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Wall Street Mothers

December 12, 2013

Luz and I have been friends for a decade now, since before we were married, before we were moms, before I left Miami, twice. We had lunch today because she is in town on a business trip, and I smiled as the two of us perched at the bar at Eataly with our coats on the backs of our chairs and our bags at our feet.

Over crudo, sea urchin and pulpo, we caught up on love, work and motherhood and how each of us reconciles them all: watching the men we fell in love with fall in love with our little girls, being that mom who has her son tested by an outside psychologist to make sure he gets into the gifted program, both loving and feeling guilty for traveling the country and even the world for our jobs and leaving the husband alone to take care of the kids. I’m fairly certain that when my husband introduced Luz and I ten years ago he never imagined she and I would be eating in a trendy New York restaurant talking about what it means to be what the New York Times calls a “Wall Street Mother” — and I’d actually be one.

Two of the women interviewed for that story are senior colleagues of mine. They are women I know and admire for their tenacity, intelligence and skill who are a generation ahead of Luz and I and have navigated an industry and a world that is changing. The women before them broke barriers. These women laid groundwork. And that means Luz and I have footing to make choices not just about what we want from our careers but how we organize our working lives.

These women make it work in part by their husbands not working. Luz and her husband have a nanny who has been with them since their first-grader was born and who now cares for their daughter in their house while Luz works from home. I’m remote one day a week, when I can be, and rely on my husband, a professor, to drop off and pick up the kids and most nights make dinner before I get home.

When we met in our twenties, Luz and I were looking ahead at our lives, not yet the wives, mothers, executives, consultants we are today. We were thinking about where we wanted to live, who we hoped to be. We chose our husbands, bought our homes, built our resumes right alongside one another, even when the life I was making took me away from the city where we’d met. Now we’re finishing up our thirties and right in the middle of achieving all we’d dreamed.

As we crept through traffic today I was struck by the comfort I found in sharing stories of our nows with Luz: the glamorous, the meaningful and the mundane. I imagined us a decade from now perched owllike in our forties: looking around at our own careers at their pinnacles, looking ahead more for our children than ourselves, and glancing behind at the amazing women we’ve managed to become.

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