Full Time Practice

Thursday, March 21, 2013

And, Not Either/Or

(Written by Angel Zimmerman, a WIL Committee member, who has responsibility for the blog focus group "practicing while you have children at home".)

I am in the middle of a couple logo design projects and there seem to be a million fonts and ways to use the “&” sign.  Here is my favorite and I think it is very descriptive of who many of us are. 

I just finished “How Remarkable Women Lead” by Joanna Barsh and Susie Cranston with The Centered Leadership Project.  This is truly a must read book.

I was struck with the sentence when talking with women leaders, “There was no either/or.  Accepting “and” filled them with energy.”

I agree.  It isn’t work/life balance; it is work and life.  And, of course, the word balance is very problematic and hotly debated.  I am of the camp that you can have it all and like Nan’s previous post “No Limitations,” it is through the law that I can have it all. 

I am also of the camp that has chosen to not have separate pots.  There is not a children pot, and work pot, an other organizations pot, a school pot, a church pot, etc.  There is just one pot and everything is in the pot.  My greatest feelings of success are when I can be doing one thing and it feeds multiple elements in my pot  (i.e. business trips with my kids, one project that can serve the needs of two or three of my organizations, teaching seminary and becoming a better teacher which helps me be a better speaker and thinker) . 

Christel Marquardt, newly retired from the Kansas Court of Appeals, spoke when she was receiving the Justice Kay McFarland award several years ago.  Her motto was to “W.I.N.”  She was a single mother raising several boys when she decided to go to law school many, many years ago.  She said sometimes it was important to stay and finish a brief and other times it was important to be in the bleachers at a kid’s practice, sometimes she studied in the bleachers.  What is important is that you do “W”hat is “I”mportant “N”ow (W.I.N.) .  

What a life changing moment for me as that resonates with my core beliefs.  First, I am competitive and winning is very appealing (sound familiar to you?) and second, we must live our life in tune to the spirit.  When I “W.I.N.” I am at peace which I suppose is to say “balance.”  But I contend that I can often be at peace and not be balanced, I think I might even prefer not being “balanced.”   

My husband and kids have been spending a lot of time on the “I am a Mormon” site.  It is very inspiring.  So here is mine, “I am a Kansas female attorney AND I am an early morning seminary teacher of 14 years AND I love being involved in my community and the legal community AND I am the mother of 4 amazing children AND I am a wife of a fabulous husband attorney who practices law with me AND I am a Mormon.” 

I pray you get to experience all the “ANDs” you want in your life and the “either/or” are few.  

(One of the goals of this blog is to address seven different focus groups:  full time practice; part time practice; on hiatus; practicing with children at home; students; using your law degree in your community and family; and, singles.  If you have any suggestions about topics you would like to see addressed in these areas, please let us know through the Comment section below.)


  1. Great post! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I love this post. Your comments about having one big pot of responsibilities resonates with me; I have three children at home and frequently try to decrease the juggling a tiny bit by combining tasks and killing 2 birds with one stone whenever possible. I also LOVE the "W.I.N.", and how it illustrates that life situations aren't necessarily "always" or "never" in nature.

    Another funny coincidence -- I've had “How Remarkable Women Lead” on my bookshelf for awhile. It's one of those books that I keep telling myself I will get to, when I find a bit of time. Perhaps when my children go off to college, haha. :)

  3. Funny coincidence -- confession. It took me over 4 months to read this book. However, let me assure you that it is one of the most enjoyable pick me up chapter by chapter books. It is in bite sized pieces and the chapters are thought provoking by themselves (even when you can sit down and devour the whole thing). This is actually the perfect book for those "bits of time" I actually had no guilt just reading little bits at a time and then letting it sit for a week or two or longer. Enjoy those kids AND let them know about all the amazing women there are out there. My whole family got to practically read it with me b/c I kept having to tell them about it.

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