The Notorious RBG

Last week, I got lucky enough to score a ticket to see Ruth Bader Ginsberg (the Notorious RBG) speak at Hill Auditorium and she is officially my new hero. Not only was she one of 9 women in her Harvard class of over 500 and graduated top of her class, but she was an mother through it all.


There was one moment in the Q&A when she was asked about how she handled law school while mothering a small child and her answer was absolutely spot-on. I wish I had the transcript to get her exact words, but taking some liberties in paraphrasing from my memory, she basically said this:

The hours of 4pm until bedtime were mothering time, and then I would study some more. Living in these two different worlds each day was really an advantage. Each was a respite from the other.”

So honest and so exactly true to my experience.

I think many could relate to this, especially anyone who has done both kinds of parenting (stay-at-home & working/schooling) and has chosen the latter. Of course, not everyone has the luxury of these choices. But personally, having had this luxury, I think the harder of the two for me is staying-at-home. (Truly, stay at home parents are simply AMAZING at what they do and I give them buckets of credit!)

Parenting has brought SO much joy, balance, fun, and perspective, that I just can’t imagine getting through med school as a non-parent! Crazy, right?

Of course it’s tough… a kid is a giant uncompromisable commitment that sucks away seemingly endless amounts of time. But this reality helps force time efficiency (in studying and everything else) & promotes a very thoughtful and reflective process in making the difficult choices that anyone faces of how to spread the precious resource of time.

Ruth also shared one anecdote about mothering and studying. She was at the kitchen table preparing for a big exam one weekend when her daughter walked up and grabbed her leg. She looked down to find that she had a mouth full of mothballs. A trip to the hospital and a stomach pumping later, her daughter was fine. But Ruth said that this was an incredibly transformative moment for her to help put everything in perspective.

Side note: I think I have a new goal to see all the female Supreme Court Justices speak.

    Sandra & Ruth: check!

    Elena & Sonia: I’m coming after you.


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