My Shingle

Built This Way

by Carolyn Elefant on November 2, 2011 · 1 comment

in MyShingle Solo, Work Life Balance

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This morning, I made lasagna for dinner, as my two furry companions waited eagerly to lick the bowl. Due to my involvement in an extensive regulatory proceeding, once again this week, I won’t be home until 8 p.m. and since my husband has a meeting, he’ll be back even later. My daughters are now 12 and 15; they’re old enough to walk home and cook dinner and responsible enough to start their homework if not first thing, then at least by seven. Still, I want to make sure that they can enjoy at least some evidence of parental involvement on a night when both parents are absent.

Even though my daughters are nearly grown, I still want to be around, simply present even if not fully engaged. I often wish that I wasn’t built this way. That I could travel out of town for weeks at a time or come home every night after dark with 12 hours of billable time under my belt. That I could turn myself into a money machine and take my daughters on lavish trips or move to a fancier house instead of trying to cram my law practice and my blogs and books and other stuff that I do into the margins.

When I’m on break at the hearings, I eavesdrop on other parents – mostly men, mostly from big or mid-sized law – chatting about their kids, the Halloween that they’ll miss, the antics that they never see, the fake-complaints about “this will keep me up till 11 pm” (to which I think, why not try getting by on 4 hours of sleep, like I do but would never admit). These are choices that they make, just as I make mine. None are ever perfect, are they?

  • Brian Tannebaum

    Most things in life are a choice. But remember that while there are a great deal of “men” you hear complaining about not being able to spend time with their kids due to their “choices,” there are also women who publically complain about having to spend time with their kids at school events or otherwise because society apparantly doesn’t understand that women work too. I think anyone who complains that their kids somewhat inconvenience their life is pathetic. I think men that complain they can’t spend time with their kids need to re-evaluate their lives. It’s about running your practice, not letting your practice run you.

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