I figured out pretty quickly as a law student trying to find a job that being a mom was not working to my benefit. So I removed anything that hinted at my child-having status from my resume (basically my volunteer work) and avoided the topic during interviews.
My first boss had absolutely no idea that I had kids when he hired me. And I am 100% certain that he would not have hired me if he had know I was a mom. (This is not just my speculation--others 'in the know' have said the same.) Of course, he eventually figured it out--after I had been working there for several months.
And in my first job I was careful not to mention my kids whenever I had to leave because something was going on with them. I always non-specifically said that I had an appointment. This actually worked for me. It gave me the opportunity to prove that I was competent and professional and could get the job done without being marred by the "mom prejudice."
But this isn't something that I want for future lawyer moms, and the only way things are going to change is if those of us who are more established in our field stand up and prove what we're perfectly capable of managing both our careers and our families.
My new bosses knew that I had kids from my first interview--but by then I had a good track record to back myself up. Still, I was conscious not to have too many kid appointments and to prove myself as a go-to girl in my early days with my current firm. And now, I think I've done that.
So when I have to take a kid to the doctor, I said so. And last week, when my boss (a childless junior partner) said that he wanted us in the office at 9 on Saturday morning to prep for our trial on Tuesday, I said no. My kids have soccer games on Saturday mornings. I've been home before bedtime maybe twice in the last two weeks and we would be out of town for one to two weeks for trial. I needed that time with my girls. I was prefectly fine with devoting the vast majority of my weekend to trial prep, but I was not missing my kids' games on Saturday morning.
I think he was a little surprised that I was drawing this line in the sand just 3 days before trial, but he didn't object. I love my job, but it does take a lot of time away from my family, and I have to set limits to ensure that it doesn't take over my entire life. I have yet to miss a concert or school play or soccer game, and I don't intend to without a very good reason.
In the end, it was moot. My case settled today (while I was at the soccer games), and the 90 bazillion hours that I have billed in the last two weeks were for naught. I'm disappointed not to be going to trial, but it is nice to have my weekend free. And of course, I know the stats as well as any litigator and knew the chances of settling increased with every day we got closer to trial. I don't know what I'll do with all my free time at work next week.