1999. It was the end of the century. While people partied to the artist formerly known as Prince’s song “1999”, I was busy with my career. Not only was I a lawyer, I was the Hollywood Resident Counsel at the Screen Actors Guild and the litigation supervisor. I was helping the “working class” actor get overtime or even proper meals. I was also in denial about being pregnant.
I didn’t even think about being a mother until I was hospitalized with a kidney infection and was told by my doctor that I could "loose the baby" in my 8th month of pregnancy. While I was in the hospital, I started to want to become a mother, and started writing a book to my daughter instead of working on legal briefs. After my baby girl was born, I spent four wonderful months bonding with her.
After my Family and Medical Leave Act time was up, I went back to work full-time and full throttle. I agreed Hilary Clinton's Mom philosophy - - - instead of staying at home and baking cookies, I continued to work as a lawyer. I was a member of the triple G – “Go-Girls-Gang”. The triple G girls are moms with careers who work full-time away from their children. I continued to work as a lawyer up until the day I delivered my second baby – a beautiful boy in July 2001.
On 9-11, while I was at home on maternity leave and nursing, I watched twin towers fall like a stack of lego building blocks. The devastating images are forever etched in my mind. Witnessing that day, even only on television, shook me to my core. I, like most everyone else in America, was forever changed.
When I returned to work in November, I had to fly to New York to investigate the Screen Actors Guild rerun election. I was stopped by security at the airport and targeted as a potential terrorist. Why? Because my breast pump and the wires attached to it were cleverly hidden in the big brief case I put on the conveyor belt. The TSA thought the Breast Pump was a bomb.
As a member of the Go Girls gang, I had little time for my babies. I felt like a mouse on the wheel of never ending work. In 2002, I finally made a decision. I would try to emulate a friend who was a part-time Los Angeles City Attorney who had managed to straddle her feet on two floating barrels the working barrel and the mommy barrel of life. She was a member of the “Parti-Girl” gang. Parti-Girls work part-time, or should I say, woman are paid half their salary and do twice as much by working at a job and working at home to raise their children.
I submitted a proposal outlining the pros and cons of letting allowing a part-time job and scheduled a meeting to ask the Executive Director of the Screen Actors Guild, Bob, if I could go part-time with a 50% pay cut. I was ready to join the PG gang. Bob looked at me, paused for about one second and said: “No. Working part-time as a lawyer sets a dangerous precedent. If you go part-time, then everyone would want to go part-time.” He looked down. There was no room for discussion or debate. The decision was not “personal”, it was just the reality of working in the Union and he had the final say.
I had to make a choice – my career or my kids, I chose the dangerous path which I swore only 10 years earlier I would never go down – the path of a house wife and stay-at-home mom. I left the Go Girls Gang and joined the Home Girls gang which is kind of liking going from the Crips to the Bloods.
In 2010, I had to fill out our Census questionnaire. It asked about my occupation. I couldn’t believe what I did next. I marked “Housewife”. Am I a failure? Was Betty Friedan right? Did I make the “Feminine Mistake” and give up my identity?