Behold! My kids.
Once upon a time, I went to law school. It was the first step in climbing the corporate ladder, and plugging away at my so-called "5-year-plan."
Then life happened.
Now I stay at home with my two children. I didn’t plan on this five years ago.
Motherhood was to be put off until I was securely and comfortably established in a high-power career. This would satisfy my unerring sense of drive and craving for self-worth. It would allow me to provide my children with the very best of everything tangible and impressive.
I thought it was the right thing to do.
It was the wrong thing to do.
My pregnancies were surprises, the most terrifying and extraordinary surprises of my life. I worked hard to be a big, important person; a high-stakes player in the legal world. Instead I became a big, important person to two small, impressionable, dependent human beings.
After three years of trying to balance my family-life and work-life, it became clear that I had reached a cross-roads. I couldn’t keep working at such a frantic pace, trying to do it all at once. And my own self-image was slowly morphing. The so-called great, big, important career was no longer so great and big and important.
I left my job when we moved back to Wisconsin. It caused a significant hit to our household income. It caused a significant set-back to my career. But I could provide more for my children at home, than I could spending all my time at work bringing in the bacon for them to eat without me, as I burned the midnight oil.
The legal profession is often symbolized by a scale, weighing justice versus mercy. But there is no true way to know before starting a family how you will balance your career with your family time. When is it just to be at work? Or at home? When can you show mercy, allowing your heart to rest at home with your family? Or do you allow your mind the mental break and space to build a career outside the home? It’s an ever-sliding scale, with the weights constantly moving from one end to the other.
I can’t always gauge whether my scale had balanced. But I can listen to my heart.
It’s the right thing to do.
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