Hi all! My name is Stephanie, and the JD Moms have graciously asked me to “guest blog.” I am a transactional attorney at a small firm in a big city. I’m married, but am frequently a single parent to my three children (two daughters, ages 11 and 7, and a son, a *very* robust 8 months) because my husband’s career often takes him several hundred miles away for weeks or months at a time. Because I am a transactional attorney, and because two of my three children are well into their elementary school years, my day-to-day experiences as a JD Mom can differ from the experiences of litigators and in-house attorneys, and from JD Moms with smaller children.
Case in point: my older daughter, E, is in fifth grade. And oh, these are the days of our fifth grade lives! She is lovely and smart and bookish and so very, very kind. And I am tremendously grateful that as she approaches middle school, she still loves me and feels that she can share her embarrassing moments, her heartaches, and her triumphs with me. It honestly seems like yesterday that she was a baby, doing the “army crawl” across the floor because she couldn’t be bothered to lift up her hips. Today I am gone from the house for 11-12 hours a day, and while we have a phenomenal babysitter, I often feel the conflict that so many of us feel: I, personally, am a better mother because I work outside of the home. And yet, I worry…a lot…about whether I am present enough for my children. Especially as E enters adolescence and puberty. Will my career interfere with my ability to mother her and help her navigate the incredibly treacherous waters of young adulthood? Will she see me as a role model, a strong, intelligent woman who was able to love and care for her family AND maintain a professional career, or will she resent me for missing too many concerts and not helping with enough homework.
As children get older, these worries become much more immediate. When my girls were toddlers and preschoolers, I admit to a sense of “I still have time to fix whatever mistakes I’ve made.” Now there is no more time. They are impressionable and out there in the world, forming their own identities totally separate and apart from me, their father, and their step-father. We stopped being the most prominent influence in their lives a few years ago. It’s terribly hard to miss little ones’ milestones because we work outside of the home. It’s a different kind of difficult to realize you’ve finished a lot of the work shaping your child’s personality and outlook. What’s left is the joy of seeing them become themselves, and the work of being their home, no matter what.