As a young, newly married, I spent my days dealing with murderers, drug dealers, and burglars – and I loved it. It was interesting to me to hear their thoughts and sometimes bizarre rationalizations for their behavior. One young mother shook her baby to death because the baby cried all night and the mother had to get up for work in the morning. Scores of drug dealers talked about how their difficult backgrounds had brought them to crime. But a common thread ran through all the stories of felons I dealt with every day – the lack of an effective family structure when they were growing up.
After the birth of our second child, I began to feel the real incongruence of my roles. An afternoon visit to the jail to see clients was followed by a trip to our day care provider to pick up our kids. At that time I loved both of my worlds. Ultimately my heart leaned only toward home.
We have been truly blessed. After several years of dealing with infertility and miscarriage, we adopted a beautiful infant daughter. On very short notice we became an instant family. Acting as if my life could go on without skipping a beat, I moved a portable crib into my office and had a wonderful secretary who would cuddle my daughter while I went to court. Back at the office, I held her, pacing and swaying while I talked to clients. I was learning to be a mother, and learning to value motherhood.
When our first daughter was two months old, I accepted a new job – one that did not involve the sixty-hour work week of private legal practice. My hours were generally cut back, except when trying a jury trial. Fortunately, I had found a wonderful Christian day care provider who genuinely loved our daughter.
Even with the care provider’s help, however, I felt that neither of my jobs was being adequately served. When I was working, I wanted to be home. When I was home, I worried about the people whose lives and liberty had been entrusted to my care. Something had to change.