9.14.2006

What I didn't expect.

UPDATED: Here's a link to the full Hirshman article that is referred to on her blog, thanks to Feminists Law Professors.

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I've been thinking about the recent Linda Hirshman post that I discussed here. Something else that she said merits discussion:
I recently wrote a piece in the National Law Journal suggesting that an awful lot of women I interviewed had gone to law school with seemingly little understanding of what it meant to work in the legal profession. (Emphasis added).
She's right in a sense--at least as it relates to me. There was a lack of comprehension on my part, but not as it related to the practice of law. I was well aware of the expectations and the workload. And, I had no problem working 70 hour weeks as an Assistant PD and as an associate in a law firm. I understood those expectations. I knew what life would be like as a practicing attorney and wasn't a bit surprised by the reality of the situation.

What I didn't comprehend was how much work and time was required to run a household that included children. Once kids and a decent-sized home are added to the mix, life becomes increasingly more complicated. Even when the tasks are equally split between two working adults, it's hard to manage.

And the reason I didn't understand this factor was because our culture--and Ms. Hirshman's brand of feminism--denigrates and dismisses this aspect of life. Caring for children and managing a home are equated with eating bon bons 24/7. I can assure you, that's simply not the case. It's hard work. And, children are a huge responsibility. As they should be.

I wish that I'd known how much time this aspect of our lives required. And I wish I'd known how important those contributions are--both to my family and to society. And I wish I'd known how inflexible many legal employers can be. And, I wish that I hadn't pulled the wool over my eyes, with the idea that I'd deal with those issues "down the road."

So, yes, there was something that I didn't fully comprehend when I was in law school. And, I still don't quite get it today--why the domestic sphere of life is dismissed as unimportant, unfulfilling and frivolous, when just the opposite is true.

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