When I joined a large Washington, D.C. based law firm six years ago, I fully expected that Big Law firm life was incompatible with family, but I thought that I had plenty of time before I had to worry about it. After all, I was newly married, no kids, and a lot of ambition. About two years into litigation practice, with a baby on the way, I knew that the time had come to take stock of my life, my career, and my priorities. I came home only to shower, sleep, change clothes, and occasionally walk the dogs. My husband took care of everything else from cleaning to bill paying to grocery shopping. He was growing tired of our arrangement. Our home was my hotel, restaurant, and dry cleaning service. Convenient for me; painfully frustrating for my husband.
After a particularly grueling month of working around the clock late into my pregnancy with our first son, my husband gave me an ultimatum: do something about your job or this marriage/family is going to fall apart. Bamm! Less than 2 years into my legal career and I was at the mom vs. career crossroads—job or family. The next month I requested an alternative work schedule (AWS).