parens binubus

more than you want to know about a law school graduate/bar examinee who is also raising two children and doing her best at being a partner to her love.

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  • Friday, August 26, 2005
    Establishing New Routines
    Well, today is my last day of summer. I had a wonderful 2 weeks staying home with Thing One and Thing Two. But now the days of going swimming, to the park, the library for hours on end, and watching goofy cartoons are over.

    Starting tomorrow, they're going off for a few days with my parents on a fun trip, because on Sunday, I start orientation for my facilitating/teaching endeavor, which continues into Monday (where I need to stand up in front of allllllll the IL's, and introduce myself, and make some pro-social justice project schpeel that somehow works to make the 1L's assigned to my group think, 'hey, she's cool! i'm excited that i'll be in her class, dude!'). And classes start on Tuesday.

    So it is time. Time to find the new flow. The new niches of time which I can exploit for reading cases, writing my papers, and any other duties that may crop up this semester.

    I am also bound and determined that this semester, I will find time to exercise. Daily. I live in a nice hilly area, very conducive to my style of walking/jogging. We also have a lot of stair paths, which wind me much more than any stairmaster has managed in the past. And when the weather is crappy, my school has a very nice gym.

    It will also be nice to get back on the bike. I ride to/from school whenever possible (i.e., when it's not either over 100 degrees, or snowing/icing). It is only a 20 minute ride (which includes lots of time sitting at lights and negotiating traffic), but yet, on public transit, it can take over an hour to get to school. I love riding my bike to school. I feel very portable. Relying on public transit, and dealing with the transfers from bus to bus or train to train or bus to train ... it's exhausting and constricting.

    And of course, back to the reading for classes until 12 or 1 a.m. woo hoo.
    posted by Zuska @ 8:03 AM   1 comments
    Thursday, August 25, 2005
    a really bad word ...
    Your word is FUCK. You like to come across as rude
    and rebellious, and often you do. You also are
    intelligent and maybe surprisingly sensitive,
    though God help anyone who said that in front
    of your friends.


    Which Swear (Curse) Word Are You?
    brought to you by Quizilla
    posted by Zuska @ 10:30 AM   1 comments
    Saturday, August 20, 2005
    Some answers to some questions
    Thanks to **~*E*~**, I have been asked 5 questions. Here go my answers!

    1) If you could go back 10 years – what would you tell your past self?

    10 years ago … I was married for less than a year, and at quite a crossroads. I was 22. I was not yet pregnant with Thing One. I believe that I would tell that Girl Who Was Me not to get lost. In my husband, in his goals, in his dreams. Not to get lost in the culture that we were already steeped in (but slowly climbing our way out of). As awful as it sounds (to me, anyway) -- I would tell my past self to stay on The Pill. It sounds awful to me because I *adore* Thing One. And if she wasn't conceived right then - would she be Thing One? But getting married and pregnant at young ages (21, and then 23) definitely increased the challenges in my life.

    2) Who is your favorite plaintiff?

    This required some going-through of last year's notes. i've decided upon the NAACP of Southern Burlington County, New Jersey. The case was a Supreme Court of New Jersey case regarding zoning and disparate impact issues. since we're mostly all back in school now and have full Westlaw/Lexis privileges - look it up: 336 A.2d 713 (N.J. 1975).

    3) Why did YOU decide to study law?

    I decided to study law in 1989. Why it took until 2004 is a long story (15 years long!). I just love the law. I love framing legal arguments. I love the kind of thinking involved, and my brain is well suited to it. I had thought of doing other things – like teaching, or counseling/social work. But I was better at the LSAT than the GRE. Probably b/c I love the law. And am suited to it :)

    4) What is your favorite city to visit and why?

    Berkeley, California. The reason why is because I used to live there, and I left many people behind who I like to visit. I love the fog. I also love that you can drive to many amazing places in a relatively short period of time. Including the obvious San Francisco, but also wine country, Monterey, Santa Cruz, and in the winter – the snow!! But Berkeley itself has a … relaxed-ness to it that I really love, and often miss.

    5) Your Favorite:

    -- Song lyric - Today it’s Jack Johnson’s “Good People.” Tomorrow will be something different. Perhaps Rufus Wainwright's Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk, to wit:

    cigarettes and chocolate milk
    these are just a couple of my cravings
    everything it seems i like's a little bit stronger
    a little bit thicker
    a little bit harmful for me

    if i should buy jellybeans
    have to eat them all in just one sitting
    everything it seems i like's a little bit sweeter
    a little bit fatter
    a little bit harmful for me

    and then there's those other things
    which for several reasons we won't mention
    everything about them is a little bit stranger
    a little bit harder
    a little bit deadly

    -and on and on ;)

    *feeling compelled to state: I am not a cigarette smoker. I've actually never smoked a cigarette in my life.

    -- Movie Quote – “You Still Alive, Baby?” from Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

    Honestly, I do not have a favorite movie quote. I have plenty of favorite movies. I tend to see movies as much more visual than audio. If I could get a screenplay from Wings of Desire, I may link to it. Also, if I could get a still frame of this one quick shot recently seen in Broken Flowers that left me cracking up, I'd post that. But a single quote?

    I only picked this one, because my Beloved and I went to the movies last week, and during that time (which we are ALWAYS there for) in the 30 minutes before the movie starts, they run these slides. And they have these trivia questions, and sometimes the quotes they put out there are like, “who said, ‘hi!’?” The quotes are just so … bland, and not unique. Like they could have been in ANY movie.

    I never even saw Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

    --Piece of Advice – “It is easy when we are in prosperity to give advice to the afflicted." Aeschylus (i.e., I don't take advice from others well).
    posted by Zuska @ 1:38 PM   1 comments
    Thursday, August 18, 2005
    my personality

    You are dependable, popular, and observant.
    Deep and thoughtful, you are prone to moodiness.
    In fact, your emotions tend to influence everything you do.

    You are unique, creative, and expressive.
    You don't mind waving your freak flag every once and a while.
    And lucky for you, most people find your weird ways charming!

    Found via a recent favorite of mine: Phocas and Francis
    posted by Zuska @ 10:48 PM   1 comments
    They're baaaacckkk!
    My kids, that is. Therefore, we're doing things like the Zoo, seeing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, playing Trouble, and my old favorite card game .... Spit. I'm actually stunned that my 7 and 9 year olds can give me a run for my money in Spit. It's a speed game, and I quite honestly ROCK at it. My sister and I used to play it into the dead of the night when we were in high school. My girls aren't in high school. And yet, they *almost* beat me. I cannot give up a win, so it stayed at *almost.* They're on the verge of truly beating me, though.

    I finished up my research assistantship last Friday. Interesting that on my week "off," I probably worked about 60 hours on this project. I also managed to clean my house quite a bit, and go out to dinner a couple times with my Beloved. I think that knowing me, I would have been bored if all I was doing was reading novels and ... whatever else people do on days off while their Beloved is working and their kids are gone. I guess I could have gone to the beach ... but it was HOT! I don't like HOT. I have gotten to where I don't mind hot, or even Hot. But HOT?! Not for me.

    And yesterday I dragged the kids to school to drop off the first batch of OCI resume packets and to purchase my books. I was very pleased b/c books were only $345, rather than $500-$600 as in semesters past. This decrease in cost is directly related to my Teaching Facilitator-ship, b/c I am taking less classes than I otherwise would be. I only bought books for 3.

    Family Law, Advanced Criminal Procedure, and Evidence. I wonder if any of my readers remember my ponderings over whether I should force the seminar on Balancing Security and Liberty into my schedule? The dilemma had to do with how many papers I could write in one quarter. Then it ended up that Family Law and Balancing ... were pitted against each other in the schedule. So I felt like I had to choose a serious substantive topic which may very well be related to my future, or a fun topic, which makes me salivate, but will not realistically contribute to my future. I went with Family Law.

    But THEN!!! I spoke with my advanced crim professor, and HE said that he is planning on tying in a good bit of post 9/11 issues into the class. Pleasure is all mine!

    I'm also thinking that my next co-op (in the winter) will be done in the Criminal field. I'm hopeful I can make that work.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:39 AM   3 comments
    Tuesday, August 09, 2005
    It just wasn't in the cards
    for me to work this week. thank god! i am home this week, and honestly, i have so much to do, i don't know what i would do if i were working. my oci packets are due on friday, i have to choose which social justice project i want to work on for my teaching adventure this fall, i have to finish putting together electronic versions of articles for the curriculum i'm assisting with (which includes in a couple of instances editing a scanned-in text -- which is absolutely horrendous), and then i have to do the global editing/formatting for a potentially 400 page curriculum in time for it to be sent to the copier - i need to finish by friday.

    because Thing One and Thing Two come home on saturday! and we have a wedding shower to go to in Connecticut on Sunday. so i'm trying to work on getting the house in tip-top shape so that we can then have fun in the sun for 2 weeks, rather than icky work and housekeeping (which i suck at - completely and totally SUCK at). my Beloved and i did major work on saturday, though. we rearranged furniture and put up some photo shelves. we then spent some time putting a bunch of pictures of kids and cats (and one token photo of each of us) in frames, and arranging them beautifully upon the shelves. the place looks cozier. yes, it is taking us forever to make the place "done" - we got here exactly a year ago, and we still have blank walls, and we still wonder what kind of curtains we want. we are planning on painting, too.

    we probably have another 3 years in this place, so it isn't all in vain. we were thinking of upgrading ASAP post-graduation, but our lease is not month-to-month, and must end on some August 1st. i don't want to be dealing with the stress of moving and apartment hunting while dealing with the stress of bar-exam-taking, so we will probably stay for a year after graduation. the only real rush is that the girls share a room right now, and Thing One will be entering those middle school years around graduation time, and they will be ready for their own space. they'll get it. i'm sure.

    i had a horrendous dream last night that thing one was missing. amber alert and everything in the middle of the country where she is temporarily residing. in my dream, her father did not tell me this, and i just so happened to come across it on the internet while me and some people at work (what work? i don't work!) were looking something else up. i am very grateful that i can say that i have only ever been THAT upset in my dreams.

    i did just now, at noon, finish watching the last episode of Six Feet Under, Season Two. i cried. quite a few times. i can't wait to watch Season Three. i will now go return that to the library, and then wander to Whole Foods to purchase some fresh fish for tonight's dinner, and then come home and hunker down into the work.
    posted by Zuska @ 11:51 AM   1 comments
    Thursday, August 04, 2005
    To temp or not to temp
    My summer internship is pretty much over. (see, there's a reason for the mass posting hysteria over here.) Last week was officially the end, but yesterday there was an interesting trial that I wanted to see and today I thought I was going to go to a sattelite court with my judge, but he ended up going on his own b/c he was getting together with some friends in that area at the end of the work day. So I got today to do nothing. Or rather, to prep my resume, to work on my research assistantship, to meet with a professor about my future career prospects (an encouraging conversation), and to post 1700 posts to my blog.

    As I said in the previous post, my girly-q's are coming home a wee bit early from their dad's house. That means that between my internship and the return of my Motherhood, I only have 1 week. It was supposed to be 3 weeks, before I gave most of this week away, and before they were going to come home early. So I was going to do some temp work. For, you know, $$. Odd concept to me, after a year of law school and a summer of working FOR FREE for the Judge.

    Despite it being only one week that I have available, I went to a temp agency and signed myself up. She said she did have at least one job for next week. I groaned inside, hoping that perhaps, just perhaps, nothing would be out there. I will survive without making the extra $$. My Beloved covers most (or all?) of our household expenses, and my (cringe) loans come through before rent is next due. Extra $$ means I can think about getting a pedicure, and buy the girls new back packs for the new school year without too much stress, but ... it isn't a life or death situation.

    And I don't think it's so horrid of me to want a week - ONE WEEK off! I started my internship immediately after taking my exams, when most people had a 2 week break. I'm doing this research assistantship, so my time won't be 100% decadent.

    If the temp agency calls, I will schlep off to some office and type for a week. But if they don't, then I will smile. All week long.
    posted by Zuska @ 3:48 PM   1 comments
    The Sadness of Thing One and Thing Two
    My girls are at their father's house. He lives a few states away from me. With some lakes in between, too. I personally like him being far away from me, because the effect he has upon me is hugely negative. and the effect he has on my self image is hugely negative. and my healthy self image is paramount to my mothering skills at the most, and my quality of life in general as a second-to-most.

    For the girly-q's, my Thing One and Thing Two, it is not a good thing for him to be far away, and I feel badly for them. This has been a trying summer. Here is some of why. [yes, i am about to embark on a third book of a post in this one day]. Some back story:

    When I was married, I lived in California. Then my marriage fell apart, and I moved with my 5 year old (Thing One) and my 3 year old [Thing Two] daughters from one (wonderful) part of California to another (wretched, miserable, depressing) part of California. I moved because the cost of living was infinitely less. I rented a house for $600/mo, as opposed to an apartment for $46 gazillion/month. The house was next door to my sister, who watched my little 'uns while I continued a retail job in the Other City, working nights (I had picked that job up to supplement the income that I got from my home business, which made good, but sporadic money - and the ex was a full-time student for the entire 7 years of our marriage and contributed very little financially - so the retail job was grocery money). I only lived there for 5 months. in that 5 months I re-entered the full-time REAL JOB (paralegal) working world, got my children enrolled in a daycare, and I found myself an apartment back in the other (wonderful) part of California that was one (ONE!) block from that daycare, and two blocks from BART in another direction. It was wonderful. I got on my feet in a small period of time as a single mother working and living in one of the highest cost of living areas in the United States. I was proud. I even had started to (extremely cautiously) date this very respectful and mature man who was 11 years my senior. During this time, the girly-q's spent every other weekend with their father.

    Then my ex announced that he was moving to a place in the center of the country, and that he expected me to do the same. He got a job, after all, teaching, at a very good school. He expected me to move as well, with the girls, and for us to find apartments near to each other. He wanted us to live next door to each other so that every night, he could stop by and say goodnight to the girls. You know, in between working late, dinner out, and trips to the bars with his friends.

    I did not go. He was very angry. I liked my life. I liked where I lived. I liked my new job. *I* didn't get a job in this place in the center of the country where i didn't want to live. I didn't want to ever leave my Wonderful City. He said I was a bad mother for not following him, and that I was selfish. Then he said he wanted to get back together with me. Then he said I was a bitch. And then he asked when I got so mean, and so bitter. He meant, "why are you not tearing out your guts and presenting them to me as a daily gift anymore?"

    So, my children had to traverse the distance of 2/3 of the country every Christmas break and summertime. I used to fly with them, b/c they were very little. Now, however, years have passed, and I moved to the other side of the country (making their distance only 1/3 of the country to cross), and flights are now available which do not stop and force little children to change planes in a big, scary airport. (okay, so my kids never saw airports as big and scary, b/c when I lived in CA, I was 3/3's of the country away from my parents, and my ex's parents, and both the girls took their first airplane ride at the age of 3 months, and probably every 3 months after that, or close to it). So starting this year, they do fly as unaccompanied minors. I bought them a portable DVD player to make this more bearable. They were nervous at first, but the flight is under 2 hours, and the airline let me get on the plane to settle them in, and they give us gate passes, so it's really a very painless adventure.

    This is their fourth summer away. And for some reason, it has been the hardest. I do not know why. Thing Two is now 7, and she has always been the adaptable one. The one who can happily fly into anyone's arms, who can feel just as home today on the east coast as she did yesterday on the west coast. Thing One, who is almost 9 ... now *she* has always had issues. She needs time and preparation to transition from one thing to another. She always dreads changes, and keeps herself up at night lamenting over future and past changes (and she was this way before the divorce ... her third birthday was highly tramatic for her -- she cried for MONTHS that she wanted to be two again. MONTHS!!! There were no other changes in her life. Her sister was born before she was 2, and we lived in teh same house until she was 4, I think.)

    But this summer, it is Thing 2 who is miserable. I mean, *really* miserable. She's 7, and she's having CHEST PAINS!! she is crying and working herself up. Calling me and leaving these messages on my voice mail that make tears squirt from my eyes about how unhappy she is. She wrote me a letter that said, "please please please let me come home, i don't even care if i have to go to daycare, i just miss you a lot and a lot and a lot, and a lot, and I do not like it here because daddy is always sleeping or being on the computer or going out."

    Thing One was very miserable when she first got there. One night, 1.5 weeks after her arrival, my phone rang at 12:30 in the morning. I just happen to be having a lot of insomnia this summer, so I was awake. It was only 11:30 where she is, but still, that's late. They don't have bedtimes when they're in the Middle of the Country. And Thing One does not sleep naturally. Even as a newborn, she slept a total of 8 hours a day. But anyway ... she called me in the middle of the night, and I stayed on the phone with her for two hours while she started off saying she felt "scared" but didn't understand why, b/c the book she was reading (for the second time - Harry Potter the Third) wasn't even at a scary part, and she had no reason to be scared, but she felt scared. I suggested (after some time) that perhaps she was just unsettled. She eventually started to cry .... daddy is like a different person this year. his girlfriend is around a lot more. they're in a new apartment. they are painting the walls all day every day for 5 days straight, and they haven't left the apartment once. they got a new leather couch, and the girls aren't allowed to move while they're sitting on it. daddy yells at her all the time. daddy's girlfriend is controlling everything. no, she can't tell daddy any of this, b/c then he might not like her anymore.

    i spent a very long time convincing her that she has to talk to daddy about these things, or they can't get better. she eventually did, and things got better. she is quite content now. she's getting along fantastically with daddy's girlfriend (who babysits them during the day, and is teaching them a fascinating foreign language). she is (according to daddy), very snappish and rude to daddy himself, but otherwise seems rather stable and secure.

    It's Thing Two who remains a mess. her daddy describes her as "unpleasant" (b/c in her daddy's world, EVERYONE is there with the sole purpose of pleasing HIM.) she not only is crying all the time, but she's whiney, and intolerant, and a hypochondriac.

    My Thing Two is NOT whiney. She is NOT intolerant, and she is NOT a hypochondriac. This is a bad summer. I am not sure why. Probably b/c of his move. I fear that it's partly b/c life at my house has a more stable feel to it -- in no small part b/c my Beloved has moved into the house with us, and they have a 2 "parent" home. They also started off on a very bad foot, b/c not only did their Daddy just move into a new apartment (which clearly *needed* 5 days of wall-painting) and has ratcheted up his relationship with his (pretty long-term) girlfriend, but his parents came to town 3 days after the girly-q's arrived. I think that hurt their settling-in process.

    I also think that although Thing Two isn't saying so ... she misses her friends. She had a very socially successful year, and bonded a good bit with a few girls. Her "best friend"'s mom just emailed me to say that her child will not play or get together with anyone this summer, b/c all she wants is to see Thing Two. I think she feels that she's being disloyal. I think that this friendship is pulling Thing Two as well as is her love for her Momma.

    So when enough got to be enough, and things weren't getting better, I emailed my ex and told him that I am worried for the girls, and I want them to come home early. I suggested 2 weeks early, but he compromised at 1 week early. I was very surprised. He also agreed that next summer, it will only be 1 month that they are with him, rather than 6 weeks.

    i cannot wait to have them home, in just under a week. We will then have 3 weeks together to do nothing (other than getting together with friends) before we all head back to school.
    posted by Zuska @ 3:03 PM   0 comments
    So much for an increase in posts come summer
    I thought that with my girly-q's gone, and without school work looming every evening, I would be posting like MAD all summer. Not so much, as it turns out.

    At the beginning of the summer (May), I turned down the opportunity to spend the summer as a research assistant working on enhancing a curriculum for the 1st-year class that I'll be a teaching facilitator for in the fall. The girls were winding down their school year, we had a lot going on family-wise before they left for their dad's - including trips planned, weekend activities to enjoy, etc. But I told my professor at the time that come July, I'd be available to help out with any isolated overflow assignments that may crop up.

    Come July, I emailed her, and reminded her of my availability. She emailed me back immediately and said that b/c of a few unfortunate circumstances, they needed a LOT of help, and could I come to the meeting that night?

    So I've been working on this project as a research assistant. I've really loved it. We are using welfare issues to illustrate certain points, and I am immersed in research on welfare reform and the media's imaging of welfare recipients. I've also been doing some research trying to provide the real voices of welfare recipients.

    When I was married, and my ex-husband was working toward his Ph.D., I had a baby. My first was born one month after my ex started his Ph.D. program. We lived in Berkeley, CA, where rents were super high (coming from Alabama, where our rent was $400/mo, the CA rents seemed REALLY SUPER DUPER HIGH). I had an itty bitty baby, and I didn't want to work full time. My years as a legal assistant/secretary/paralegal made me quite employable, however, and I decided to make a go at a home business. [I bet you thought I was going to say that I went on welfare! ha!]

    Surprisingly, it worked. I was able to network in 2 different directions - I did a lot of work for arbitrators, and a lot of work for academics. The academic work paid less, but was so very interesting. I transcribed interviews that were collected as field research. I transcribed interviews with sex workers (one of those interviews was 20 hours long!), interviews with random women at BART stations over whether or not they get offended when men whistle at them, and about 500 interviews with the urban poor of the Oakland area. One was a project pertaining specifically to the recently-implemented Welfare to Work in California, and one was more generally about underprivileged unmarried parents - the target group consisted of probably 90% welfare recipients.

    That last one .... it was 100% life-changing. Did I mention on this blog in the past that I attended a SUPER DUPER conservative college? As in, a college run by none other than Jerry Falwell? I did. At that college, we were taught from the pulpit, by Jerry Falwell and others, that welfare recipients are lying cheats who keep having illegitimate babies in order to get bigger checks, which they use to buy fancy cars and drugs. I believed it. I was a snotty, cocky, Republican bitch back then (not saying all Republicans are those things ... I know many Republicans who are NOT those things. However, when *I* was a Republican, I was that kind), and I truly believed that people had no reason to not just get a job, and that they didn't deserve my money just b/c they were lazy, and that they were sinful liars. I don't know what the hell I was thinking ... I didn't *have* any money! I was a college student!!

    These interviews, however, which I had piped directly into my ears for HUNDREDS of hours, were not with lazy people who kept having babies to get bigger welfare checks. The interviews were with people who were struggling to feed their families. People whose education level was woefully low, whose families were very important to them. Some (20%) were with people who had addiction issues ... but that even meant something completely different than what I previously had thought. It only gave them more of a disadvantage, more struggles. It didn't mean they were cheats.

    I was already going through a major ideological change in my life ... having left the bubble of the religious university, both my husband-at-the-time and I went through earth shattering revelations about the community we had been a part of. About the things we had been told. About the shallowness of most of it. I also had a very close friend of mine from college come out of the closet, and many many things were shaken up for me with that. (Jerry Falwell does teach children to hate gay people, in case people thought that was just an exaggeration, it's not).

    And these interviews really really contributed to all these changes. They put a huge amount of empathy inside of me. I think that after that experience, I am constantly vigilant against any tendency to make assumptions about people, or about their choices and decisions and mistakes. I am constantly thinking about all of the possible hardships that people may have had to live through or live with that could put them where they are. I have heard so many examples of hardships that I never previously would have imagined, coming out of my suburban, privileged, homogenous background. I think that the changes mostly arise from the fact that I made these hugely erroneous conclusions and assumptions about entire groups of people without the proper information. I hated realizing that about myself. Hated it.

    Now I'm working on this research assignment regarding welfare reform and the imaging of welfare recipients, and I am in heaven. I am so glad that I have this opportunity. Oddly, I have come across cites to an article which came out of my favorite project. I dropped the then-student/now-professor who I worked for a line, and let her know I had seen the article, and what led me to it.

    But that's why I haven't had time to post so much this summer. God, my stories get long.
    posted by Zuska @ 12:16 PM   1 comments
    Premature [or not] stresses and dilemnas
    As many people have noted on various blawgs I read, it is time for the OCI bids and submissions. This is causing great anxiety for me, but I think in a different way than it does for most (but not all) others. Of course for everyone, the second summer is crucial to the long-term employment, and if it was independent of the law term decisions, i wouldn't be finding it stressful at all.

    When I decided to come to law school, I was working for a sole practitioner in California. She came into work around 9:30 most days, and left between 5:30 and 6. She really never worked weekends. She had a thriving practice, had a steady flow of new clients and often had to turn some down. She did family law, with a niche carved out for alternative families. As much as her reputation as the "go to" girl for gay and lesbian couples helped, it was *not* the reason for her success. These clients mostly brought her some estate planning work and some second-parent (which then changed to Domestic Partner) adoptions, which provided some of her income, but not the most of it. Most of it came from divorces and custody battles.

    I felt like I could be like her. I could have a law office where I took in the amount of work I wanted to, and have control over the amount of time I protected for my family.

    I knew that I would not be able to go straight from law school to success as a sole practitioner, so I figured I would find a small to medium sized family law firm, get myself established, learn from experienced attorneys, and perhaps in 7-10 years, try my hand at hanging a shingle.

    All of this came with the coinciding assumption that going to law school at age 32 with two small children who I would NOT push aside for the sake of my own pursuits would mean that I would perform at a mediocre level, at best.

    However, that assumption seems to have fallen away. I did protect my time, I did put my kids first. I sometimes missed classes so I could go to family breakfasts, I did not work in the evenings, I did not go to TA sessions, I did not join a study group - not even during finals. And I never ever worked weekends. Except during finals, but I did ship my kids off for a "fun weekend with grandma and grandpa! woo hoo!" So they didn't feel pushed aside, they felt like they got treated.

    But I did not do mediocre. I did well. Surprisingly well. And now I feel like my goals and my desires are changing along with an oddly transforming view of myself and my abilities and options. I don't really want to do just family law anymore. I want to tackle bigger things.

    My my life and the stage I'm in does not really coincide with grand ambitions. And I feel stuck, and torn, and just in general B-A-D over it all.

    I may have a chance at a big firm job here. Reputable big firm. But I don't see how I can take a job that requires me to be at work until 11 p.m. I have a supportive and wonderful partner who is more than willing to help out a LOT, but he can't be Mom. I can't be gone all the time.

    i want to find Wonderful Flexible Reputable Big Firm, but I'm not sure it exists. It's not even that I'm not willing to put in hours - I *am* willing. I just want to be home for dinner. And I want to be home until my kids go to bed. I won't mind working weekends, really, b/c as the kids get older, they are going to more and more have their own things to do. But I want to work at HOME on the weekends ... at my pace. I don't want to be in a place where the game is to put in "face time."

    I want to be able to go in at 7 a.m., and leave at 5, and be seen as the same as the person who goes in at 9 or so, and leaves at 7 or so. I want to be able to take files home with me, and work on them from 9 to 12 (at night, like I do now, in law school), and be seen as the same as the person who is in the office until 10 or 11.

    But I'm not sure it's out there. Which saddens me. B/c I want to be able to work to my abilities.

    I am meeting a professor of mine who did the trek from my Not-Top-25 law school to a Big Reputable Firm today, to discuss these issues. The firm she went to advertises on its website that it's "firm culture" includes a consideration of the "Balance Between Work and Family." I just know that starting out associates are not the people that such balancing benefits usually apply to.
    posted by Zuska @ 11:56 AM   4 comments
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