if I can't also be the mother I want to be. But even with all that said, I'm not yet sure how negative those affects will actually be. I work hard, I get things done on time, and so far I've had new assignments requested from everyone I've worked with. I may not be the rock star associate , but I'm going to be a good one and that should keep my career progressing along the right track until I decide where this track is heading.

And where is this heading? I'm not sure. I grew up pursuing the most prestigious, gold-star laden path, but since law school I've been slowly letting opportunities pass that I know aren't right for me or aren't worth the time away from JP or Landon. I don't think I want to be a partner, at least not one at a large PPP-focused law firm. I really don't know where I'll be in ten years and that is a strange feeling. Right now I'm trying to learn all I can, build good relationships with those I work with, and pay down my law school debt as fast as possible.

This ties in with today's Anonymous comment about how I'm immature and coddled (which I have to say are two things I've never been called before) by doing law school, a baby, and a job all in one year. First of all, working right now isn't really a choice. My husband is in school, we have no income, and I don't think it would make me a better parent to let my $140,000 in loans and our inevitable future credit card debt build up by refusing to use this degree we both sacrificed for me to earn. I am providing food, shelter, clothing, and labradors for my family and I'm actually quite proud of that. JP is pursuing his dream of getting his MBA and starting his own company, and he can do that because my salary frees him from having to chase after traditional MBA jobs he knows he doesn't want (like investment banking or consulting). I'm proud of that too. Second, taking 1.5 years off to stay home with your baby is wonderful, but I'm actually more concerned about staying home when our children get a little older. I think it's then, more than now, that it matters that it is JP or I who greets them when they get home from school and is there to talk during that 30-second window in which they feel like opening up. We talked about this before getting pregnant and that's why we're not replacing our 10-year-old cars and not taking expensive ski vacations no matter how very badly we want to go on them- it's our hope that one of us can work part-time when Landon starts full-day school in first grade. I think it will probably be JP- who, by the way, I noticed Ms. Anoymous felt no need to include in the "giving your child your all" discussion. Now that may not be enough for some people, and I understand that view, but as I've said many times before, you can tell me your story and why you think your views are best, but you can't tell me what is best for me and my family. I know myself, I know I would be borderline miserable without my job and I just don't think that would be giving Landon my all.

As I was telling a friend this morning, a comment like the above would have really upset me before having Landon, but now I just shrug and delete. I'm the mom of a happy toddler and the wife of a happy husband. We're living our lives and trying to plan for a future of being the best parents we can be. Having Landon so early in our lives and careers means that we can build everything we planned around being there for him and his future sibling(s). Will there be sacrifices? Certainly in a traditional sense - not making partner, making less money, etc. - but neither of us see them as sacrifices. Our dream careers involve flexibility and family time and we're doing everything we can from the very beginning to make them come true.

57 comments:

  1. Hey, LL - this is the original anon here (the one with the panel). Thanks for taking the time to answer my post. Btw, I think readers the readers - self-included - who suspected you might think you should have waited are picking up on a post you wrote about a midnight conversation you had with JP where you asked him if you should have waited to have kids, and he said yes. I thought you were brave for posting it at the time, and I still do, but perhaps I misread in coming away from that post sensing you had some regret.

    For the negative comments, I think people envy your conviction (and perhaps your life generally, but that's mean, and I'm not going to accuse them of that). It seems like there are so many trade-offs between work and family, and that motherhood is so wonderful and yet also can lead to so much heartache and guilt in wondering if you're doing the best thing, that reading about someone who, on the surface anyway, seems pretty clear in her values and convictions and how she will get there ... makes people wish they were in the same position.

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  2. LL,
    I've been lurking around your blog most of the time and this is the first time I am posting. I just want to say I get your wanting to balance a career and a family. All my life too I pursued the competitive track in school and ended up in med school. Everyone always thought I'd be this super-driven career woman who was born to succeed. Then I got married and I decided that I want to "have it all." There's really nothing wrong with wanting a balance of a family life and a personal life. Like you said, I firmly believe that in order to be a good spouse and mother, I need to be happy. And I will NOT be happy being a stay at home mom. Obviously, some people feel differently and I respect that. Everyone have their own ideas of happiness and combos to attain them. Just so you know, I get what you mean and I think you totally rock!:D

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  3. Hello original anon :) The post you just mentioned was the first one I thought of when I read that people thought I would change things. I think it's one of the best, most true things I've ever written, but ultimately (and honestly) I concluded that I wouldn't change our timeline. And now, even JP agrees :)

    Good luck on your panel, hopefully people will give you a few topics ideas. I didn't really have any, having a baby is so personal- the decision itself, how your body handles it, how your school works with you, etc. that it's hard to have a general discussion about it. But I will say that if a friend came to me asking what I thought of her having a baby in law school, I wouldn't discourage it. Last year was certainly difficult, but I think it would have been harder if I hadn't been a flexible 3L at the time.

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  4. I have some questions that I would ask.... These are some of the questions that weighed on my mind when I found myself unexpectedly pregnant and unmarried during my 1L year. I worried endlessly and searched the internet to find answers to some of the following questions (incidentally, this is how I first found LL's blog). That pregnancy ended in miscarriage, but I still wonder about the following...

    If your EDD falls during a term, would you recommend taking the semester off of school?

    If you take a semester off due to the above, will you be able to continue to use your school-based health insurance?

    If you cannot use your school-based health insurance, how do you find coverage once you already know you are pregnant? Isn't pregnancy a pre-existing condition that most insurance companies would seek to exclude?

    If you take a semester off of school, will firms accept an unconventional start date (for full time) or will it be necessary to find work to fill the time before a conventional start date?

    Will loans be available to cover the extra insurance, medical and child care costs incurred when the child arrives?

    How (if at all) are single moms treated differently than married moms (and I'm assuming they are) during the recruiting process or on the job?

    Thanks for the post LL. Great stuff, as always.

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  5. Girl, you rock! Nobody knows what makes you happy and what makes your world turn. No one person lives your life. I think you do a great job and I love to read your posts. I work a full-time job and have a two year old. I know it makes me a better parent to go out and work, then it would to stay at home. I love my baby and my career and I wouldn't change any of it for the world.

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  6. What I envy about you is that you seem so much less conflicted about wanting it all than I am. I want to feel exactly this way about it, but I don't some days.

    As to the commenter you reponded to: I want to know what is so magical about staying home for a year and a half -- suddenly, at 18 months you no longer have to 'give the baby your all'??? Suddenly at that age its ok to do exactly what LL and JP have been doing all along? I don't buy it. Staying at home for a year, a year and a half, five years, whatever -- if you have the choice and you choose it, it doesn't make you a better mother or better person.

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  7. You know what I want, women to stop judging each other. Every choice a mother makes is uniquely personal and right for her and her family. I work part time, and some say that's ideal, but really, you just have your foot in both worlds. I recently had a woman say "I'm sorry" when I told her I had a job.
    I think the mommy wars need to end and we all need to support each other and our choices.

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  8. formerlawstudentcurrentmother10/30/08, 7:59 AM

    Brava!!! Wonderful response. I'm a few years ahead of you in this and I think your perspective and outlook are completely within the realm of possible. You and JP sound like a wonderful team. Best of luck, as always!

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  9. one thing that will continue to hold women back in society is their use of guilt - heaping it upon ourselves and other women. it is laughable that women are trying to make you feel guilty for earning a living for your family. HAH!

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  10. You rock. I love all your posts about motherhood and work, and this one in particular. I think the last sentence from the comment you deleted says it all: I made these choices, you didn't, so I am a good mother and you are not.

    I am writing a related post right now (if I can get it done in my five-minute window before class, otherwise it'll wait until this afternoon).

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  11. ...about the 18 months thing. I worked full time with my first child, and yeah, I think it's just true. About 18 months was when the out-of-home childcare became OK for her. Instead of being a battle, of being time I needed to "make up for" because she didn't get as much attention as she would have gotten at home with me, she started getting positive things from daycare and started thriving there. There just is something that develops in kids around that time that allows them to get what they need from socialization and less one on one adult interaction. That's why many montessori and preschools start around that age.

    BUT I still agree with LL - a child is not going to get what they need from a miserable parent any more than from a nanny. That's true if mommy is miserable from working and being away from her child or miserable from not having something she needs, like a career.

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  12. I would be so nice if you didn't have to defend yourself from people who are that dreaded combination of insecurity and arrogance (but I'm glad you did). I've never understood why some get so hot under their collars about other peoples' lives when there is no direct effect on theirs.

    The "debates" that new mothers get into are so ridiculous. Imagine, in ten years or even less, how foolish the oh-so-"perfect" mothers will look when they can't let go of their breastfeeding and organic-food-making supremacy.

    I'm in the same boat as you in a lot of ways. I have a career and a child, and I enjoy having the balance. I love my daughter more than anything in the world, but she does not fully define who I am and what I do. I make sacrifices for her, but I won't sacrifice my dreams and ambitions unless absolutely necessary. I applaud those who stay at home, doing what they feel is best for their situations, just as I applaud women who are happy striking a work/life balance.

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  13. Hi LL,
    I somehow found your blog when you first started two years ago, when I was researching which law school to attend- I'm now a 2L at your school (and an Austin native... weird, I know). I can't explain why this post, of all posts, moves me to finally comment, but it is a beautiful example of why I can't stop reading your blog. I truly admire your ability to write about these things in such an honest, thoughtful way, especially when you're addressing superficial comments like the one above. It's graceful, it's helpful, and it moves this so-often-heated discourse in the right direction.

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  14. Great post, per usual!

    I wish all of us could just respect each other's decisions and move on already. *sigh* As a former professional who did give up the career, I get the other end of the stick hitting me upside the head. It gets old.

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  15. What a fabulous post. I think it's interesting that "Anonymous" labeled you immature and coddled, which are the two things that I would say you seem least to be. The amount of things that you are juggling and taking care of suggest a level of maturity and self-sustenance that I think most people don't have at your age. And you appear to be doing an amazing job. People like you give me hope for my own future.

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  16. THere is no perfect time to have a baby. There is always a "reason" to put it off. Money, career, etc are all reasons to wait. But, if we were all to wait until that perfect time, there would be VERY few kids in this work. Very few people have everything in place and "perfect" before they are 40. Now, I think it is best to be able to stay home with the kids and all, but that is not always possible. You are your husband are doing the best you can. Many more parents out there spend even less time with their kids. Some people just need to understand that what works for them doesn't work for everyone else!

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  17. A nice post about a not-so-nice comment.

    It always kills me when women are said to be "trying to have it all" and men are, well, just doing what men have historically done - go to work and have someone else do primary child care during the day while they're at work.

    You are doing a great job at balancing everything - there is absolutely no way I could have handled it with half the grace and aplomb when I was your age. Brava!!!

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  18. I hate how that negative commenter thinks she is so much better just because she is putting off her career for 1.5 years- she will be in the same position as you after that time (juggling family and career) so is she just that much better because she wont go to work until her baby is 1 and a half?!

    And clearly this negative commenter knows nothing about your blog- the whole point of your blog is to talk about BALANCE in work/career and yet she is chastising you as if you have put career over family- which your many posts prove is contrary!

    As for the topic of thinking you should have waited- I think everyone with kids can think of a million things they could have done differently in bringing up a child including waiting to have one until things are more stable. And all moms look back at their pre-baby years with some longing for freedom but it that doesn't mean having a baby was a mistake. I really wanted to have a baby last year and now I have him I often entertain similar thoughts but I also know I wouldn't change anything. I think those are normal feelings and I think most reflective parents have them.

    I can't believe the poster called you immature and coddled. I think that's ridiculous and so uncalled for. How can people be so judgmental to people they barely know? It's true that when you make parts of your life public you open yourself to criticism but someone who seems to work as hard as you in the office and who has a happy and loving relationship with your little one- there is nothing immature about that! Why can't we strive to have it all? What is wrong with that? If your child is thriving while you are a working mom, then what's the harm and isn't that the ultimate proof that you can have both?

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  19. I don't believe anyone has the right to judge anyone else.....What's works for one person may not work for another. I don't believe going out to work everyday makes you any less of a parent--whether you are a mother or a father....(I myself am a stay-at-home-parent). Everyone makes the choice that is right for them and their family, and as long as you love your child, who is anyone else to judge? Here's to more success for you and your husband
    in the future Lag Liv......Any to adorable Landon too!

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  20. I think its ridiculous that anon implied that you can't give a child your all unless you don't work... and that you shouldn't have a child unless you can give her definition of "your all".

    Apparently she believes I should not be a mother (which I hope to be soon!) since there is no way my husband and I could afford a child on one salary. But I fail to see how that makes me unfit. I still plan to give my child every ounce of love and affection that I have in my body, and everything else in my power to give them.

    Nowadays I think its ridiculous to conclude that one has to make the decision between work and family (this isn't the '50s). More and more I think people are finding a healthy balence between both. I am happier when I work... helping to provide for my family, and having an intellectual outlet, as well as non-family adult interaction. I believe that will make me a better parent. A happy parent is a better parent, you have to do what works for you and your family.

    In my opinion, the things that Anon mention - being able to handle school, a career, and a child at the same time - show your maturity, not any immaturity. If anything, her belief that others are wrong unless they make the exact decisions that she does shows her immaturity. Kuddos to you for finding a happy balance in your life, and for doing so not at the expense of your son... but in a way that has helped him to grow into a happy, healthy, well-adjusted boy.

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  21. Dear LL, As you know I am a physician, I'm an oncologist, actually. And a working mom of two daughters. And a wife. And dealing with cancer patients all day makes me realize exactly what you put in your last paragraph and what Jodifur said: if it works for you and your family, that's all that matters. How judgmental of that commenter. I suspect she is very unhappy and reflecting some of her doubt about her life onto you. No one is saying being a working mom is easy, any more than we are saying being a SAHM is easier. If moms were more accepting of each other, we would all be a lot happier. I commend you for your work-life balance, your beautiful house, your cute son and your happy marriage. Life is too short to sweat the rest. I feel what you are saying about suddenly realizing that your career life may not play out how you had thought it might. Maybe you will become a professor? Maybe you will be partner? Who knows? And that is totally OK.

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  22. Bengali Chick10/30/08, 10:19 AM

    I haven't read all the comments...

    However, why the hell are mothers held to such a high standard???

    I don't feel like you should have to defend yourself in anyway to this anon twit. Clearly you're a good mother and you are pursuing a career as an attorney and providing for your fam. Oh my, what a wicked wench you are=P

    Ugh, people like this anon twit infuriate me.

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  23. AMEN to everything you said! Seriously, EVERYTHING. took the words right out of my mouth.
    If commenters are going to post something rude and ignorant, at least let everyone know who you are and have the balls to defend yourself!

    BTW, this might sound stupid, but one of the reasons I decided to get pregnant in law school was watching the opening scene to Idiocracy (after much thought and deliberation)... all the career oriented people kept waiting for the "perfect time" to have kids, which needless to say, never came. Because I want a career and have worked really hard for it, I could see myself getting caught up in the rat race at a big firm, giving up 8 or 9 years of my life just to make partner. But I KNEW that I wanted a family much more than that. I also didn't want to give up 4 years of my life working non-stop so that I could quit when I had children and give up a career because I NEEDED a break that badly. So my husband and I decided that I should START my career balancing everything that's important to me (work, family, life) and if it doesn't work out, it obviously wasn't meant to be. I won't consider my career a failure if I don't end up being partner and I don't think most lawyers at big law firms would feel that way... there is a reason why in-house jobs and non-law firm jobs are so highly coveted.
    As always, you said it all better than I ever could. Just know that for every criticizing commenter you have, there are hundreds of us who not only agree with your viewpoints but stand in awe and envy of everything you have accomplished!

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  24. I will never understand why women, especially mommies who have so much going on, attack each other. What's right for her is not right for you, and vice versa...who the f cares...why must she be so judgemental?! I have to admit, I'm jealous that you can shrug it off, bc this shit still bugs the crap out of me. As far as limiting your career...why should having children limit a woman's career?...men have kids young too, yet noone talks about it limiting THEIR careers. There is never a perfect time to have a baby...Personally, the right time for us is when we are young so that we have the "energy" to put up with sleepless nights and running around like crazy...and we can still hopefully be somewhat cool when they are older, and then have some energy left for ourselves when we retire, without kids living in our house! Stay strong, mama!

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  25. I'm a lurker of your blog and I just wanted to tell you how much I admire you! I also had a baby in law school (my last semester) and am a new associate at a fast-paced firm. It's nice to know that there are others out there like me and you, who not only have both carrer and family life, but who have both successfully!
    In fact, I'm thrilled I decided to have a baby in law school. The last semester was less stressful than work tends to be, and I also got extra time off to spend with baby while I was studying for the bar.
    So, bravo on your decisions! Sure, we all have to make sacrifices, but sacrifices for the sake of family are the best kind.

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  26. I am 47 years old and I left my corporate career 19 years ago to raise my babies. My oldest is a freshman in college and my youngest is a junior in high school. I'm glad I stayed home with them because it was fun and we didn't have any financial stresses because my husband has a well-paying job.

    So, speaking as a person at the other end of the childraising timeline, I just have to say that I am amazed at how little I had to do with the way my kids have turned out. They are both hard-working, good students, good athletes and well-behaved. I don't think they are this way because I stayed home with them, they just are this way. They just amaze me with the way they handle their lives and of course I have been a source of support to them but I would have been one also if I'd been at work all day. I honestly think parents take way too much credit for the way their kids turn out. I also know kids who are having a rough time now (drugs, teenage pregnancies, etc.) whose parents have done nothing wrong, that's just how the kid is. I know too that most of them will be just fine eventually. (I am not talking about neglectful, abusive or drug-addled parenting, I am talking about stable, loving, at-least-one-parent-gets-up-and-goes-to-work-every-day parenting.)

    Anyway, what I want to say is you just keep on doing what you want. Obviously your son is well taken care of and has a lot of love. After 19 years of child care, the days can get a little empty sometime. I do work part-time now as a photographer which is fun but I sometime wonder what would have happened if I'd stayed in my MBA program and kept working.

    izzie

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  27. Hilary, your post leads me to a point that LL and I discussed briefly in e-mail. I never see this smug, judgemental attitude toward others' parenting decisions in real life--just on the internet. Many of my friends and I have made different decisions regarding our kids and not once has there ever been a hostile remark.

    As long as the decisions being made aren't actually harming the child, to each her (and his) own. The circle of people in my life all have this attitude, and I'm grateful for it.

    Don't get me wrong--I have all sorts of opinions on how things should be done, but I've also been a mom long enough now to understand that what works for me isn't going to work for someone else, and what worked for me this time won't necessarily work for me next time. I certainly don't use my opinions as the basis for hateful, unprompted attacks.

    The veil of anonymonity is taken by a small minority comprised of insecure, arrogant, and just plain mean people as cart blanche to insult and demean whomever they want. It's sad because a 24/7 medium like the internet can be a wonderful source of support, when all the meanies aren't ruining it for everyone.

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  28. Who says you have to be a SAHM to give your baby your all? I think that's such an antiquated thought. I was in daycare of some sort from 3 mos. on and since I'm 25 and just graduated from law school I think I'm probably doing okay.

    I really enjoy reading about how you and JP are making it work. Since I'm dating another attorney and it seems like we're in it for the long haul, it's nice to see how two professionals can handle juggling kids without one of them sacrificing their career.

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  29. I love that your label for these kinds of posts is Balancing Act because really? That's so what it is.

    I am 30, and I have a 2 year old and a 6 month old. I'll graduate with my PhD this May, and I am definitely walking a fine line everyday.

    I think people like the poster you quoted in this post are just so scared that their own choices are not the "right" ones that they're quick to attack anyone who does it differently.

    I like this blog a lot-- for the though provoking discussion and the cute kiddie pics.

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  30. I just wanted to let you know that I think your level-headed analysis of your situation is commendable. It is a different choice to having children at the start of a career than in the middle, but that doesn't mean that anyone has the right to tell you that it's the wrong choice. (I have made different choices than you--my husband quit his job so that one parent would still be home with our three kids when I entered law school--but those are questions that every family has to work out for themselves.) So in addition to the people out there who think that you are crazy or coddled for the decisions you've made, just remember that there are many more people who respect and admire you.

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  31. P.S. - I also 100% agree with you about kids needing you more as they get older. Which makes me, I'll admit, uneasy about embarking on a time-intensive career just as K is old enough to understand that we don't get as much time together. JW and I have also talked about various part-time options for either or both of us, and I hope we'll be able to work out a balance that gets us home with him after school at least sometimes.

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  32. I suspect that you get some negative comments because people just can't stand how great your attitude is. Maybe you have a great attitude because you had such a hard time so recently, or maybe that's just the way you are. People are jealous. I think you're pretty cool.

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  33. I don't think that anonymous is "irked" at you. I think she is jealous, because you are doing it all. I think what annoys her is your lack of conflict about it.

    These mommy wars really make me sad. We should be supporting each other, not trying to demoralize each other.

    I really respect the way you answered her. You were very respectful, but still made your point. Come to think of it, I respect the way you run your whole life.

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  34. Yes! I love what you said about wanting to build a life--work, family, etc--all at one time so that you get the type of job you want and need. Very well said.

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  35. Wow- I figured you would delete my "irk" post. As the original poster, I am sorry for what I said, LagLiv, and I thank the other posters for saying that mothers should lift each other up, and not put each other down. I wish your family the best, and hope that all of our children grow up happy and healthy :)

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  36. It's strange to me that someone would accuse you of "playing house," when you're simultaneously working, mothering, emotionally and otherwise supporting your (wonderful and equally supportive) husband, taking care of two (cute!) dogs, and accomplishing myriad other tasks on a daily basis.

    If you're "playing house," then I'm still in diapers.

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  37. LL, you rock. My husband and I are on the same path (only a bit earlier, we are trying to start our family before my 2L year). Since neither my husband, nor I come from money, we will always have to work to care for our extended families. So I am making the same career bets that you are -- that it would be better to grow a practice around a family than vice versa. Also that by putting in my time (and paying off debt and building a family business) early, I will be able to work less as my children get older. And, I love working. So I'm with you 110%.
    Thanks for being so honest and brave -- you rock!

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  38. Dear Original Anonymous (6:31 pm): I'm a little surprised, but pleased, that you came back and read this post and comments. While I appreciate your conciliatory reply, I would still stress that in the future, you should try to avoid sentences like this: "People can coddle you all you want, but I think you are simply an immature woman who wants to play house when you get home from work, but won't sacrifice to give your child the most of yourself." It is possible to contribute your views to the discussion without personally insulting, offending, and/or hurting the person whose blog you are reading.

    But really, I am impressed you read everything and wrote back. I also wish your little one the best.

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  39. I love your blog! Something is wrong with the people whose only point in commenting is to let you know that you shouldn't live your life the way you and your husband have decided is best for you! (I suspect they might be bitter that they aren't doing the same thing!) We all make the choices that are best for our families, and who is anyone else to say what someone else should or should not do! How arrogant!

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  40. Thank you for saying this.

    You are so brave for putting yourself out there so much, and I just want to say I really appreciate it. I know it's a tough act, but it's one of the awesome things about being a woman in our generation - we really can have it all. Yes, there are sacrifices, and yes, it requires skillful tightrope walking, but it is possible, and I think you're getting it right. And thanks for sharing that journey with all of us - it is such an encouragement.

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  41. LL- You are one strong woman with a great head on your shoulders. It took a lot of courage to say what you had to say without being at the same level of the poster. I for one, always appreciate your honesty, your openness and your pursuit of what makes your family run. You and JP make a strong team and one that the Landon will totally test when he enters teenagedom.

    High Five!

    PS. If you ever want to grab a bite to eat, I work near 6th and Congress!

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  42. I'm currently pregnant with our first and my husband is in year one of grad school. I know it will be tough at times for us to balance our schedules, but as a person whose own mother always work, I have no worries that daycare will adversely affect my child. My mother worked at my school when I was a kid, and those are the years I remember. Her being home when I get out of school and having the same holidays off. I have no memory of the baby/toddler years when I was in full-time daycare.

    Like you, I'm looking forward to when husband finishes school (he'll be a teacher) and perhaps I can change jobs and work part time to spend more time with our children when they are older.

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  43. I made the mistake of checking for new posts to take a quick mental break at work, but now I can't stop thinking about this post & comments. Here are just a few quick comments so that I can get back to work (I hope) and maybe sit down this weekend for a more thought-out answer.

    First, having a baby in law school. I think law school is a great time to have a baby (after first year), but comes at a cost. I would be curious to hear from any top law students with babies. I graduated near the top of my class, but only because I spent most nights at the library until 11 or 12. That wouldn't have been possible if I had a baby. But, while in school, if I didn't go to class or finish a project on time, I was the only one who was hurt by that. Now that I'm working, the flexibility isn't there--I can't miss a deadline. When I start having babies, I plan to go back to school so that I have flexibility, but can continue working towards my career goals.

    Second, "playing house." I still feel like I am "playing house," and I work full-time, am getting married next year, and am a few weeks shy of 28. And yet every time I sit down for dinner with my fiance, I feel like we're "playing house." I wonder if it will ever change.

    I have spent way too much time thinking about this when I have so much work to do!! Thanks, LL, for providing such interesting material.

    Megan

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  44. Good for you. I don't why exactly anyone's choices are anyone's business. When did anyone say we all have to be the same. I love that there are so many different (and good) ways to raise families these days. The only people who's opinion matter in the way you choose to live your life are yours and JP's. Even Landon will go along, because he won't know any different.

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  45. Wow. Glad to see that the "Anonymous" of the "irked" comment came back and read your reply post.

    I admire your cogent, persuasive response. Aside from agreeing with everything you wrote, I have to pipe up as someone whose mom "had it all" and, I think, turned out okay.

    Gosh. I came over to see if there were any Landon Halloween pics up, and got sucked into a situation of woman-created antifeminism. Boo, judging. Yay, Lag Liv.

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  46. Enough with all this serious stuff! I came looking for costumed toddlers and dogs. Hint-hint. What can I say? I'm subtle.

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  47. People are just jealous if they call you spoiled and coddled. They want things they don't feel they can have and are jealous of those who are making it work for themselves. :-)

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  48. Dude. I've been off the internet for a week while my baby had surgery, and I obviously have a lot of catching up to do. I'm about to scroll down and start reading the posts and comments from the beginning, but right off the bat I'm pissed. Who is she calling immature? And coddled? That's ridiculous. What's immature is posting criticism anonymously, and the idea that a woman isn't giving her child her "all" just because she has a career. Oh, I get so steamed over this.

    For the record, you are the most mature, put together, and non-coddled person I can imagine. You've taken on an amazing task, and you do a great job of it. I can't imagine a better mom to Landon.

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  49. Also? It's a good thing I have such a small following because I fear I would get this type of comment on my blog if more people read it. If someone said this to me I would probably burst out crying cause I'm super sensitive that way and mainly blog for the love that comes my way.

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  50. It's all about Sam posted this:

    "I've never understood why some get so hot under their collars about other peoples' lives when there is no direct effect on theirs."

    This is all you really need to keep in mind.

    I love reading your blog and I love that last post. I love that you called her out on her lack of commenting about JP, that's pretty much the smartest thing I've ever heard you do, and you've done some smart things...good job!

    TB, long-time reader, very infrequent commenter...

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  51. I don't understand why we moms cannot be supportive of each other's decisions and choices. Indeed, some of us have no choice as to whether we will work or stay home. Why are women so quick to judge and deem that "their" way is the best way or the only way?

    Every decision about parenting, career, and life in general comes with advantages and disadvantages. If there were one "right" way, we'd all take it. But we don't. We each take our own paths.

    Anyway, as you already know, I had my son between my second and third year of law school in the summer. I didn't know then that my husband would be deployed and sent to Iraq which, of course, made my third year of law school with a baby far more challenging. But as for having a baby when I did? I wouldn't change that for anything. I always wanted to be a young parent so that I could have the energy I needed to chase my kids around. And now that one is here? I can assure you that I need it!

    Anyway - all I want to say is that I think we should all be supportive of each other for a change instead of quick to judge.

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  52. Okay, so I'm weeks behind on your blog. Sue me. (Wait no! You're a lawyer now, DON'T!!)

    But you are a really inspiring person- because you DO want it all. And you're getting it. You're incredibly successful at a point in your life where I feel I would have just given up.

    Congratulations to you on EVERYTHING!!!!

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  53. Great post, you go, girl!
    I know I've commented on this issue before but you really said it all in your last paragraph:

    I'm the mom of a happy toddler and the wife of a happy husband. We're living our lives and trying to plan for a future of being the best parents we can be. Having Landon so early in our lives and careers means that we can build everything we planned around being there for him and his future sibling(s).

    You need answer to no one but yourself, your child and your husband. As long as you can look yourself in the mirror and your child in the eye, you're doing just fine.

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  55. I know this comment was made a while ago, but I am new to the blogosphere, and would like to say that I commend you on the choices you have made, and reading your post has given me insight into some of the questions I have been running around in my head lately. I am a current graduate student and upon graduating from this program will be starting law school. I too have a young son- 7 months old and work full time. Like you also, I am the sole earner in our household while my husband gets his business off the ground. I want to say that the decisions you have made are just as you said, right for your family. I know that for me as much as I love my son, I would not be at my happiest if I had to stay at home all day, and frankly at this age (7months) he really doesn't notice it. Yes, he recognizes his mother and father but as long as his needs are being met he really doesn't care who completes them. I too, would rather be with him in later years when he really needs guidance.
    I just commend you for your strength and determination to create the family and life that you want. Congrats, you are an inspiration to all of us working mothers out here.

    P.S. I don't think anyone (mainly the rude responder) would have commented that you were being immature and coddled if it were a man who made the original comments about having it all at a young age. The fact that a woman has to justify the fact that she desires to have a career and a family is still a sexist mentality that our society has to overcome.

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  56. I just stumbled across this post in a random google search for 'law students with babies', and I just had to leave a comment here to send you my heartfelt agreement. I myself am not in law, in fact I am an actor, but I am also a young mother of a toddler and the wife of a soon-to-be-1L...(-once-we-can-pick-a-school.)
    I am so grateful to be a young parent, as is my husband, it allows us to have the energy to keep up with her, and, just as you said, I love the fact that we are going to be building our careers around our family, and not trying to force a child into an established career, having to step back and relearn, repattern your entire established life. And I know that for myself, I would not be 'whole' if I didn't have my career (which has been on hold for the last year and a half, since she was born)...and she deserves to have a mother who is whole, I will be able to give her so much more if I don't have to coddle myself first. anyway, I just wanted to send you some Kudos on doing what is right for you and your family-that really is the best that anyone can do.
    We're trying to take things in stride, we have no delusions about this endeavor, we know that having a family (including 3 cats!) and the rigors of Law school are not going to be easy-but we're trying to arm ourselves with knowledge ahead of time, an adventurous spirit, and the ability to keep those lines of communication open.
    Thank you so much for sharing your stories. (as a fellow dooce reader, I think this is just one more example of the fact that there is a way to make it work no matter what path you choose to take in life.)
    Here we go! Any tips? :-P

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