Jan Turner, author of the article The Choices We Make, featured on Womenetics, writes about women’s decisions regarding “careers, kids and marriage,” and states that “…since many of the most important work/family decisions are made when you are in your 20s, chances are that you will still be dealing with the repercussions 40, 50 or more years later.” The article focuses on the following choices:
- The Choices We Make: Careers and the Kid-Free Woman
- The Choices We Make: No Kids, No Regrets
- The Choices We Make: The Not-Now Mom
- The Choices We Make: The Have-It-All Woman
- The Choices We Make: Working Mom and the Stay-at-Home Dad
- The Choices We Make: A New Model for Accommodating Mom
- Tips for Making the Choice
Well, we might be biased, but we have to say our favorite category is “A New Model for Accommodating Mom,” which highlights Montage Legal Group:
The Choices We Make: A New Model for Accommodating Mom
Attorneys Erin Giglia and Laurie Rowen responded to the challenges of combining careers and children by creating Montage Legal Group, LLC. Established in 2009, the Irvine, Calif., company now has a freelance network of 46 women attorneys, all of whom went to top universities and held positions with large, prestigious law firms before deciding to have children.
Moms with Montage are independent contractors, working part-time from home while also attending to the needs of their families. Giglia says that, altogether, the network now has more than 70 children, all of whom are welcome in the office and at Montage’s kid-oriented parties.
Giglia says that she was 29 when she decided to have both a work and family life. It all turned on a single question, “Do I want to be a mother?”
“Once I knew that the answer to that question was ‘yes,’ I knew it would be up to me to figure out how to make it all work.” She doesn’t consider career to be any sort of impediment to raising healthy kids. “There is a full spectrum, from full-time stay-at-home moms to 80-hours-a-week-plus working moms. And they are all capable of having happy families and well-adjusted, happy kids.”
Montage co-founder Laurie Rowen, who was 27 years old when her first child arrived, says she started a family very early compared to most women lawyers. “I chose to have children about a year after I was married, knowing it was not necessarily the best choice for my career, but it was the best choice for my family.” She adds, “I specifically chose not to wait until I was ‘ready’ in my career to have children, because I knew that day might never come.”
Rowen and Giglia say that the soul of Montage is its commitment to working mothers. “Working part-time during motherhood doesn’t only impact the culture of Montage – it is the entire premise on which we base our group,” Rowen explains. The camaraderie, understanding and support of other working moms are the reason women are attracted to Montage, she says.
In addition to offering the support of other working moms, the Montage model also helps women overcome the stigma and costs of dropping out of work completely. “We hope our group keeps women lawyers in the workforce or brings them back into the workforce after taking time off to raise their children,” Rowen states.
The article also highlights the new Orange County Bar Association Committee, Mommy Esquire, in the “Tips for Making the Choice” section:
Get support from other women. Giglia and Rowen, in addition to finding support at Montage Legal, say they really benefit from “Mommy, Esq.,” a new committee of the Orange County Bar Association. “I have learned so much from other lawyer-moms on everything from time-saving apps to how to put healthy meals on the table,” Giglia says.
Author, Jan Turner
Jan Turner lives and writes in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia. For more than 20 years her articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, New York Post, USA Today Magazine and the Christian Science Monitor as well as on wire services in the United States and abroad. Turner has written on subjects ranging from leadership and business culture to diversity awareness and faith-based organizations, and she has a nonfiction book underway. Turner has an advanced degree in intercultural communication and has traveled solo on many continents, exploring cultures from Ladahk and Sumatra to Malawi and Turkey, seeing first-hand the contributions and resilience of women.