"Your Turn" is a series of posts where readers share their stories of parenthood, work, the struggle for a balance, or just life generally. If you are interested in contributing a story, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or click here.
I have been practicing as a litigator for nearly ten years, and I can't even believe it's been a decade. When I was a budding associate at one of the big firms, I thought for sure I would be out after year five. But here I am, ten years later, reevaluating my life and career choice.
I don't have regrets - I received a fantastic legal education that has not only benefitted me career-wise, but has been incredibly useful in life. My salary paid for a nice house in Los Angeles. We take nice vacations. My son goes to my preschool of choice.
I've worked at a big firm, at a small firm; for complete assholes, for lovely mentors. I've pulled countless all nighters. Most years I made - and far exceeded - my billable hour requirement, and last year, for the first time, I fell short. I was in trial until the day before my due date (I am probably the only woman relieved that my son came a week late because I needed the rest). I breastfed for a year and pumped in the most interesting of locations, including in a public restroom, during a break while deposing the plaintiff in a multi-million dollar case.
I always thought I would be able to balance it all, but when my son turned three, I realized that I could not be a litigator and the kind of mom that I wanted to be. Those two very full-time jobs simply don't mesh for me. I feel like a cliche in that I constantly feel guilty about my inability to either put in 100% at work or 100% at home.
Mostly, it's the stress of the billable hour requirement that I simply can't deal with. If I take a day or a morning off, I have to make those hours up sometime. But when? After a full day of work, followed by cooking dinner, bathtime, play time, book time, and bedtime? After all that, I am spent and need to just melt into the couch.
So, inspired by the quote "She took a leap, and grew her wings on her way down," I am giving my notice this week. And I'm scared. But extremely excited at the same time. Financially, it will be a big adjustment and a struggle, but I'm setting myself up with some contract work and other (hopefully) interesting work that I can do from home. I am also exploring the wonderful world of blogging (you can find me at A Tired Working Mommy - unfortunate name but I was clearly tired that day).
I wish I could have made it work, and perhaps this is just a phase in my life and I'll go back to full-time litigation in the future. But I haven't felt this happy and carefree in a very long time, and I'm looking forward to the possibilities that lie ahead. Wish me luck!
This post was written by Leemore. You can read her blog at www.atiredworkingmommy.blotspot.com.