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 . . .