Balancing Acts

A working single mom attending law school

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Archive for the ‘Purpose’ Category

OId habits die hard

Posted by newlawmom on June 23, 2011

I am a procrastinator. I am a night owl. I am a smoker. I am bad with money. These are my weak points. Maybe I am prone to short term addictions as well – right now, its the Anthony trial. These are all time and money wasters. They bring large amounts of anxiety into my life. They don’t help me. I have tried to overcome all of these problems at one time or another. I would like to just eliminate all my problems all at once. My life would be better for it, or so I think. The list looks pretty manageable but it’s been the same list for at least thirty years. So I must be missing something. I just want to fix the problems.

I have very good things in my life right now. Happy, healthy children. A future spouse who loves me. A beautiful home. An education. People who respect me. And for now, my own health. There are no impending catastrophes, no drama. If there is a time where I have all the support I need to fix my problems, this is it. So why is it  that I am scared shitless to even try? I am immobilized by the thought of it.

The bar exam is simple. Sit. Study. Repeat. But it would be so nice if at the end of the day I felt good about myself. So that is my current project. I need to move some money, set a budget, give up the smokes, and adopt a normal schedule. If I did all of those things I would start fresh and maybe have less reason to procrastinate. This has got to be my main goal for the summer. It simply must.

 

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Posted in Bar Exam, Bar Exam Prep, night owl, Purpose, summer | 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 »

Law School Part 2

Posted by newlawmom on January 4, 2010

I’m halfway done! I went back to school today. Health Law, Commercial Law, Administrative Law, and Medical Malpractice shall consume my spring semester. That would be in addition to the clinic which is year long. It was a blah kind of day. I had too much down time and not enough work to fill it. That feeling won’t last long. I’m also headed off to the ABA Appellate Advocacy competition. There are only a few days left to finalize the brief, but most of my work has been finished. (Over the Christmas break that didn’t actually exist.) I had a ton of computer problems over the break, and those problems continue, so I apologize for the lack of posting. Other than that, life is good. I continue to draw people to this blog who are searching for information on Reactive Attachment Disorder. I hope to be able to work this subject into a paper for my Health Law class. We shall see. I need to do some brainstorming tonight and see what I can come up with. It seems to me that someone should be liable for the damage that is done to these innocent children. If I can have even the tiniest impact on that, I will be satisfied. Well, I need to go for now. I hope everyone has a great 2010.

Posted in 2L, law school, Purpose | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Choice or mirage?

Posted by newlawmom on May 26, 2009

Daniel Hauser and his mother have returned home, and the child is recieving appropriate medical treatment. The court allowed the parents to retain custody of the boy and it seems like a happy ending. With some luck, he will recover. But you are wrong. I hope Daniel gets physically better. I hope he never develops any other cancer as a result of the chemo itself. I hope that his family can support him as he deals with the incessant and horrible side effects of this treatment, and I hope the child doesn’t fight to hard and need not be restrained or have his rights violated to receive the treatment in the first place. I hope he and his parents have the strenght to deal with pure hell. However, I maintain that nobody should have the authority to dictate that this child be repeatedly injected with poisin that will almost kill him as it saves him from almost certain death.

Medicine is not God. People who practice it are not God. The opinions of one American educated doctor are not automatically better or more justified than the opinions of a doctor who was trained in a different country. We are not the only country where people get cancer, and we are not the only country that has found treatment for the disease. We are far, very far, from being the best, most perfect, most knowledgable, most moral, most Godlike people of the earth. And the sooner we learn that the better off we will be. While people are all set to force the Hauser’s to pursue a particular cure for their one child, Daniel, thousands upon thousands of other children are in the care of the government. Many hundreds, likely thousands of those children are in hospitals tonight. They are locked up, strapped in beds, and drugged. They are abused by other children, abused by adults, and ignored by 99.99% of the people who are all gung-ho about questioning the Hauser’s decisions. These kids are ignored. They are at risk. They do not get proper care. They do not get proper treatment. Half the states don’t even know where all of their children are. Children are left alone in hospital beds. They can be dead for months or years before anyone even reports them missing. So everyone who wants to get all philosophical about this one child might do a parentless child a favor by leaving the Hauser’s alone and finding a child who needs a parent. There are, after all, thousands of them available. And if you want one with serious health conditions to decide about, there are kids with all variety of those who don’t have a parent who cares to do anything at all.

Posted in child welfare, Child Welfare Issues, Daniel Hauser, ethics, foster care, Parenthood, Purpose, trauma | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

RAD and the law

Posted by newlawmom on April 9, 2009

Well, I still don’t have it all figured out. But I do find myself continuing to peruse message boards and blogs that relate to attachment disorder, foster care and adoption. Less so boards that relate to childhood mental health problems in the absence of trauma. I think of my son nearly every day. I wish I could picture him living happily and successfully, just as though nothing bad ever happened to him at all. I think every mother would wish that for her child, just to be able to fix all the problems. I couldn’t fix them so now I just like to dream that the problems just magically disappeared for him once I stepped out of the picture. But in my heart I know that is an illusion. Last night I almost signed up on a message board for people who have experienced disrupted adoptions. But I stopped because I figure most of those people had infants who they wanted and never got rather than mothers like me who voluntarily (and necessarily) gave up a child and returned him to the custody of the state. It nearly killed me. But the damage done to him, to me, and particularly to my other children would have been much more substantial if I had continued down an impossible path. I was way out of my league. Sadly, I don’t think there is a league that is prepared to deal with the serious disturbances that can result when a human being is tortured for the first few years of life. If there was, I surely would have found it. The struggle now is to figure out how the law can benefit these children, or better yet, how it can be applied to protect them in the first place. I think the basis for this needs to be found in the constitution.  I will be working with a professor over the summer on establishing a network within the school for training to be a court appointed special advocate (CASA) and guardian ad litem (GAL) for children in state placement. That is good. But it is not the solution to the underlying problem, which is my focus and ultimate goal. The children in this country must have certain rights, and when those rights are violated, they must have access to justice and appropriate restitution, including appropriate physical, mental, and emotional health care. And I need to either locate or perform research that will establish that these children DO NOT recover from their substantial injury. I suspect that is the case more often than not, despite the happy face people want to put on the situation. It is not enough to promote foster care and adoption. That does not put these children into a position where they are made whole.  I am not anti-foster care. I am Pro-child. Every child, including the invisible ones. So…at the end of my first year of law school, I remain committed to the children, even if I have needed to devote my energy to legal subjects that seem to have nothing to do with child welfare at all.

Posted in 1L, child welfare, Child Welfare Issues, ethics, foster care, law school, Parenthood, Purpose, trauma | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Matrimony

Posted by newlawmom on February 9, 2009

Hurt children, adoption, mental health, law school, and sanity? It occurs to me that I am attempting to blend things that do not go well together and I have yet to figure out how I’m going to make it all work. Today’s search terms for the blog:  Threatening adopted child with foster care.  Attachment Disorder Single Mom. Law school scholarships. Older Law Student.  How to make it work – that is the question. To all you parents out there who are finding my blog, welcome.  To other law students, I’m probably not your average student and you may want to disregard most of what I say. I am a woman on a mission. I just don’t know exactly how to go about it. For today, I am applying for some paid internships that have more to do with public health than they do with the law. Did I choose the wrong degree? I don’t think so. I stopped into career services and they are supportive of the internship and gave helpful advice. Beyond that, I am clueless.  I don’t want to just volunteer my time over the summer to causes that I care about but that do not help me achieve my goals. I want to make progress. I want to see how it all fits together. And as usual, everything will happen exactly as God intends it to happen regardless of my well laid plans. As though I have any of those, right? Children are being harmed, families are suffering, mental health systems are contributing to the problem, educators fail to understand, and most of the world is ignorant. And I am arrogant enough to suppose I might be able to help? Yeah. The other half of the time I want to go blind, lose my memory, feign ignorance and go earn some money. The real problem is I do need to earn money because without that I can’t do anything for anyone, including myself. All the knowledge in the world does not pay my bills. But I will thank you parents of kids with RAD for reminding me that I got here from a place, and that place still exists for too many. Not only that, my son with RAD is only 15 and needs to live in this world despite his life. Not only does he need to live here, but all of society needs to share the world with him and live with the consequences. So….law school. Con Law, Property, Civ Pro, Contracts, and Legal Writing and Research call me now. I will master these subjects, make no mistake about it.

Posted in 1L, child welfare, foster care, law school, Parenthood, Purpose | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

PMS, passion, and perfectionism

Posted by newlawmom on January 29, 2009

Perfectionism leads to procrastination. Procrastination leads to time constraints. Time constraints lead to less than perfect execution, no matter what the subject.  For today, that’s where it’s at. I am tired.  I do have PMS and often a bad case of it. When I am PMS’ing, I can often have too much too say, and I can say it with a degree of passion that I later regret. Today was one of those days too, although I am enjoying an on-line chat with a fellow blogger.  Although this is not a political blog, I do have political views. What a surprise, right? The main problem I am having right now is the deficit. Yes, I was concerned about it for long before Obama came into the picture. But I am seeking a leader who will acknowledge that we can not afford any more spending. No more debt. No more rescues. Because when the United States of America goes bankrupt, it is not going to be a fun ride.  I don’t consider his rescue package to be brave. I consider it to be a pacifier for people and I do not believe the American people really want to be pacified. I don’t want to be pacified. I don’t want someone to tell me its going to be ok and we’re going to have 3 million new jobs in five years. I want the truth. All of it. And I want leaders who act on that truth even if it causes some members of society to feel angy. The feelings of the American people when the financial reality is acknowledged is not going to be any less dramatic four years from now than it is today. We are simply postponing the inevitable. And increasing the severity of the problem with every dollar that is promised to new and old “great causes”.  We have no money. If our corporate leaders see fit to spend millions and billions on fancy jets and business events, let them go bankrupt when the people can no longer afford their products. Our reality is no different than any of these other people who live in other countries. We are not exempt from the need to spend within our means or face the consequences of those choices. Consequences  WILL develop. We are not immune. And that, people, is my PMS blog of the year. I hope I don’t regret it tomorrow.

Posted in 1L, bailout, law school, Parenthood, Purpose | Leave a Comment »

Revelations

Posted by newlawmom on January 22, 2009

Two. First – law school students are not all morally competent people with high ideals and a genuine concern and respect for all people. They are also prone to holding stereotypical beliefs. Many of those students have never spent a day in poverty and some are honestly clueless as to the social and financial realities for many in this country. It is interesting and scary to think that many lawyers may not actually “get it”.  Examples, at the risk of jeopardizing my anonymity: It is not necessary for the courts to consider protecting the rights of public school students, because they all “do” have a choice – private school. Hmmm. Interesting. I should tell my sister about that. Never mind that she would need to work two jobs and sacrifice her quality of life substantially to afford it.  “Choices are not easy – that doesn’t mean they don’t exist”. Wow. Another example: Unconscionable clauses in employment applications don’t matter because…there are always other jobs. Really?  But the best: those poor people who are applying for those entry level jobs are stupid. Honestly stupid. Incapable of understanding the clauses BUT NOT entitled to relief because they should not have signed it if they didn’t know what it was. OH MY. It was all I could do to bite my tongue. This same group of people found it difficult  to understand that a lawyer giving client directions on how to succeed at tax evasion has committed a crime. I really am at a loss for words. THIS is why I am going to find it difficult to make a living being a lawyer. The people I care about don’t have money to pay.  But they aren’t stupid. And they do have rights. So….on to revelation 2.

Law school grades are very different than all prior grades. My grades are good. Better than the letter grades would lead me to believe. And there are people in my section who got D’s. Even D-. In one class fully half scored at a C or below. These are not C and D kind of people. I can’t even imagine it. The thing is, all of these people are bright, capable people. It doesn’t matter. The curve dictates that people will fall into the C and D range I guess. Supposedly if the entire class deserved A’s, they would get them. The median is not mandatory. But by my calculations, the median is consistently applied. Otherwise my classmates would not be receiving these grades. Of course if they all got B’s, mine would be meaningless. I feel bad for the people. I give them large amounts of credit for returning for the second semester. I would have found it difficult. So… I have a new perspective on grades. There but for the grace of God go I. 

 I’m really angry about the poverty/stupidity/undeserving of justice (government handouts?) issues. I know these issues exist, because I have personally experienced them. To be poor is not a reflection of intelligence, integrity, or any other thing. One would think that a competent law student would already know this and believe it. Perhaps not.  Think first, write later. I should remember that before I “open mouth, insert foot”. I hope my readers have a healthy, happy day.

Posted in 1L, Ethics and moral values, law school, Purpose | Tagged: , , | 11 Comments »

Wednesday 1/21/09

Posted by newlawmom on January 21, 2009

Week 3 of the second semester of the first year of law school. How sweet. The problem is I am very far from being transformed into an attorney. I can’t even picture myself working as an attorney. When I look around my classroom I can’t picture most of them working as lawyers either. Contemplating summer work is difficult. I think my inability to believe the idea is interfering with my ability to get resumes in the mail. Tonight on the ride home I was sort of contemplating the places I might like to work. And law firms are not the answer. I think I would like to work in the legal department of a hospital, or more particularly, a mental health hospital. I wonder if they even have legal departments. If they don’t, they should. But I haven’t even inquired. So that is the task I am assigning to myself for this week: create my own list of ideal legal experiences and try to make one of them happen for this summer. While the idea of “trying out different things” that I talked about a few weeks ago makes some sense, it is not me. I have always devoted myself to the disabled and this is no time to stop.  A revelation for today. We shall see how long it lasts or where this road actually leads to. Guardian ad litem training is off for the time being due to events outside my control. I realize how much I was looking forward to that and need to find something to replace it with. The purpose of attending law school is to use my skills to help others – that is my purpose. I will not lose it along the way. Neither will I lose my desire to finish at the top of my class. On that note, I have met with two prof’s re: my exams and have a third appointment set up. Not to whine – just to understand and use this experience to improve next time.

On the homefront: sonny boy’s new fish had babies and ate them. This is not cool. We went out tonight and bought a “baby-saver” for the fish tank. I am learning more about fish than I ever needed to know. We also picked up five neons to go with the three mollies in the tank. PETCO promises if I can save the babies they will take them and adopt them out. This is encouraging.  I realize lately that the term adoption is not really meant to be interpreted as broadly as we apply it. If human babies are “adopted” and this is a lovely and beautiful thing that is meaningful and the equivalent of belonging to a family as if born there, we really need to think of a different term for cats and dogs and fish. Ditto for the words “foster home”. We need to afford a bit more dignity to our children than we do to our animals. And make no mistake – I am an animal lover. Children are not animals, and what works for the animals may not be adequate for the human beings we distribute to new homes without blinking. This is a problem.  Something needs to be done about it.  On the other hand, we shouldn’t be so quick to give up animals either. They are not objects. Just a thought.  If only the law was a solution – so far, it doesn’t look that easy. For the fish? Well, a trip to PETCO and a new tank beats being eaten by a big fish or flushed down the drain. So I guess adoption for fish is a positive outcome. I’ll try to remember that. I hope my readers have a lovely day. I can promise you that if a state worker showed up at your door and told you they had a new, safe, happy home for you  it wouldn’t be a happy day.

Posted in 1L, child welfare, foster care, law school, Law School Life, Parenthood, Purpose, trauma | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Child abuse, neglect, disaster…

Posted by newlawmom on November 11, 2008

I was checking out the search terms people use to find my blog, and today there were a few sad ones on there. Reactive attachment disorder. Child abuse. Child neglect. These are the things that matter to me. The things that got me here. And the things I am hoping to impact upon once I make it through this process of education. So how is that looking? Well, so far, not too great. I don’t know how this helps the kids. There are laws that prevent children from suing. I sort of knew that, but I guess I hadn’t really thought about it too much. These kids should be able to sue. I’m told there is an exception for intentional torts. I don’t know too much about it. I guess I wouldn’t want my healthy children to be able to sue me for false imprisonment when I send them to their room for punishment. Nor would I want them to be able to sue for other thngs. Neglecting to provide the best of everything despite by best intentions. But for those who have been genuinely harmed at their parents hands, and that particularly applies to those children who have been removed from their parents homes as a result, how is it fair that the child is asked to give up their entire family and everything they hold near and true just to be safe, and then they can’t recover anything from the people who hurt them? That seems wrong. Specific performance sounds like a good remedy for these kids. When you had me, it was an implied promise to take care of me. You broke the deal, now I want you to perform as promised. Hmmmmmm. Who knows how it is that my attendance at law school is going to benefit these kids. I haven’t even begun to figure that out yet. For today, I am involved in exam prep. And that is all the energy I have. But I have not forgotten my purpose here, nor do I intend to forget it when I am done.

Posted in Child Welfare Issues, Law School Life, Purpose | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »