“I’d rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not.”
This popular quote couldn’t be further from the truth for me. While I wish I could hold my head up high and tell you that I don’t care what you think of me….the truth is that I do care. And if you’ve read my last few posts, you know that I care a little too much.
But now that I have Baby O, I am even more determined to set a positive example for her – to show her that there is strength in authenticity, even if the natural urge (for women?) is to be agreeable instead of disagreeable.
It is against this canvas that I must shamefully confess:
I wonder if I’m not as good of a lawyer now that I’m a mommy.
I hate to make this confession – especially because yesterday was International Women’s Day. Certainly, my personal experience is not a reflection of my gender (sorry, ladies!) – and I sincerely hope that my tumultuous thoughts of late do not somehow set women’s lib years back. I am painfully aware of the statistics of the lack of female partners in BigLaw,* but right now, as I sit here after repeated nights of little sleep (and working every weekend since I’ve come back from maternity leave), I must confess that I don’t care.
And that’s part of why I wonder if I’m not as good of a lawyer as compared to who I was before becoming a mommy.
It’s not because my skills have declined or that my experience has somehow evaporated. Yes, I do have the occasional forgetfulness that my mommy friends call “mommy brain,” but I attribute that to the lack of sleep. My confession comes down to the fact that I simply don’t care as much – and that’s not a truth I should have, considering that I am “on track” to be shareholder at my firm.
Drama aside, I obviously still care enough about my brand to work every weekend since coming from leave – and I still dutifully serve my clients – both internal (shareholders) and external, but it feels different now. I feel like I’m just going through the motions. The passion is no longer there.
For the best explanation of what I mean, I have to refer you to “The Year of Yes” by Shonda Rimes. If you have not read it, and you are a working mommy, I highly recommend it. I’m currently on Chapter 8. In fact, stop reading now and watch her Ted Talk where she talks about the “Hum.” Like Shonda, I used to love the Hum – I used to be the Hum. But no longer…..
The fire drills, the fake deadlines, the high stakes, the strategy and scrutiny…..
How can I possibly be as good of an attorney when I no longer care as much as I did? How can I be a good practitioner of the law, if I no longer have passion for it? How can I commit 110% like I used to when my heart is tugged by Baby O – to whom I am more committed?
Frankly, I feel a seed of resentment starting to bloom inside – as every hour billing (on nights or weekends) is an hour that I don’t get to spend with my sweet little girl, who luckily won’t remember my absence….yet. And oh, I also have an amazing husband who is carrying the load (whether it’s Baby O, dinner or laundry) while I am glued to my laptop – who probably wonders if he will ever get his wife back. (I wonder about that too but that’s for another post).
Obviously, life is too short for me to live a life of being a workaholic and resenting it – but I was so determined for so long not to become the statistic. But at what cost?
*According to the National Association of Women Lawyers, while women have comprised more than 50 percent of the nation’s law students for the past 15 years, only 38 percent of non-equity partners of firms studied were women. The percentage of female equity partners in large firms has increased by only two percent to 18 percent in the last 10 years. Of the female equity partners, they earn 20 percent less than male equity partners.