Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Bright Side

I had a miscarriage last Thursday. The pregnancy felt a lot like the pregnancy three years ago that ended in miscarriage, so it wasn’t a shock like last time. But still, it’s sad. Today I made a big effort to be grateful for all the good things in my life, instead of worrying about the fact that I’ve been pregnant three times and only have one child. And I found out that there are lots and lots of things that make me really happy. You want to know what they are, right?

  •          My husband is hilarious. He can always make me laugh. I can’t remember any particular moment, but I know that I laugh a lot and I have Nathaniel to thank for most of those moments.
  •          My daughter is also very good at making me laugh. I can’t tell you how awesome it is to sit in the front seat of the car and hear your child ask you to give her a “foot snuggle.” Or to hear her sing “I Am a Child of God” at the top of her lungs.
  •          I'm in a great ward. We had an activity this past week and it was so fun. We watched home videos that people submitted. My favorites were the 1st counselor’s video of himself and some friends lighting things on fire and the Elder’s Quorum President's slow-motion video of him attempting (and failing) to jump over a trash can. Well, then there was the 2nd Counselor’s video of him, in full missionary attire, trying to ride a bike over a jump and failing grandly. And then the sister missionary singing an entire song with a helium balloon voice. Yeah, there was some good stuff. We have a great ward. You should move in. :)
  •          Hydrocodone and Dilaudid are evidence that God loves His children. Sure, drugs make me a bit loopy, but how awesome is it when pain just goes away?
  •          My mom came out and hung out with Summer while I was on bed rest. I don’t know what I would have done without her. Summer loves her grandma so much. It’s really sweet.
  •          I am grateful I have the abilities that I have, and I’m excited to use them more.
  •          Book clubs through Facebook messages are brilliant. I have loved it so much. Facebook me if you want to do one. They’re really exciting, unless you don’t like read a bunch of my opinions.
  •          People have been so nice. I really appreciate it when I’ve been asked how I’m doing. I have felt a lot of love.
This list could go on, but not without getting really cheesy and possibly nearing Charlie Sheen levels of enthusiasm.
Life is really great. I’ve read a couple of reviews of The Book of Mormon – the musical, and one song in the musical really intrigues me. I think it’s called “Unfeel” or something (I just looked it up and it's called "Turn It Off," which is a much better title) and, from what I understand, it’s about Mormons’ uncanny ability to not feel bad emotions. I don’t think I have this ability, but from what I know of my culture I understand why people would think that of Mormons. Of course, it’s important to deal with negative emotions. Anyone who reads this blog knows that I don’t shy away from experiencing them. But it’s also okay to choose to look for the good in life and focus on that. Maybe someday I’ll have something more profound to say about the difference between “unfeeling” and optimism, but I’m still a bit drugged up and can't quite think. Not that I’m complaining.


Sunday, March 20, 2011


A few nights ago, Nathaniel kneeled down beside our bed and addressed his prayer to Jimmer.

I asked him if I could write a blog post about it.

"No," he said. "It's too cliche."


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Why Women Who Want Kids Should Not go to Law School

This is a blog about my life – my thoughts, happenings in our family, cute shots of my toddler, etc. I have no idea why I’m going to spout off career advice, especially when pretty much no one who reads this blog is deciding whether or not to attend law school.

I guess I want young impressionable women about to get sucked into the law school trap to learn from my mistakes.

My first two weeks of law school, three if you include orientation, were awful. Awful not in the sense that I wasn’t enjoying myself, but awful in the sense that, because of unfortunate dating choices, I was not applying myself. I found myself in the career services office before the drop deadline, asking if it wouldn’t be a good move to defer my legal education for a year. Without realizing it, I had gotten far behind my classmates and I knew I wasn’t likely to do particularly well given my late start.

“Do you want to work for a law firm in a large city?” the counselor asked. “If you do, you need to be in the top ten percent. Otherwise, your grades don’t really matter. You’ll get a job no matter what.”

Awesome, I thought. I can focus on pre-marital counseling and working things out with my boyfriend. I’ll just sort of get through law school.

And I absolutely loved law school. I loved the class discussions, I loved my professors, I loved the friends I made (I still love you guys!), and I even loved the reading assignments when I did them. I didn’t worry too much about test-taking skills and how to get on law review. Why would I, when I could get a job no matter my grades? When I really liked the subject I did very well, but usually my grades were a respectable average. I constantly heard people complain about how much they hated law school, and I pitied them for their misplaced ambition. Didn’t they know that we were all going to get jobs?

And then the financial crisis hit, and even lawyers with stellar credentials were laid off in droves. I also got married (to another guy – it’s a long story) and, a year later, got pregnant.

I made the choice to go to law school in a world where I was single and able to work a full-time job anywhere in the country, and in an economy that had jobs just waiting for BYU Law graduates to snatch them up. And now, I find myself looking for part-time work in the same city my husband needs to be in for his schooling, in an economy suffering from an overabundance of lawyers. Oh, and I’m tens of thousands of dollars in debt.

I thought part-time work would be pretty easy to find. Part-timers don’t require benefits and can help attorneys out with a lot of tasks that paralegals can’t. I was totally wrong. When law firms hire attorneys fresh out of law school, they have to train them. It’s not worth it to law firms to hire part-time attorneys with no previous experience because it takes much longer for part-timers to get the hang of things and start being valuable to the firm. Also, when a firm does decide to get some part-time help, guess who they hire? Not the people in the bottom half of the class with no previous experience. Not in this economy, anyway.

So, if a woman who wants kids does decide to go to law school, she better get the best grades possible. I’ve heard men complain about women who do well in law school because they’re taking a good spot away from a man who needs a good job to support a family. Ignoring the general ridiculousness of the statement for a moment, I want to point out that it’s just wrong. In a household that follows traditional gender roles, everyone sacrifices for the husband to get a job. The family relocates, the wife looks after the kids so the husband can job hunt or start a practice, etc. My husband is not going quit law school so that I can brush up on my legal skills to make myself more employable. That scenario would require us to give up money for the chance to make much less money.

And by the way, when we relocate, guess who has to take another bar exam in order to have a chance at getting a job? My husband won’t have to because of reciprocity between states, which only applies to full-time attorneys. The legal profession isn’t very kind to wives and mothers.

In order to avoid wasting the money spent on the wife’s education, she needs to make her resume the best she possibly can so that employers want to train her, even for part-time work. She needs to do way better in school than most of those future breadwinners.

So here’s what it takes to do well in law school. Not that I know from personal experience, but I have seen my husband, a current 2L, do well. To get great grades, you should work 12 hour days 6 days a week. Twelve is a minimum, at least for the first year. You can’t just spend this time studying for classes, though that should take a big chunk of your 12 hour day. You also need to spend time figuring out how to do well in law school. It’s a skill, and it takes time to learn. People who do well in law school figure out who did well in classes before them and ask them how to take tests.

Oh, and 12 hour days does not mean just spending 12 hours at the law school, chatting with friends or watching Hulu. It means really working for 12 hours. And you need to do this for months without a break. This, by the way, is extremely difficult.

Some people don’t need to study for 12 hours a day. But those people are really special, and most people are not that kind of special. Twelve hours is pretty much a guarantee of good grades. Of course, if you go to Harvard, 12 hour days are not necessary. 

So unless you are a male, or you are a female who is willing and able to spend 12 hours a day studying for tests, or you have a large trust fund, or you're going to Harvard or Stanford or Yale, I don’t recommend law school.

Of course, some women work full-time. Or they think they don’t want to have kids. But most women, no matter how undesirable childbearing might sound when they begin law school, eventually want to have kids. And that usually leads to wanting to spend time at home with them, particularly if the husband has a full-time job. So don’t count on always being able to pick up and get whatever full-time job comes your way.

Another option is to delay childbearing until you are settled in your career. This is a good option, if you can delay childbearing, because if you already know what you’re doing, employers will want you. But who wants to stave off the baby hungriness for a few years while you wait to get settled in your career? Why do that when you could just take care of your career by kicking butt in law school?

I really like my life as a stay-at-home mom. And I don’t know that I can say that I regret going to law school, because it changed the way I think about life in invaluable ways. I’m also very lucky to be married to an amazing person who is willing to pay off my student loans. At the same time, I wish I could work a couple of days a week to earn some money, have a break from my wonderful daughter, and improve my legal skills. I keep applying, and one of these days I think an employer will recognize how awesome I am and hire me. But I don’t want others to make the same mistakes I did, so I’m trying to at least give them fair warning.