Monday, October 31, 2011

Beware the Female Biglaw Partner

When I worked in biglaw, I always tried to avoid working for female partners.  It sounds odd, right? I mean, as a female associate, shouldn't I have sought out female mentors?  Women who had been in my position, and overcome massive obstacles and somehow learned to balance work and family?


As it turns out, I'm not alone.

According to a recent article in the ABA Journal, not one of the 142 legal secretaries surveyed preferred to work for a female partner.  Not one!  Ninety five percent of the secretaries surveyed were women.

I can't say that I'm surprised.  At all.  From my experience (and this is ONLY my experience), the majority of female partners I came across were not pleasant to work for, and I avoided them to every extent possible.  In fact, at my last firm I was more than happy to join a group where ever single partner was male.  Why?  Because over my five years at law firms, I found that most female partners fell into one of the following categories:

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Surprise Package

With Casey's recent birthday, we have been getting a lot of packages in the mail.  Cars and books and clothes from Gap Kids (love).  Even though the presents aren't for me per se, I still get really excited when we get something and tear the wrapping paper off in excitement help Casey unwrap the gifts.

A few days ago the UPS man paid us another visit, but this time the package wasn't addressed to Casey.  Instead, it was addressed to both my husband and I.

Now this was interesting.

Why would a package be addressed to the both of us?  This indicated it was not a purchase by my husband or myself (I tend to order things and then forget about it).  It also indicated it was not a present for either child, as even if their names are left off of an address label, usually only one parent is the addressee.  Not the case here.

Since Casey was sleeping and Braden was watching the Halloween episode of Yo Gabba Gabba for the TWENTIETH time this week, I figured I would play a little game with myself.

What do I want to be in this package?

My imagination started to run the gamut.  Out of every possibility in the world - what do I want to be in this 1 foot by 1 foot box?  The rules of the game were that it can't be money (too boring), and I had to narrow it down to three options.

I came up with the following:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pic of the Week - Young Love

The whole boy vs. girl distinction is still lost on Braden sometimes.  He knows he's a boy, that Daddy's a boy, and that Mommy's a girl, but that is where it ends.  Casey is at times a girl.  His teachers are girls or boys, depending on the day.  And with friends it is also a mixed bag.

Despite his gender confusion, he seems to innately treat girls differently.  He is much more affectionate with girls, and he'll even come home and talk about how girls from school are "pretty."  Last year, he developed a particular affection for a girl in his class, and would consistently try to hug her.  Apparently, the girl got annoyed and started pushing Braden away, making him cry.  (Bitch.)

This past weekend, Braden's cousin, who is a year younger than him, came into town to celebrate Casey's birthday.  Braden has always been a bit enthralled with her, but he is usually shy and keeps his distance.  This trip, he took it to the next level:

Look at this!  He insisted on putting his arm around her waist as they strolled the halls with their stroller.  Melts my heart.

I decided I would wait a few years to break the news to him that it is illegal for him to marry her.  At least in most states.

For now, I'll let the young love flourish.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Lovely Color

When I lived in London back in 2001, I worked at a small public policy research consultancy.  The pay wasn't great, the job was at times mundane, but the atmosphere was awesome.  It was an open plan office, and everyone was friends, regardless of age or seniority.  When the company won a new project, champagne was brought in (no matter the time of day).  There were office pranks and inside jokes.  There were well attended weekly happy hours at The Fox, our local pub down the street.  And our work actually did something to better society.  It was a great job.

I was young, I was energetic, and I was loving the fact that I was the only American at the company. It was before law school.  Before meeting my husband.  Before kids.

It was back when I was me and just me, and okay with that.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Cous Strikes Again

You know the saying that you need a vacation after your vacation?  I get it now. While our Disney trip was amazing, it was exhausting.  At the end of it all, I just wanted to sleep in, head to the airport, pop a xanax, and wake up at home in my bed, where I could chill out for a few days before reemerging to reality.  But alas, it didn't exactly happen like that. 

The return trip itself was somewhat of a disaster.  After refusing to use the airplane toilet (because of  "the loud"), Braden preferred to soil himself, and announce it to the rest of the plane.  Loudly.  Once we landed, in a rush to get him off of said plane, I picked him up and soiled my own shirt in urine.  This is on top of my orange juice soiled jeans, thanks to Braden spilling his juice all over me mid-flight.  

When we got home, all I wanted to do was purge myself of urine and citrus and lay in bed and catch up on Real Housewives episodes.  But alas, there was laundry to do and kids to feed.  And on top of that, we had a party to plan.  Casey's birthday was that very day, and his party was planned for Saturday, at our house.

[Before continuing on, I must write this note to myself: NEVER AGAIN HAVE A PARTY AT YOUR HOUSE!  Thank you.]

Since I was so focused on planning our vacation, Casey's birthday party planning had gone to the wayside a bit.  I don't generally do high maintenance parties, but even the basics were up in the air the day before the party.  What to serve?  What to play?  Who did I invite again? 

Family descended upon us on Friday.  Of course it's wonderful to see everyone, but it is also overwhelming and exhausting and hard to party plan and clean with everyone here.  So needless to say, by Saturday I was stressed and tired and just wanted things to go smoothly.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pic of the Week - Almost Birthday

A year ago today was my due date.

I was not in good shape.  I was convinced I was going to be pregnant FOREVER.  I remember leaving work, driving home, and calling my sister whereby I had a panic attack that this baby was never going to come.  I was never going to start maternity leave, and my mother in law, who was staying with us to watch Braden for the birth, would be staying with us permanently.

In the midst of my panic attack, I was pulled over and got a ticket for talking on my cell phone while driving.  I was so over it, I didn't even attempt to use the pregnancy card to get out of the ticket.

Looking back, I don't know what I was all worked up about.  Of course the baby was going to come.  Of course I wasn't going to be pregnant forever.  But as a nine month's pregnant woman, it doesn't matter.  There is no rationality.

Later that night, the contractions started.  And at 8:50am the next morning, I met my beautiful baby boy.

So today, here in Disney World, we celebrated Casey's almost birthday. 

And though Casey looks less than thrilled, he did enjoy his ice cream.  :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Taste of What's to Come

It's been almost five months since I completely weaned Casey, and pretty soon he will turn 1 and be off of bottles and formulas, and onto the real stuff.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss breastfeeding.  I don't know why.  In a lot of ways, I'm excited for this year mark to pass, because I know that had I been left to my own devices, and not had health issues that caused me to wean early, I would be weaning right about now.

Even though I'm no longer an official breastfeeder, I still find myself very defensive of breastfeeding moms.  Like if someone gets offended by someone for breastfeeding in public.  Or when Facebook took down those pictures of women breastfeeding.  Or when people got all up in arms about that breastfeeding doll.  Come on. It's natural, people!

So when I saw this ACLU petition regarding the LSAT exam and breastfeeding moms, I couldn't help but get a little worked up about it.

For any non-lawyers out there, the LSAT is basically the law school entrance exam - you can't get into law school without taking it.  The exam itself lasts approximately four hours.  Apparently, the Law School Admissions Council (the organization that administers the LSAT) has a blanket policy of denying all requests for accommodation from nursing mothers who need to pump during the exam itself.   So basically, if you want to take the LSAT and you are nursing, be prepared to endure pain and invest in some extra breast pads.

Are they serious?  I'm not suggesting breastfeeding mothers should have any advantages, but surely some accommodation could be made for these women to, um, get rid of the milk that is about to explode out of their boobs?

Whoever is making these decisions surely has never had said milk explode out of their boobs.  I am pretty sure of that.

Whatever.  I suppose I'm not surprised.  The barriers to a legal career and motherhood start early. And trust me, beyond law school, it doesn't get any easier.

But this is just ridiculous.

For anyone interested, you can click the link above to sign the ACLU petition.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Four Years of Disney

Don't hate me because I'm in Disney World.

Yes, I am here - on a five day mini-vacation with the husband, the kids, and a set of grandparents.   And though a trip to Disney World is far from relaxing, we are having a blast.  So this week's posts will likely be heavy on pictures and light on words.

Walking around Magic Kingdom yesterday, I couldn't help but reflect on all of my trips here over the years.  I have vague memories of coming here as a five year old and riding "It's a Small World" over and over again.  I have sharper memories of coming here as an 8 year old, dressed in a princess dress, and galavanting around Fantasy Land.  I distinctly remember coming here as a teenager with high school friends and thinking I was too cool for Fantasy Land.  I clearly remember coming here while in college and skipping Fantasy Land altogether and instead doing an "Around the World" bar crawl in the EPCOT world showcase.

And then I remember coming here as an adult.  I've been here numerous more times over the years, but three times over the past four years specifically.  And the pictures tell the story:

September 2007

September 2009

October 2011
Who knows what our next Disney trip will bring?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Un-wined of the Week - Catching Up

It has been a while since I've done an un-wined of the week.  Fear not - it's not because of a lack of alcohol consumption.  It's more because I've been traveling and things are busy and there are other things I want to write about.  Plus, I like to add a bit of a story behind an evening of wine drinking, and lately the story has been:  It's Wednesday and I am watching X-Factor and eating popcorn.  And that's kind of boring.

But last night departed from the mundane.

One of the things I love about the DC area is that it is so transient.  People are always moving in and out.  It obviously sucks when friends leave, but it also means that there is the potential for friends to come.  And lo and behold, a few weeks ago, one came.  And I am so happy about it!

Kristen and I went to college together, and were in the same (ahem, I'm going to say it) sorority. She was a year younger than me, so we weren't in the same core circle of friends.  But you know how there are those people that you may not be that close to, but that you just LOVE?  In that, you know if you had the opportunity, you would be great friends, no problem?  She was one of those. Love her.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Tale of Two Dentists

Today is going to be a short one because I am exhausted.  Casey inexplicably woke up at 5am this morning, and once I got him back down I couldn't go back to sleep, since I knew I was waking up at 6:15 to go to the dentist.

But this dentist post is not about me.

Yesterday I took Braden to his first dentist appointment.  I knew from the get-go it wasn't going to go well.

How do I know this?  Well, Braden doesn't like to be touched by strangers.   When we go shopping for shoes, he freaks when the salesperson tries to measure his feet.  He demonstrates an impressive physical strength at doctor's appointments in refusing access to his ears.  And just try and cut his hair.  That's the worst.  Because not only does he not like invasions of personal space, he also really hates loud noise.  All hell breaks loose when he gets his hair cut and they bring out that electric razor thing.  This is why his hair is always uneven- he ends up scaring the hair dressers and making them cry and they refuse to finish the job.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pic of the Week - Happiness Is...

This baby boy.

I only have a few weeks left to count his age in months, and likely even less time to count his words on one hand.

My baby boy disappears more and more everyday into an older version of himself.

But I can't be too sad about it, because, man, he is so, so, so happy.  All the time.

Monday, October 10, 2011

So It's Not Just Me

When I started this whole stay at home mom journey, it was easy to feel isolated.  I knew there probably were other women who had left law firms, or other career tracks, to stay at home, but I only knew a few.  I suppose part of the reason I started this blog was in an effort to reach out and feel connected.  A virtual way to say - "Is there anyone else out there?"

Well, seven months out, the resounding answer is YES!  Thanks to this virtual community I've joined, I've realized there are SO many of us.  So many women who have taken a break from a career to be with family.  So many women who never thought it was the course their life would take.  Maybe it's just now becoming more apparent, or maybe it's just because I'm looking, but I've also noticed a lot more people are talking about it.  In fact, in the past week, thanks to the blogging community, I've come across three fascinating articles on the subject.

Friday, October 7, 2011

This weekend I am STUFFING MY FACE

Tomorrow is the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.  Before I look it up on google, let me tell you what I know about it:

It's a really big deal Jewish holiday.  The most important one I think.  No gifts are involved.  Instead, you are supposed to go to temple tonight.  And then again tomorrow.  You are supposed to fast for 24 hours (starting tonight).  You are supposed to think about all the crappy things you did this year, and feel really, really bad about yourself.  And then you are supposed to do better next year.

And now the official description from Wikipedia:

"Also known as Day of Atonement, [Yom Kippur] is the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jews.  Its central themes are atonement and repentance.  Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services."

Well, hell hath no fury like a Jew stuffing their face, and Lord strike me down for my synagogue non-attendance. But, much to my in-laws horror, we won't be going to services, and I certainly am not going without food.  (I'm pulling for Olive Garden for dinner this evening).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Forgotten One

I write all the time about Braden.  About Casey.  About my husband and work and vacations and my various identity crises.

It dawned on me yesterday that I haven't written at all about a certain family member and housemate. 

This is Cous Cous.  She also goes by Cous, "The Moose," Moostifer, and Ga ga. 

She is a Cavapoo (a mix between a King Charles Cavalier and a poodle).  She is 4 1/2.  She is about 25 pounds.  She is a daddy's girl.  She is OBNOXIOUS.  And as much as I hate to say it, she is at many times forgotten.

It wasn't always the case.

Back in December of 2006, we were newlyweds living in New York.  I was working at Skadden in those days, and I was miserable.  We made the decision to leave our jobs and move to DC, and we thought it would be a perfect time to get a dog.  We'd have more space, an easier lifestyle, and I'd have four weeks off from work to potty train the little thing.  We perused the internet for hypo-allergenic breeds (husband claims he is allergic) and knew Cous was "the one" from the second we saw her picture.  She flew into JFK Airport with her breeder the day before we moved to DC.  I fell in love with her from the moment I saw her.  My husband, on the other hand, vomited that day when she had her first accident.  (I told you he had a problem with his stomach when he is undergoing a life change!)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pic of the Week - $400 Empanadas

On Sundays, my husband generally makes dinner.  He enjoys it, and I'm certainly not going to complain.  This week's dinner?  Beef empanadas with a black bean and tomato sauce:

I swear they taste better than they look.
I generally don't interfere with my husband in the kitchen and let him do his thing.  However, while I was watching him cook on Sunday, I noticed he was throwing an awful lot of food into the garbage disposal - lettuce, tomatoes, cauliflower, etc.  The garbage disposal is a great invention, but it can't take a head of lettuce.  We have learned this the hard way.

I thought to myself, Surely he won't put all that down the garbage disposal.  He is probably just keeping it there for now, and will transfer it to the garbage later.

So I decided not to say anything.  Why be condescending?  Besides:  He just clogged the sink last month.  He learned his lesson.  I'll let him cook in peace.

A few moments later I heard the clankety clank noise of the garbage disposal.


I do love a good "I told you so."  But not at the expense of water spilling all over our kitchen floor.

A plumber, a snake, and $400 later, we enjoyed our empanadas.  They were good, but not $400 good.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Hello Darkness My Old Friend

The weather this past weekend was downright depressing.  Cold, rainy, gloomy, curl up in pajama type weather.  It was a premature reminder of the dark months to come.

For the past four years, I have fallen into a winter funk from mid-November - February.  I can't say it's depression per se, but I generally am sluggish, bored, unmotivated, and never wanting to leave the house because it's too damn cold - just blah.  I find myself crossing days off of the calendar and counting down the days until daylight savings time.  I think this funk has been the result of one or more of the following factors:

- morning sickness
- post partum depression
- the drafting of a ridiculous number of deposition outlines with a completely unmanageable deadline
- a crying newborn
- a lack of sleep
- sunsets before 5pm
- the self loathing of post-baby weight
- the announcement of salary freezes
- an impending return from maternity leave
- the stress of childcare to cover impending return to maternity leave
- Snowmageddon (twice - once resulting in a tree falling on my house)

Among others.

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