Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Catholic Lawyer Mama Answers Your Two Burning Questions: My Identity and My Inspiration

If you read through my profile, you may have realized that one key bit of information is missing from it, namely, my name. And I suppose my photo too. No, this is not an unfortunate oversight or the simple brain lapse of a new blogger. It is intentional. So, why the anonymity?

The answer: To facilitate my candor and honesty.

You see, the thing about working for a large law firm is that they tend to be pretty concerned (okay, VERY concerned) with their self-image, especially in the public sphere. They want their attorneys to represent that image and to market that image during every waking moment (and probably every sleeping moment too, if that were possible, or, better, they just don’t want us to sleep!!!). My inspiration for this blog (see next paragraph) requires me to be honest. While I really do commend my firm for many of its initiatives/policies, believe that overall my firm is a truly great place to work, and enjoy the daily challenge of my work, --- I just don’t know that my firm would back the concept behind this blog. Particularly if it was written by one of their associates (which it is). Especially if there are days when said associate just needs to vent (and there are). Or particularly when said associate chooses to focus on non-lawyerly pursuits, like being a Catholic mama and balancing it all (and that will be often). Because it’s tough to do all of that, especially at a big firm! To quote another lawyer mama,
From what I can tell, at least in my field, the trick to pulling off working as a mom is for your colleagues to never see the mask slip, to never know that it's hard or you're tired or you're leaving work early because of a pediatrician appointment. Basically, to never let them know you have kids.
‘Nuff said.

Which brings to me to my inspiration for this blog. Frankly, there aren’t a lot of Lawyer Mamas out there, particularly ones engaged in the full-time practice of law at a large firm. And there are even fewer Catholic Lawyer Mamas. In fact, I have yet to find any others. But it is a voice and perspective that I humbly think is needed. I find that I am frequently asked by my colleagues and co-workers how I manage to balance it all, especially with three kids currently under the age of 4. That is virtually unheard of in law. I don’t know that I have a lot of good advice, but I am hoping that sharing my experience might help other women struggling with balance and/or the question of whether to have kids and when to have them (or at least give them someone to empathize, sympathize, and sometimes even commiserate with). For me, I never really made a “decision” to have kids. Because of my Catholic faith and because my hubby and I sometimes “cheat” at NFP (and even when we don’t), God has given us each of our children in His time. In some ways, I am grateful that I never had to “decide” to have children. Because, honestly, I don’t know that there ever is a “good time” or the “right time” to have kids. They are impossible to really prepare for. As my mom sometimes jokes, ‘having a kid is like having a train hit your life and derail it.’ It’s a funny comment (although don’t mistake her to be hostile to children because that’s not the case!), but has some truth to it. Having children fundamentally changes every aspect of your life. And, truly, having my children has changed my life in the best ways, in ways I could not have even imagined were possible before I had children. There is a fulfillment and peace and humor and just good ol’ positive energy that they bring to my life each and every single day. And love. Tremendous love. Amazing love. Of course, the flip side is that children also come with logistical challenges, work, and expense. I am hoping to use this blog to talk candidly about work/life/family “balance” (if there is such a thing), the joys and struggles I face, and why I truly believe that it is all worth it in the end.

One more point: I talk a lot about my Catholic faith in this post and, heck, I'm calling myself "The Catholic Lawyer Mama." But that's not to persuade those of other faith denominations/traditions or no faith at all from reading my posts or participating in this blog. Read: I'm not trying to convert you and truly hope you will join me. No matter what your faith background, the struggles of being a working mom are fairly universal and the bulk of my posts will focus on them.

Lastly, I am hoping that my choice to be anonymous will not prevent my story from being taken seriously. The way I see it, anyone (even someone with a real name and photo) can masquerade as someone else on the Internet. The fact that I am intentionally choosing to be anonymous, given the realities of the large firm world, should (I hope) actually contribute to my credibility. I just can’t risk losing my job (nor would I want to). That’s about as real and true and honest as it gets.

So, there you have it --- my anonymity and my purpose behind this blog. Now, off to the [blogosphere] races . . .


  1. Hello! Just wanted to let you know that I'm in the same boat. My full name doesn't appear anywhere on my (tiny, mostly neglected) blog either, and I would never name my firm. I still worry about them checking my browser history. Anyway, love your blog - I'm another Catholic BigLaw Mama of 3 under 4, and look forward to reading more!

  2. PS: thanks for the link to my blog! It's nice to know that the words don't all go into the void . . .

  3. Lindsay,
    Hooray, I love finding kindred spirits! Funny -- I've worried about the browser history too! I console myself with the thought that, as long as they have "plausible deniability" (i.e., they aren't identified on the blog and it would be pretty tough for anyone to identify me), then it (hopefully) won't be that big of a deal. When I first read your post that I quoted from above, it really resonated with me. 'Never let them see the mask slip.' On the tough days, I sometimes find myself repeating those words to rally myself. Sad, but so true. Anyway, so glad you found me and let's stay in touch!

  4. I know this is an old post, but just commenting on the anonymity thing - I completely understand. I started blogging in 2004 in law school with a pseudonymous handle - classmates and others could pretty easily identify me if they wanted, but at least I wasn't quite so Google-able. It was great, but it was pre-kids and pre-employment. I stopped blogging when I went to Big Law because, while I wasn't afraid to speak out for my beliefs, I *really* didn't want to possibly jeopardize my job. It's hard enough to find other religious or conservative (in my case, at least) lawyers, still less religious or conservative women lawyers. I was definitely an outlier everywhere I went, except the Federalist Society and St. Thomas More :) So I completely understand staying anonymous. But it's cool to know you exist out there somewhere :)

    1. Kim, you are so right on. In some ways, our profession is just so over-PC-ized. Attorneys are supposed to churn, churn, churn, all while being completely uncontroversial and un-opinionated on any topic that could create controversy. What makes me so sad is what "uncontroversial" has come to mean. Things like God, faith, and even large families are now controversial? Crazy world, crazy world . . . Thanks for your comments!!!