I think the problem is defining the term “all” in your statement “[c]an women in the law really have it all?” What is your “all?” If your definition is that you tried your best and balanced your own needs, and the needs of others, as best you could, then that should be enough. There is no need for guilt or remorse.
For someone like me, a solo, female attorney with a family, I am constantly balancing the needs of my children, my husband, my work, and my own personal goals. The amount of time and energy I devote to one area is fluid and changes on a daily basis. There are times when almost 100% of my energy needs to be devoted to preparing for a trial. On the other hand, there are days when almost 100% of my energy is devoted to taking care of sick child. It’s a constant balancing act which leads to feeling, on some days, like I’m juggling a bunch of balls that might fall at any moment. But, they’re my balls to juggle. I chose those balls. Most women attorneys I know, who are juggling the same balls, wouldn’t drop a ball for any amount of money that you could offer them.
I tell other women, “you can’t give 100% to every area of your life, at every moment, but you can be ‘good enough.’” I may not be the best attorney, the best wife, or the best mother, every single day, but I’m “good enough” that I can still keep practicing law and paying attention to the needs of those around me as well as my own needs. As women, we have to let go of the guilt that haunts us when can’t devote 100% of our time to our family, our significant others, our personal needs, or our clients. We don’t need to do so. We just need to reframe our thinking on what having it “all” actually means.
Patricia L. McKinnon, Esq.