Having it All

Posted on | April 24, 2012 | 14 Comments

I just got back to work after an hour luncheon with some law students at my old law school.  The purpose of the meeting was to impart all of my glorious wisdom re: being a woman lawyer to a group of women who are in the process of, well,  becoming lawyers. 

It was eye opening.

A while back, I wrote a post about how women can’t have it all.  I wrote about how it’s impossible to juggle and balance and have the best career and the best family life.  I wrote that it’s a misnomer for women to think they can just be everything to everyone at all times.

And I made some good points in that post, but today?  I’m taking that post back.

Because while I was talking with these women I realized something amazing… I DO have it all.

I have a job I love in a field I enjoy.  I make a living that allows me to support my child and mostly get the bills paid.  And above all else, I have a child who thinks the sun rises and sets just beyond my head.  I am a successful lawyer and a successful mother.  I take time to go to my kid’s school for events that I can attend.  Am I a multi-millionaire with my own private jet? Nope.  Do I burn the candle at both ends and sometimes wonder how in the hell I do what I do? Yep.

Would I change any of it?

Not on your life.

It is possible to have it all.  It is possible to be everything to everyone… it just means picking your “everyone” very carefully.  My ex was not a good “everyone” for me, my prior work was not a good “everyone” either.  But my current job, my current friends, my family and my son? They are my “everyone.” And we are everything to each other.

I have it all.

It is possible.

So I sat there in that room and looked into a sea of semi-interested eyes and I told them the gospel truth.

“People will tell you that you can’t have it all.  People will tell you that you have to choose between being a successful attorney and being a successful parent.  People lie.  You CAN have it all.  You just have to define that “all” for yourself.”

I am in the process of circling my “everyone” and defining my “all.”

And I am loving what I’m finding stretched out before me.


14 Responses to “Having it All”

  1. Jana A (@jana0926)
    April 24th, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

    Wonderful post.

  2. Lawmomma77
    April 24th, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

    High praise, indeed, friend. Can’t wait to see you soon!

  3. Kristinayellow
    April 24th, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

    I love that–redefine what “all” means and realize that once you set that parameters, you are likely to be thrilled with what you’ve got. All doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone and that’s so important to remember. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Lawmomma77
    April 24th, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

    Mwah! 🙂

  5. kerri tobin
    April 24th, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

    i think you make important points here…BUT i also think that you should be careful not to let finding satisfaction in what you’re doing — which you can and should do — overshadow the role that policy and social norms play in making the mom/career dichotomy what it is. imagine if we lived in a society where free, high-quality, on-site daycare was the norm for employers to provide for their employees, if J could be in the same building with you all day, where you could go have an hour long luncheon with him every day…where there was sick-child care…or where employees (in any industry, not just law) were seen as parents first and workers later, given flex time, vacations, and not expected to work more than 35 hours in a week. you are doing a great job having it “all” and defining that for yourself, but that process is much harder for you (and me, and all of us) because we live in such a family-hostile society. just my 2 cents.

  6. Lawmomma77
    April 24th, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

    Probably very true. But if you define “all” as what you have… I find I’m a lot happier than when I try to think about how much better it could be. 🙂

  7. Lizanne Ferrell
    April 24th, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

    I wanted to grab you after the luncheon and tell you that you spread some great wisdom/encouragement and that I love your blog! Thanks so much for coming to speak to us!

  8. Law Momma
    April 25th, 2012 @ 12:02 am

    ACK! ::runs and hides::

    Real world meeting blog world makes me itchy. But thanks… It was fun! 🙂

  9. Lizanne Ferrell
    April 25th, 2012 @ 8:08 am

    Ha! Completely understandable. Hence the “wanted” 🙂 Thanks again have a great day!

  10. Erin
    April 25th, 2012 @ 3:08 pm

    I’ve read this post and your previous post with great interest, I’m inspired to read that you believe women CAN have it all and I am delighted that this has become the reality for you unfortunately my own experience is that women can’t have it all, we have to make a choice – children or career. I too am a lawyer (in Europe), my career has more or less come to an end as I am currently working part-time, I can’t have it all, I can no longer work the hours expected of me to progress and be the kind of mother I want to be to my children. After my second child my priorities changed and I accepted I couldn’t have it all.

  11. lawmomma
    April 30th, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

    I am definitely lucky to have found a good fit for me… a firm that allows me to work the hours I need to work to be the kind of mother I need to be. But not everyone is as fortunate, for sure.

  12. Ann
    April 25th, 2012 @ 5:02 pm

    This may be a dumb question, but I ask out of real curiosity. How does a job as an attorney amount to “mostly” being able to pay the bills? I have always thought lawyers were well respected and well remunerated.

  13. Nitnelion
    April 25th, 2012 @ 5:50 pm

    Lawyers work in a number of different environments…. in private practice (at big firms (500+ attorneys), small firms (including solo practitioners), and everything in between), as in-house counsel (to both big and small companies), in government (including, among other things, as prosecutors, public defenders, or as counsel for various administrative agencies), at non-profits, as lobbyists, as consultants, etc. The salary of a lawyer working for a small non-profit organization, for example, is likely to be significantly different than the salary of a lawyer working at a big law firm in New York or Washington, DC. The salary of a brand new attorney is also likely to be significantly different than that of, say, a senior partner. Many lawyers are highly compensated, but many others are putting in long hours and still barely scraping by (especially when you take into consideration that many of us have $100,000+ in student loans to pay back).

  14. lawmomma
    April 30th, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

    Yeah… let’s just put it this way… some of my friends went to work in Atlanta after law school and make six figures. I stayed in Macon and made less than one third of their salary with the same portion of debt… roughly 135k in student loans not to mention my mortgage and other bills.

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