Is Mentioning Motherhood a No-Go in a PS?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
MumofCad
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Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:46 pm

Is Mentioning Motherhood a No-Go in a PS?

Postby MumofCad » Sat Aug 13, 2011 12:45 am

Curious what thoughts are on this.

My personal opinion is this is ridiculous to even consider it being out-of-bounds, BUT a well-respected, tenured professor at my university recently read my personal statement and suggested rather strongly that I should not mention the fact that I am a mother in my PS.

These are the two sentences where it is mentioned (taken out of context and in almost opposite ends of the PS, which otherwise do not mention motherhood at all). This is a very rough draft. The sentences will be refined, but its more the subject itself which he objected to:


"Most importantly, I learned to balance competing passions for work, school, athletics, and family without excuse or singular neglect; a talent which eased my transition to college and set the foundation for my ability to simultaneously become a mother, doctoral candidate, and XXXXX adviser years later."

"This work alongside my transition to motherhood transformed my earlier worldview. Issues I had considered myopic preoccupations of my small childhood community, debated at times in willful ignorance to the important life and death struggles happening elsewhere, took on new significance. Beyond re-igniting a long-held passion for law, my growth emboldened me to look more closely at the way institutions in my own community serve or hinder the realization of widely held social values. While law school may seem a step away from my previous work, it is actually the natural progression of the values and interests that have driven me since my youth. Matured and open to degrees of gradation, I am now ready to tackle substantive questions of social justice in my own community."

What I am highlighting in the first quote is a set of values I learned early - and the fact that I balanced my UG work with competing in Div 1 athletics, internships, etc. (not mentioned but they will see on my resume) and the fact that while I am a non-trad - I have spent the 6 years since my UG working full-time in a senior political position while getting my Master's and PhD and having a family. My doctoral work is going to be completed on schedule, despite my 60 hour a week job that requires significant international travel.

The second quote is helping to explain why I want to move from foreign policy, back into domestic issues. I can cut it out. Its not necessary to the changing of the worldview theme. And in fact, I see that I don't really go into detail about it. Its accurate to say that my children have changed issues I deem vitally important. I always cared about educational reform and access to resources. Now that I have 2 children entering lotteries to go to good schools that will prepare them for the 21st century, I certainly have a different appreciation for the importance of reform and the immediacy of the need.

So what do you all think? Are there really adcomms that will still think I won't be committed or may be distracted in law school by my family? Unlike many female law graduates, I won't have to worry about breaks in my career because I've already had my babies...and I never took a break from my education or experienced a drop in performance. This has me intrigued. I might just write a PS about it and scrap the old one. (its not coming out by the way)
Last edited by MumofCad on Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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moopness
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Re: Is Mentioning Motherhood a No-Go in a PS?

Postby moopness » Sat Aug 13, 2011 12:49 am

Nonsense. It's absolutely fine (maybe even a plus) to mention being a mother.

ETA: OMG I HAZ 123 posts!

shoeshine
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Re: Is Mentioning Motherhood a No-Go in a PS?

Postby shoeshine » Sat Aug 13, 2011 12:51 am

You really need to stop worrying. You are a shoe in at almost every school. This is yours to lose. Don't over think the application process and just be yourself. Mentioning motherhood will not affect your application.

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emkay625
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Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:31 pm

Re: Is Mentioning Motherhood a No-Go in a PS?

Postby emkay625 » Sat Aug 13, 2011 1:07 am

I very strongly disagree with your professor. I do not think it will hurt you. If anything, it might help you.

MumofCad
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Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:46 pm

Re: Is Mentioning Motherhood a No-Go in a PS?

Postby MumofCad » Sat Aug 13, 2011 8:23 am

shoeshine wrote:You really need to stop worrying. You are a shoe in at almost every school. This is yours to lose. Don't over think the application process and just be yourself. Mentioning motherhood will not affect your application.


Oh, I'm not worrying on this score. Nor am I taking the motherhood mentions out. If a school would actually judge me detrimentally for having successfully started a family, completed a PhD, and worked a demanding job without any breaks, I doubt it would be a good fit for my study of the law. The personal statement is after all a chance to give them insight into who you are beyond your accomplishments, and to determine whether you are a good fit for their incoming class. I'm not going to misrepresent myself to them or the values I hold. In some way, you are interviewing them as well.

I was just taken aback by his comment and was curious to see what others thought.

I think it shows a definite generational divide and opens up an interesting view into the challenges that women may still face in law firm promotion. After all, name partners are from his generation, not mine.

I also think its a great example of advice you may be better off not heeding. Its great soliciting feedback broadly on your PSs, but you get such a mix of responses. Often it shows more about them than reflects on what you've done. In the end, I think you shift through it, take the constructive points but make sure you don't lose who you are in the process. People often get so caught up in the rankings and getting into the "best" school according to USNWR that they forget to consider whether its actually the best place for them to learn the law and be successful and happy. Its amazing how easily you can get lured down a path that is attractive but non-fulfilling.

I try to just keep a solid perspective on the fact that if you are honest about your desires and intentions, you will usually end up on the right track. It may not be the one others think is best or most esteemed, but it may very well be the one that is going to bring you success and happiness. No one likes rejection, but in the right circumstances it can really be a blessing in disguise.




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