Well, I survived Day 1 of the new job. Thanks to all of you who wished me luck!
I wasn't in the office--instead they sent me to a seminar being presented by the female attorney who initially interviewed me. I am sure that the reason I got the job began with her. She told me in that first interview that she was not a partner because she had chosen not to accept partnership. She wanted to have a family, and once her children were born she began working part-time.
So in that first interview, when she asked what I did besides working, I had choice whether to reveal that I, too, have children. I learned as a law student that I was better off not advertising my age and the fact that I had children. Of course, I never lied, but I never volunteered this information, either. In my old firm Big Boss had absolutely no clue that I was a 30-something mother of three when he hired me, and there is no way he would have hired me if he had known as much (others in the office have confirmed this).
But I felt that I clicked with this female attorney who was successfully balancing career and family, and I decided to break my self-imposed rule and tell her that my spare time generally revolved around my children. She was immediately impressed, and suddenly I stood out from the crowd.
What's more, even the male partners I later met appreciated the dedication required to make it through law school with children. They did not view my family as a hindrance that would prevent me from billing enough hours, but rather as evidence of my work ethic and organizational skills.
And I think that I why I was so drawn to this firm. I didn't have to hide who I am--and they actually valued me more because of it.