My husband and I recently celebrated our five year wedding anniversary (applause please). As October 8th hit my calendar, I realized to myself what a whirlwind my life has been in the past 5 years both personally and professionally. When I look in the mirror I am a totally different person from the day I said “I do”. Sure physically I have changed (the 3 kids helped of course) and can notice age hitting my face, but it’s the personality changes I notice the most. I started my marriage not self-confident, totally dependent and nervous of what faced me both in my personal life and professional life. Now, 5 years later I am happier than I ever imagined and an independent confident JD Mom.
But the path to this point has been a rollercoaster….
October 8, 2005 – Our wedding day. I was 27 years old. That year I started my new job at my firm. I was a fairly new attorney, having only graduated two years prior. I was still learning the ropes and not confident in my abilities. Okay, let’s be honest…I had no clue what I was doing! I had never been in front of a jury, never handled my own case. I was new both to the world of being a wife and an attorney. Todd and I lived in a small two bedroom apartment so our responsibilities were low. It’s funny how I had all the time in the world, but I can’t remember what I did with that time!! Little did I know my life was about to dramatically change. What is this?
October 8, 2006 – One year anniversary. This year was probably the biggest year of change in my entire life. I received my first raise and became a homeowner. J was born in July that year and a few months before she born I had my very first jury trial. Let me tell you, court appearances at 8 months pregnant in courthouses with no air conditioning are interesting! By the time of our one year anniversary I had only a few months practice with being a working Mom. I had no clue how to do it. I called my Mom constantly for advice. I had to experience the heartbreak of leaving J at daycare for the first time. By this time I hadn’t quite learned how to juggle my life so I was always overwhelmed by work. I doubted that I could be a working Mom and seriously considered leaving the profession, but our new home and mountain of debt from law school kept me in the game. I can’t do this.
October 8, 2007 – Two year anniversary. I started to find my stride, both personally and professionally. But it wasn’t easy. I started to get really busy at work, piles of memos from partners, dozens of motions due in a week…things I had never experienced. My firm was essentially removing my training wheels for good and setting me free to navigate a large caseload on my own. I had 2 jury trials so I was starting to get more comfortable in that world. I started to love the thrill of getting in front of a jury. In the midst of starting to find my stride professionally I found out I was pregnant with H, which was quite a surprise! J was only 8 months old when I found out I was pregnant again. I was terrified…I had just started to learn how to be a Mom to J and keep up to speed on my files…now what? How could I bill over 2000 hours a year and have two kids under 2? By the time of my 2nd anniversary I was a month away from H’s birth and terrified about how my life would change with 2 kids. Can I do this?
October 8, 2008 – Three year anniversary. My hardest year yet. J was such an easy baby that she had me spoiled, she slept through the night, hardly cried, and went to bed at 6:00 p.m. allowing me plenty of time to get organized and keep up to speed at work. But when H arrived, I faced a whole new set of challenges. H was colicky and never slept. I learned how to function at work on only an hour of sleep. J was still very much a baby herself so I had to learn to attend to 2 instead of 1. I was scared to take them out alone and so we hardly went to parks or museums. I didn’t think I could be pulled in two directions. In the midst of learning how to handle 2 kids, I started to get my own clients and had several more jury trials, including my first large federal litigation. I had to struggle to keep up with everything. But in the midst of the chaos…a strange thing started to happen: I noticed I could actually keep up. Okay, so maybe I can do this.
October 8, 2009 – Four year anniversary. My comfortable year. I found my stride, started to learn how to balance 2 small children and still bill a ton of hours. I started to become very organized. I started to get involved in legal organizations and gave a presentation to colleagues on thinking outside the box in litigation. I got to the point where I was so comfortable with my balance I was ready to complete our family and try for Baby 3. I got pregnant with L in August. I started to feel like I knew what I was doing professionally. I made the decision to focus almost entirely on civil litigation. I started to really love my life…I was doing what I wanted professionally, at a firm I love, my children were thriving and I didn’t feel like I was drowning anymore. I can do this!
October 8, 2010 – Fifth year anniversary. So now here we are. 32 years old. 5 years, 3 kids, 2 cats, and 1 dog later. I am a totally different person both professionally and personally. I’m stronger than I thought. I balance more than I ever dreamed. Now taking 3 kids out for a night of errands by myself is something normal to me. I am now in addition to handling a large caseload, handling the lives of 3 children and my husband! I feel like I have found a good balance with both work and family life. My children are happy, my marriage is strong…life is good. Sure it’s not always easy and I’d like do more…but I know that’s not possible. But after 5 years of marriage and 7 years into my career, I’m ready for the challenges that face me. So now what?