I want to take a moment to say that I am so thankful that I have such a family friendly employer. Seriously. It is hard being a working mom. REALLY hard. Its even harder when, like me, you don't have a traditional 40-hour a week type job. Being an attorney is a demanding job, both mentally and in terms of time committment. I honestly do not think I would be able to continue doing it if I didn't have such an amazing boss and firm.
As with most associate attorneys, I have a minimum billable hour requirement that my firm expects me to meet each year. Its pretty ambititious and requires a lot of hard work to meet it. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons (mostly Bennett's multiple hospitalizations and illnesses this past year, and his insane number of doctor appointments), I just was not able to meet that requirement. I was definitely working hard, but the demands of life were simply too much.
So, I was rather expecting that my boss would really get on my case about it. I prayed on more than one occassion that they please not fire me! I went into my year-end review with a healthy sense of nervousness and anticipation.
Now, don't get me wrong, the issue definitely came up. But my boss said to me "You are a wife, mother and lawyer. If you have to be mediocre at any of those things, it should be the lawyer." Wow.
A lot of employers claim to be family friendly. But when it comes down to it, they really aren't. I am SO incredibly thankful and lucky to be able to work for a firm that really truly is family friendly. When I was in the hospital on bedrest while pregnant with Bennett, they didn't push me to work. They said to do what I could. After Bennett was born and during his 9 week NICU stay, they told me to focus on my baby. When my maternity leave ran out, and my baby was still in the hospital, and later when he was home on oxygen and a gazillion medications and there was no way I was leaving him yet - they compromised and let me work from home part time. No one blinks an eye when I roll out of here at 5:30 p.m. No one says a word when I miss time because I have to take Bennett to this doctor or that doctor. They have my welfare as a person in mind, and realize that being a mom is a HUGE part of who I am. If they were not so accomodating, there is no way I would have been able to continue pursuing my career. They made it so I didn't have to choose between my career and my children.
I do not take this for granted. Not one second. I know this comes at a cost to my firm. I know they are making a long-term investment in me. This type of work environment is invaluable. It makes it easy to be loyal to a firm like this. The more they invest in me - the more I want to invest in them. If only more employers were like this!!!!