“My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg
A couple days after Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away, my eight year old daughter asked me, when I was her age, what I wanted to be when I grew up. I paused and swallowed hard. I had wanted to be a doctor, but despite how well I performed in school, the more conservative environment I grew up in did not support such dreams because it was “not something that moms did”.
My daughter’s question allowed me to explain to her how lucky she is to grow up in the world we now live in where women can do anything they put their minds to, a trail blazed by none other than Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg fought for women to be treated equally not only by the law but in all facets of life. She knew women deserved a seat at the table. Thankfully other women have followed in her footsteps. It is because of these women, and the men who have accepted our right to be where we are, that I am where I am today.
I pivoted from my dream of being a doctor to pursuing a career in nursing. Although I still toyed with the idea of going back to school for years, it was hard to break from the messaging that I had heard for so long–that working and being a mother did not co-exist. I started working for a law firm as a nurse analyst and became very interested in the law. An older woman colleague of mine picked up on my interest and encouraged me to consider law school. I had finally found something I was interested in and realized how valuable my background could be to clients. However, I hesitated with concerns of wanting to start a family. I will never forget the encouragement I received from attorneys I worked with that I really could do both.
Needless to say, I ended up having my three children during law school. I interviewed for summer associate positions six weeks after I had my first child. I wondered if a law firm would take a chance on a new mother. Fortunately, Epstein Becker Green did. When I showed up for my summer position, I was pregnant with twins. As a first year, I had three children under two years old. It was a challenge but the support from those who believed I could shoulder both the responsibilities at work and home meant everything. I am beyond thankful that the change in mindset that Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought so hard to achieve made way for mothers like me to be successful both at work and at home.
Ginsburg’s mom said it best, to be a lady was to be your own person, be independent. This is what I want to impart to my daughters: There are no limits. You can be anything you want to be. Surround yourself with those who support your dreams.