Friday, March 02, 2007

Lawyer Parents: the New Black

I'm a working mother. My clients know that they can call me anytime and anywhere, parental duties notwithstanding. The tradeoff is that we never discuss any questionable accessory choices I may make. Sometimes, if I'm in a hurry, I WILL borrow a barrette from my 9-year old. That's how I roll.

Law is supposed to be a punishing profession for young mothers. I've never found that to be particularly true. Law firms were not so much anti-mother as they were pro-testosterone. Talk in sports metaphors, pretend to care about Ermengildo Zegna's latest line of ties, and suppress your desire to complain about your sore nipples, and generally you would be okay. This was all fine with me. I figured, my day would come.

The thing is, I thought when my day DID come, it would actually be MY day. Recently I was the only female at a meeting of clients, lawyers and bankers. When the clock hit five p.m., one of the senior lawyers on the other side jumped up and excused himself, saying it was his turn to pick up his children from day care. The other men smiled, nodded approval, and sent him on his way.

What the hell?

A few years ago, if I had done the same thing, there would have been repercussions. Questions would have been raised about my commitment to my job. But now, it appears a guy can do the same thing and get warm approval. A gentleman, might I add, who until recently would urge his female colleagues to "strap on a pair" and close a deal.

Men: if being a caring, working parent is now in fashion, then you need to get in line. Me and my uterus were here first, and we want our due. Until you are so sleep deprived that you start taking notes at a meeting with a tampon that you mistakenly pulled from your briefcase, you're not one of us.

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