The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly: What Working Moms Really Think About Stay-At-Home-Moms

Over the past two years I’ve been debating the pros and cons of being a stay at home mom or stay at work mom and have picked the brains of countless other working moms who have already waded through this dilemma or are currently struggling with it themselves.

Here’s what working moms had to say (based on my formal interviews of moms-at-large and casual chats with friends), including the good, the bad and unfortunately, even the ugly:

The Good

SAHMs have it the best.

  • “She’s so lucky she can spend time with her kids.”
  • “She’s so lucky she can afford to stay at home.”
  • “She has the best life and doesn’t even have to work.”

SAHMs are the true working moms.

  • “I don’t know how she can stay at home with the kids 24/7.”
  • “I couldn’t stay home with my kids – I’d go insane.”
  • “I don’t want to stay at home.  I like working and I need a break from my kids.”

The Bad

SAHMs should be doing more since they have so much free time.

  • “She’s a stay-at-home-mom so of course she has the time to exercise.”
  • “Let’s have the stay-at-home-mom do the research for our group trip.  The rest of us are working and don’t have the time.”
  • “Why wouldn’t she do [X]?  She doesn’t work.”

 SAHMs are cop outs.

  • “I can’t believe she wasted her [X] degree to be a stay-at-home-mom.”
  • “She’s just a stay-at-home-mom.”

The Ugly

SAHMs don’t have the right to complain. 

  • “She has no idea what it’s like to manage a family and a life:  she’s a stay-at-home mom.”
  • “Why does she have problems with [X]?  She doesn’t have anything to worry about except playdates.”
  • “Her kids should be better behaved.  I mean, she spends all that time with them.”
  •  “Why is she so unhappy?  She doesn’t have to work.  Her life is so easy.”

Today’s Verdict:  Hung jury.  Staying at home or staying at work, having kids is a full time job.

WIPLA June Cocktail and Networking Reception (6/9)

Join WIPLA at MacArthur Park Restaurant in Palo Alto from 5:30-7:30  p.m. this Thursday (6/9) for cocktails and friendly networking with your fellow female intellectual property litigators from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Register here.


Hot Topics in Blog, Social Network and Internet Law (6/8)

Join Ian C. Ballon, Author (E-Commerce and Internet Law: Treatise with Forms 2d Edition) and Internet and IP litigator (Greenberg Traurig LLP) and Santa Clara Law School Professor Eric Goldman for a free breakfast seminar on Hot Topics in Blog, Social Network and Internet Law, on Wednesday, June 8th at 8:30 a.m. at SCU’s Nobili Hall.

Learn about some of the hottest legal issues facing Silicon Valley Internet companies from the experts.

E-mail to RSVP.  Continental breakfast from 8:30-9:00 a.m.; presentation from 9:00-10:30 a.m.  More info here.

Constitutional Democracy Meets Same Sex Marriage (5/10)

Ever wondered “How Can One Judge Overturn the ‘Will of the People’“?  Join the Santa Clara University School of Law and the National Center for Lesbian Rights on Tuesday, May 10th, at the Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center Grand Ballroom from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. for an informative presentation –  without the legalese – on “the marriage cases” and Proposition 8.  Refreshments and spirited discussion to follow.

More information here and register here.

Cocktails and Couture with the Queen’s Bench (4/28)

Ooh la la, join the Queen’s Bench for a fun, fashionable networking opportunity with free cocktails at the contemporary Heritage Row clothing boutique in the Marina District from 6:00-8:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 28th.  Does building your network get any more fabulous than this?

More info on the Queen’s Bench here.

Can a Working Mother Be a Good Mother?

That is the question.

Most parents lashed out at Rahna Reiko Rizzuto when she confessed that she left her children in order to pursue her own dreams and find herself after five years of motherhood.  Readers practically flayed her on the stake, condemning her for choosing herself over her children.  Was it really necessary to accuse her of being “worse than Hitler“?  Does being a good mother really mean we have to give up being ourselves, sacrificing our identities at all costs?

Read my take in today’s Salt & Nectar Guest Post “The Good Mother:  Selfless or Selfish?

Enjoy my post and a great blog from the two lovely lawyer moms, Sarah Stewart Holland & Sarah Pahnke Reisert, at Salt & Nectar!

Join WIPLA Tomorrow (4/5) for a Presentation on Business and Legal Aspects of Lending Against IP

The Women’s Intellectual Property Lawyers Association (WIPLA) is presenting Business and Legal Aspects of Lending Against Intellectual Property tomorrow, April 5th, at Sidley & Austin LLP in Palo Alto from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.  (Wine and hors d’oeuvres reception starting at 6:00 p.m.).

Speakers Include:   Kathy Conte (Hercules Technology Growth Capital);  Holly Dungan (Silicon Valley Bank);  Kevin O’Hare (Graystone Capital); Pamela J. Martinson (Sidley Austin LLP);  Lawrence E. Heiges (Empire Valuation Consultants LLC).

RSVP with panel moderator Janet R. Walworth (Terra Law LLP) at or 408-299-1225.  Free for WIPLA members/$20 non-members.  Learn more about WIPLA here.

Triple Event Thursday (3/31): Cloud Computing Panel, Biotech Networking & Women and Open Source Panel

Don’t have enough on your plate?  Rather sip on wine and nibble on apps instead of cooking dinner?  Here are three events this Thursday (3/31) to improve your awareness of cutting edge issues and expand your network at the same time:

  • SCU’s High Tech Law Institute and Biotech Law Group is hosting a free wine and cheese networking event from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.  Join other private practitioners and in-house counsel in the life sciences, biotech and biomedical fields for a casual gathering in the Wiegand Foyer of the SCU Arts & Sciences Building.

RSVP to Jeff Smyth at by Wednesday (3/30).  More info here.

  • If you’re already on the SCU campus, stick around for Cloud Computing:  A Multi-Disciplinary View From Technology, Business and Law in the Multi-Purpose Room of the  Bannan Engineering Building.

Panelists Bernard Golden (CEO of Hyperstratus, Cloud Computing Advisor to CIO Magazine and author of Virtualization for Dummies), Riaz Karamali (Corporate Practice Partner at Sheppard Mullin), Jeremiah Cornelius (Security Architect in VMWare’s Technology Partner Alliance) and Steve Riley (Technical Leader in the CTO Office at Riverbed Technology) will discuss technical issues, business benefits, and legal implications of cloud computing and how each of the disciplines can benefit by working closely together.

Networking with wine and hors d’oeuvres at 5:45 p.m., followed by a presentation and discussion from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.  Register and more information here ($8 IEEE Members; $12 Non-IEEE Members; free to SCU laws students).

  • If a female focus is more your thing, check out Women & Open Source:  What’s In It For Me? hosted by Symantec in Mountain View from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.  (Don’t miss the wine and “heavy appetizers” from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.)!

Panelists include Cat Allman (Open Source Programs Office, Google), Elizabeth Krumbach (Linux Force),  Alison Chaiken (MeeGo) and Beau Lebens (WordPress) and Janet Fouts (social media coach, speaker, author, & entrepreneur) will moderate the program.

Whenever you use Firefox, WordPress, Chrome, or Wikipedia- you’re using Open Source (whether or not you realize it). There’s probably a lot you don’t know about the benefits of seeking out and using this kind of software. When looking at software applications, you may be able to save yourself money and/or wow your boss by suggesting a low-cost Open Source alternative to more familiar programs. Many of us use WordPress- but perhaps you didn’t realize it’s a complete, highly reliable content management system with a lot of features and plug-ins.  One concern we have is that there aren’t many women active in the Open Source community. During this lively panel discussion you’ll meet some amazing women who are actively involved and one man who feels the community would greatly benefit from a more diverse group. You’ll also learn about careers and business opportunities in Open Source.”

Register here and more information here ($10 SDForum members; $25 Non-members;  $0 Platinum members).

Why I Like Being a Lawyer

My last post was about “Why I Don’t Like Being a Lawyer.”

In the interest of fairness, here’s what I do like about being part of the profession, alongside quotes from the “classic” movie Clueless to help make my points.  (I know I said that film portrayals of lawyers are completely inaccurate, but arguing out of both sides of my mouth comes naturally).

  • Lawyers, judges, law enforcement – or anyone really – don’t intimidate me. Having done everything from conducting criminal grand jury investigations to winning showdowns with pompous, blow hard civil litigators twice my age and half as qualified, to me the legal system is not the abstract mystery that most laymen regard with cautious curiosity.  Plus, I know I can usually argue my way into or out of anything – including returning the Dior sunglasses that have been sitting in my trunk for over a year to the store, no questions asked.

Mel (Cher’s father): You mean to tell me that you argued your way from a C+ to an A-? 
Totally based on my powers of persuasion, you proud?
Honey, I couldn’t be happier than if they were based on real grades.

  • I like being my own boss. As much as I complain about life as a working mom in my Dilemma Diary, it sure beats punching the clock and having someone dictate when I take my breaks and for how long.  Even though the  job is 24/7 , if I need three hours to hit the Neiman Marcus Midday Dash or go home to see my kids, no one will bother me as long as I meet my deadlines and am taking care of business (whenever that might be).

Cher I felt impotent and out of control. Which I really, really hate.

  • It’s nice to be part of a traditional “profession.” I enjoy being part of a *somewhat still* respected occupation.  So the profession still suffers from an Old Boys’ Club syndrome, but being part of something that has roots steeped in rituals and rites from days of yore makes you feel like you’re a part of something more.

Josh (Cher’s ex-stepbrother): Do you have any idea what you’re talking about? 
Cher: No. Why, does it sound like I do?

  • Most people are afraid of me. Say you’re a lawyer and no one will mess with you.  Period.

Cher: Daddy’s a litigator. Those are the scariest kinds of lawyers. Even Lucy, our maid, is terrified of him.  He’s so good he gets paid five hundred dollars an hour just to fight with people, but he fights with me for free ’cause I’m his daughter.

  • It pays. Okay, not every attorney earns six figures, but chances are if you wanted to, you would be able find good paying work as a lawyer.  And if all else failed, you more than likely would be able to parlay your skills into another decent career and still bring home some sizeable bacon.

Josh: I was thinking about looking into environmental law.
Mel: Why? You want to have a frustrating and miserable life?
Cher: Oh, Josh will have that no matter what he does.

  • You can make a difference. Sometimes you’re keeping the streets safer; sometimes you’re saving the environment, a company or a life; and many times you are fighting for what’s right and making it happen.  That’s a powerful reward in and of itself.

Cher: It’s like that book I read in the 9th grade that said “’tis a far far better thing doing stuff for other people.”

Today’s verdict: It’s too soon to throw in the towel.  (And I clearly need to grow up and out of the 90’s).

Free IvyExec Webinar on Networking with Passion and Purpose Today

If you haven’t found them yet, IvyExec is a job search site aimed towards ivy league and other high caliber professionals that offers pre-screened executive opportunities from top tier employers.  IvyExec also offers professional resume help and informational webinars, like this one today (3/22) at 3:30-4:30 p.m.:

Join Ainka J. Fulani for “Networking with Passion and Purpose,” where she’ll discuss networking with impact and authenticity.

Fulani, an Executive and Personal Coach with the Life Performance Coaching Center in San Francisco, owns BreakThrough and runs workshops, facilitates teams and provides one-on-one coaching to professionals.  She holds a BA in English from UC Berkeley and an MBA from Wharton.  More information and register here (no need to be a member).  The recorded webinar will be provided to all who RSVP.