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I’m a 25 year old Law student in Brisbane, Australia and I am forever stressed. If I’m not juggling assignments, work, and having a social life, including seeing my partner of 4 years – there’s probably something I’ve forgotten to do. One thing we get reminded of as women in the law school is that unless you are in family law, if we want to be mothers we are less successful in the workplace than our male counterparts. While I can wait to have kids, it’s not something I want to give up, nor do I want to sacrifice my career I’m working towards and building. It’s all a part of who I am and maybe I’m being pessimistic but I’m finding it hard to see it all working together in the future.
My question is: How does being a career woman match in with motherhood in an overworked and competitive industry and what techniques can I put in place early to learn to cope.
-Ms. Balance Builder
Dear Ms. Balance Builder,
May I first and foremost draw your attention to the fact that you are, for all intents and purposes, already totally killing the game! You are in a long term committed relationship and have a semblance of a social life, all while working hard at completing a very impressive degree which will lead to a stable and respected career. Oh yeah, and you’re only TWENTY FIVE?! You’re doing great! That said, I can tell that you are a total plan-ahead type of gal, and I really respect you for asking the big questions in life. You seem like somebody who knows what she wants, and is fully committed to achieving it.
What I can tell you is this: The question you asked me is essentially the Modern Woman’s conundrum. How can we have the things that we want for ourselves as individuals, while also wanting the best for our families and partners? Can we be the women we want to be in a Male Dominated workplace? You’re not alone in wondering this, and you’re certainly not alone in wanting what they often refer to as “it all”. And while it may seem daunting, I can assure you that there are millions of women as smart and driven as you are who are attempting it now at this very moment. I believe that as you get older, pass The Bar, and begin to work as a lawyer (in whatever field you choose!) you will begin to meet these women who are embodying the type of life that you are describing. They exist!
It’s not easy (as nothing worthwhile ever is) but you will find a way to fit all of the things in to your life that you crave because, to put it very simply, you want to. You are already pulling off so much more than I bet you had ever thought possible, say, ten years ago. And I can tell you from experience that becoming a mother ignites a superpower within you for prioritization across the board. After I had Marlowe, it was incredible how quickly the superfluous areas of my life disintegrated, and how hard I found myself fighting for the elements that mattered most. For example, your socializing will probably be only with the friends that you realize you truly enjoy, and the time spent with your partner will be less– but more meaningful. And isn’t there something great and refreshing about that?
In terms of things to put in place now in order to prepare, allow me to offer you two suggestions. The first is to schedule special time with your partner. And yes, I mean on a calendar. Find a way to work at least one “Date Night” or daytime weekend rendezvous in to your schedule per week that is consistent and bulletproof– never cancel! It’s important to get used to prioritizing your relationship pre-baby. My second recommendation is to continue to check in with yourself about your career goals and your feelings about what you’re doing. I think a lot of people– myself included!– will decide on career path early on, only to realize five or ten years later that they aren’t enjoying it anymore and that they are craving something new. Listen to yourself and allow your choices to be based on the woman you have become and not the woman you are telling yourself to be! If that means being the most badass lawyer that Brisbane has ever known, do it! And if it means finding another way to utilize your law degree, listen too.
Whatever the future brings for you, I admire your commitment to having everything you’ve dreamed of. I believe that as long as you continue wanting the best for yourself, you are already a step ahead.
I wish you all the best!!!
P.S– As always, you can send me your questions ANY TIME to HappilyEvaAnswers@gmail.com