Like Claire Valoti, I am a second generation working mother and I am grateful daily for my mother and my mother's generation of women who broke the mould so that I never thought, growing up, that it would not be the norm for me to work. It also showed me that you can marry a rewarding career and being a great mother.
Diversity for businesses, including in the law, is crucial to foster thriving work environment. Equality between men and women is an essential component of this equation. 100 years on from women being first able to practice law, there is still much to be done and law firms, like CMS, are working hard to create an enabling culture for all.
Our society, thanks to the efforts of our mothers and grand mothers, has evolved to make it acceptable to be a working mother, and in my field to be a mother working as a lawyer. The head of the Supreme Court, the formidable Lady Hale, is an example for us all.
There is still much to do though. Often issues regarding work life balance are cited as practical issues pushing women out the door. As a lawyer with a job involving unpredictable time demands, this is particularly hard to juggle. Technology and open-mindedness to create flexible working do help immensely, even if not perfect. Many times it feels like squaring the circle, but it is worth persevering.
We are constantly bombarded with the image of the perfect motherhood. The woman who comes out the door spotless and on time, comes home equally unflustered and manages to do glitter arts and craft while cooking a four couse dinner in a spotless house... Have you ever tried to do glitter arts and craft? More to the point this is not what being a good mother is.
Jill Armstrong's study "Like Mother, Like Daughter?" is a balm to the heart of the guilt ridden working mother. Being present when it matters and being supportive and engaged when being present is key. If you can achieve that (which is not necessarily easy every day), then you are not sacrificing love and will be contributing to giving your children an example of an independent woman. An example for your daughters of what is the norm and how to do it. An example for your sons as to what women and their future wives can do. I only have to look at my mother to know this is true.
So to all the women who, like me, feel stretched beyond belief every day: hang on there! Your daughters will thank you.
daughters of career mothers learn that careers are rewarding, worthwhile and the norm