Balancing Acts

A working single mom attending law school

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Archive for the ‘Parenthood’ Category

The night before the bar exam….

Posted by newlawmom on July 25, 2011

I’m calm! Eerily calm. My plan to go to the beach today got doused by the weather. Instead I went out to upgrade my cell phones and then took a three hour nap on my couch. Now its 10:30. I need to pack my bag of goodies. New pens (I LOVE new pens) and plenty of #2 pencils. One watch. A lunch to leave in the car. That’s it. I may or may not have made a mistake by not taking BarBri. And/or by not spending enough time learning the non-MBE subjects. Only time will tell. I wish everyone who is taking the bar exam the best of luck.

Posted in Bar Exam, Bar Exam Prep, law school, Parenthood | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

happy anxiety

Posted by newlawmom on July 18, 2011

True! I am so happy. Next week is the bar exam, people. And I am so ready to be done with it! But of course, that anxiety is kicking in. I spent 13 hours studying today, and expect to meet or beat that every day from now until Sunday night. Next Monday, God-willing, I’m hitting the beach and de-stressing before the real deal. I do my best work under pressure, so I am feeling the full beauty of the thing right NOW!

No second interview on the job I wanted. Bummer. Fight with ex-husband? Triple quadruple bummer. Casey Anthony on the loose? Frightening. Tom Coburn and his $9 trillion dollar plan? un-fricken-believable! YES! Someone who is willing to step up and do the difficult. I am for it. I applaud it. I don’t even need to know what’s in it. I mean hell, you didn’t know what was in the health insurance law, so why should I care what’s in this? The man is willing to lay it on the line, lay people off, shrink the government, mess with entitlements, increase taxes and piss of 99% of the American public. I say go…..please go…….don’t stop now. I mean, in ten years, I’ll be over 50 and my youngest child will be well into adulthood. Why should my grandkids need to deal with our deficit? So please, people, please….I need to study for the bar. Yell loudly. Put the heat on these people. Get it done! That would be the best gift ever! Have a great week. And God Bless the USA!

Posted in Bar Exam, Bar Exam Prep, law school, Parenthood, summer | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bar Prep continued

Posted by newlawmom on July 11, 2011

Ouch. Luckily, the only pain I have right now is from a sunburn. Hopefully I will still feel that way after the bar exam is over! I have done substantial amounts of studying. But I do need to try a bit harder for these next couple weeks. Sunshine, children, barbeques, street fairs, and ice cream nights have consumed large amounts of my time and I am happy about it. I’ve been to the ocean more times in the past three weeks than I went in all three summers of law school combined.

On the job search – I had an interview last week, thanks to that connection I mentioned. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I get a second one, but with each passing day, my optimism fades. Still – three applications submitted, three interviews. That’s pretty good I think. Plus every interview is an opportunity to practice. If I don’t have a semi-dream job by the end of summer I’ll need to change my approach, but in the meantime I will continue to be very selective.

I’m still not smoking. That is a huge deal, but I will only commit to not smoking one day at a time. It is way to much to contemplate forever (or even a week.) I’ve been plagued with a bit of insomnia, which even for a night person is unpleasant. I don’t like looking at the clock at 4 am when I haven’t fallen asleep yet. Plus it leaves me irritable during the day.

I need to submit a few follow-up pieces for the character and fitness examination. So far, nothing too difficult or frightening. Remember, there are a few things I may need to explain. But so far, so good. Let’s see where I’m at next week at this time. Sixteen days to go.

Posted in Bar Exam, Bar Exam Prep, law mom, night owl, Parenthood, summer | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Success!

Posted by newlawmom on June 29, 2011

I have quit smoking. Haven’t had one in six days already. And I have no intention of ever having another. Confession: I am wearing a nicotine patch so I haven’t suffered any physical withdrawal symptoms yet. For right now, I have no intention of ever taking the patch off.

On prepping for the bar: It’s getting close. I’m working hard. Right now I’m working on criminal procedure, using The Glannon Guide (Aspen), Criminal Procedure from First Contact to Appeal by John Worrall, and Basic Criminal Procedure (Thompson/West). I also have the audio cassettes from Gilbert with Prof. Whitebread lecturing. He is a character. I have sample questions for old bar exams and I am using those in preparation. Tomorrow I will focus on criminal/criminal procedure essay answers. I am also using Kaplan’s MBE Review Flashcards.

On summertime and children: I have a suntan! The children are tan. I have spent two days at the ocean and two at my local beach. We have been out for ice cream. Tomorrow night we are off to a street festival in our town, with live music, street performers, a farmer’s market, and local merchant sidewalk sales. We are hosting a picnic on the 4th. Unfortunately, our town hasn’t done fireworks for the past two years, so I still need to think about that. For the most part, the kids are happy. They’ve had lots of opportunity to hang out with their friends. The teenager is still a teenager. I love him, but he is a challenge. I think it would kill him to acknowledge that life is not a chronic catastrophe. So when it is time for chores, or when there is no instant gratification, his life sucks. I take the liberty of saying he is mostly happy with life even if he denies it.

I have applied for an attorney position that would make me a very happy woman. My boss (at the legal aid organization where I am volunteering for the summer) knows the person who is doing the hiring. They have already spoken about me, so I hear. As much as I hate to think that connections matter all that much, I am hoping in this case it does. I am also told they have been overwhelmed with applications, so….keep your fingers crossed for me. And….my sister, who has been a stay-at-home mom for almost ten years, just got hired to teach first grade for a public school system in our state. That is almost miraculous, given the state of the economy here and the serious competition that exists for teaching positions. So I am hoping some of that miraculous energy will flow in my direction. Here’s hoping you all have a great holiday weekend!

Posted in Bar Exam, Bar Exam Prep, law mom, Parenthood, summer | 1 Comment »

summertime

Posted by newlawmom on June 1, 2011

I love summer. I haven’t gotten to enjoy one in a few years but I am making up for it. I have a sunburn and a garden. I’ve cooked out on the grill a few times, walked barefoot in the grass, driven down the road with my windows down and the radio blaring, and generally just enjoyed the beautiful weather. I’ve watched a thunderstorm, played cards outside by candlelight, and sat on my back porch sipping wine. I’ve even been able to sit outside with a good book. This is the life!

So I didn’t get either job I interviewed for. No problem. Things work out exactly as they are intended to be. Bar review? Eh. Not so much. Barbri doesn’t start until next week so why should I start early? Volunteering? Yes. That I enjoy. But even that, I could give up right about now. I think I am overdue for a break. For now, I will keep the position. But I haven’t made any long term promises. Thank God.

In other words, life is good. Life is very, very good. There will be plenty of time down the road to figure out how I’m going to make a living. It’s not in my sights right this moment. I hope everyone has a great week. Enjoy the weather!

Posted in law mom, law school, Parenthood, summer, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

A weekend!

Posted by newlawmom on May 21, 2011

Without law school? How the hell did that happen? No, no, not now dear. Just enjoy the moment. Seriously. I confess, there is wine involved in this post. The bestest wine ever, if that is possible.  Between the tragic illness of my mother, law school and legal work, I have literally not had a weekend completely and totally free for as long as I can remember. There was always something pressing. But this weekend? I have all to myself. And I intend to enjoy every minute of it.

Tonight involves serious quantities of wine. Pinot Grigio if you need to know. And one tear-jerker movie – The Other Woman with Natalie Portman. I love a good tear jerker. It gives me good reason to just let the tears flow for all of the 1010 reasons I might cry otherwise over the course of year, but manage to postpone. Graduation is a good reason to cry tears of pure happiness. I seriously feel so grateful to have this degree. It means, well, everything. Literally everything. It was a promise made to my adopted son, and I have fulfilled it. With latin honors to boot. But it is more than that. It is proof to all of the world that I am not stupid. That I have value. That I am capable of completing a task I set out to do. And it is a ticket, to be able to contribute something positive to the world. Not sure what I think I have done with the first 40 something years of my life, but I guess I haven’t contributed enough yet. So the tears are flowing. Natilie Portman, of course. You know, every woman loves a good tear jerker.

Someone told me once that I use too many commas. Tonight I say “Who the hell cares?” Who the fuck cares, really? I will use as many commas as I damn well please. And such is the story of my life. I went to a PPT the other day for a client ( and the client is always the parent, which is a problem for me.) The client should really be the student. That is the person who needs to be satisfied. But alas, the law says 16 year old children don’t have any rights. Now who decided that? And…in this case, my kid wants to go out for a smoke before school. Do we really want a child to drop out of school because he wants to leave school grounds to smoke before school? Really? We’re going to punish him and tell him that if he leaves school grounds to smoke in the morning, we will kick him out? But if he smokes on school grounds he would be expelled.  Wouldn’t it be easier to accept that we can not control him, allow him to smoke, and assure him that, notwithstanding his terrible habit, we welcome him to finish his high school education? Is this really radical? Where is the common sense? “Smoking is illegal.” “Kids leaving school grounds is a serious problem.” “We need to call the police.” Really? What planet did I step off of?

In other words, I have no idea where I fit into this legal picture I have drawn. But I sure as hell hope I find my way. And I hope clients find me. Because I am eager to figure out just where the logic actually lies. Some of these laws/rules/regulations/expectations/understandings have just gone one step too far. They no longer make sense. The big picture is more than a little bit cloudy. Dear children of the world – there is one almost, not quite, hopefully soon to be licensed attorney who is just waiting for the opportunity to protect your rights. I actually think you have some. And if that is radical of me, I am willing to accept the consequences.

And to my fellow blogger, browsers. legal professionals, and law students….while I need to protect myself long enough to pass the character and fitness portion of the bar exam, I did not end up in law school because I am a wuss. I don’t think the rapture will actually come to pass. Therefore, I expect to be alive. And for as long as I am alive, I am going to live. For so long as I am living, I will devote my life to the rights of children. All children. It might not be a direct path. But underlying everything is a belief that children do have rights. To claim otherwise is to disparage the human race. So I am coming back to the world of blogging. Because it is wholly insufficient to keep these grand ideas to myself. The wine helps, but the passion exists notwithstanding. I love my life, I love my kids, I love the law, truth, justice, and happiness. Rapture? Yeah. Come and get me.

Posted in child welfare, Child Welfare Issues, Ethics and moral values, law school, Parenthood, Purpose, Relationships | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Moving forward

Posted by newlawmom on May 18, 2011

So law school is over! It’s sort of hard to believe. I made it through with flying colors although it didn’t feel that way at the time.  So it’s time to move on. The bar is next, of course. I met with an attorney to discuss the character and fitness portion of the exam, given the situation with my adopted son along with a few other deviations from perfection over the course of my life. I am assured I will be admitted to the bar and most likely won’t even need to appear in person. That is reassuring although I will believe it when I see it. As for the exam itself, I am not taking any costly preparatory course. I have concluded that the main company involved (and others who aim to compete) make a lot of money because people are frightened of failing. I am frightened too, but not so scared that I am ready to fork over $2000 + to satiate it. So I have myself on a structured bar prep plan of my own design. I’m sure my fear will rear its ugly head a few times as July draws near but the decision has been made.

On the job front: I am volunteering right now with a legal services organization. I will stay there until I find work. I am looking for part time work and had two interviews this week. One was the interview from hell and one went pretty well. If I get the job I will be a very happy girl, working for a solo practice attorney handling a variety of tasks with the option of sharing office space if I want to go solo down the road. Not bad.  Solo practice is where I see myself although I continue to look at every legal  job opening within an hour of my home. If something comes up that could be satisfying to me, I will apply. Meanwhile…..I am glad that I earn a decent enough living that there is no pressure to hurry up.

I have missed blogging. I have missed sunshine, fresh air, and happiness. I have missed my children. I have missed having a clean house. Slowly but surely, my life is settling down and I am grateful for it. The past few years have been more than a little bit crazy. It’s nice to have time on my hands. I hope it lasts.

Posted in law school, Parenthood | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Rejuvenation

Posted by newlawmom on October 10, 2010

Well, since I took the time to write when I was in a total funk I figure I should write again when I’m not. I did find the time to get in my car and drive far, far away for the weekend. I did some work and I took some time for myself. At least this week I am starting out with half my reading done. I feel a lot better and my head is much clearer, so that should help. I have also taken some time to really think about the fact I am almost done. There is no reason to be derailed now. I feel so much calmer on this fine Sunday evening. Let’s hope it lasts through the next week of classes.

Posted in 3L, law school, loss, Parenthood | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Disaster Strikes

Posted by newlawmom on October 4, 2010

So if I thought for a single minute that the last year of law school would be smooth sailing, I was wrong. I had actually thought about taking the semester off to deal with my mother’s illness, but I decided against it. We lost her companion of many years on 8/15, and my mom passed two weeks ago today. I suppose this is what non-traditional is all about, right? The problem is I am not functioning well. I have been just barely squeezing by since the beginning of the semester and it is starting to catch up with me. I will pull it off in the end, but for today I just feel like bitching. Whining, complaining and being generally difficult. I am behind on my work. Unprepared for class. Incompetent to represent any client and wondering why I ever thought I wanted to do this in the first place. I don’t care about the law as it relates to real property, land use, family, or criminal either. All I really care about right now is my bed and the fact I don’t see nearly enough of it. My children, whom I love dearly, are driving me insane and need far more than I am able to give them. The truth is I want to get in my car and drive far, far away. Sometimes I want to drive far, far away with my law books so I can catch up on my work, and other times I think I should just take a few days completely to myself. Sadly, I do not have time to drive away because every possible thing seems to demand my attention right now, as I have ignored everything since my mother got sick last April. In the end, I want to whine. OK? I’m done now. I’m going to bed so I can start this all over again tomorrow. And no, I haven’t done my reading for those classes yet either. But I’ll be sure to write again after I get caught up.

Posted in 3L, law school, Law School Life, loss, Parenthood | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

2L happiness, peace, and satisfaction

Posted by newlawmom on March 16, 2010

Hello everyone. I’m sorry that I have ignored this blog for so long. In truth, it is a reflection of the end of a battle. Up until this semester, law school was a mission. Something I had to do, that I knew would have a positive end somewhere, and that I knew was important to me. And then it all clicked. So I am writing to tell you that happiness exists in the law and at law school. It is possible to achieve a purpose in the world, and to acheive what might at one point appear to be near impossible.

Today is my son’s birthday. He is sixteen, and he is mentally ill and alone in the world. To him, I owe a debt, and for the first time in years, I feel satisfied with my progress. I promised him that I would do my best to make sure that what happened to him does not happen to other people. To tell the world that what happened to him is wrong, and to devote my life to the purpose.

So here is where I stand: I am less than two months away from finishing the second year of law school. Despite my fears, I am fine. My grades are fine, my scholarship is safe, people are approaching me for various tasks and assignments, and referring me to awesome opportunities. I just finished representing my school at the ABA National Appellate Advocacy competition. I didn’t win, but I had a good time. I am working on a paper concerning parents rights to make health care decisions for their children and children’s rights to bodily and family integrity. Believe it or not, that Constitutional Law class actually did serve a purpose. I have my first paying legal job (paid by a firm, not work study…). And this summer, I will be working side by side with a public defender on a death penalty case. Conveniently, my role will involve assembling the mental and emotional health records from childhood forward. So, it is coming together. My dual criminal law and mental health law focus is going to work out fine. In the meantime, my administrative law class and commercial law class are just there. I’m managing them just fine while spending hardly any time worrying about it. Strange.

I hope everyone here is well. I was so surprised to see my readership has stayed almost steady while I was away. I’ll make it a point to write more often. Have an awesome evening and a happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Posted in 2L, law school, Parenthood | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »