Opinion: ACB Shows You Don’t Have to Choose Career Over Family

If presented with the option between building success in a career or starting a family, which would be the practical choice? Today’s culture can tend to lean toward the idea that one cannot have both a career and a family simultaneously. Instead, it has given off the notion that women must give up one for the other. 

Amy Coney Barrett is an exceptional example that disproves this stigma. Barrett is 48 years old and thriving in her best of both worlds. Not only has she established herself as a successful lawyer but also has a family of nine, which includes her husband, Jesse Barrett, and their seven children. She has not gone unnoticed by the public for her commitment in the world of law or her dedication as a mother.  

“How does she do it?” The simple answer is hard work and persistence. In other words, through her consistent intent, Barrett is able to successfully manage both a career and family.

In regard to her career, Barrett attended law school at Notre Dame. Ultimately, this equipped her with the necessities that helped build her career and provided unique opportunities.

Barrett’s early career began as a clerk for Judge Laurence Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She also worked alongside Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Furthering her career, Barrett practiced at the law firm of Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin located in Washington, D.C. She eventually made her way back to Notre Dame to become a professor that taught courses in the field of law.

In May 2017, Barrett was nominated by President Donald Trump to serve as a circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

In September 2020, the president nominated Barrett to succeed Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court. If she is approved by the Senate, Barrett will be recognized as the youngest justice and the first mother of school-aged children to be a part of the Supreme Court. Ultimately, her qualifications have given her the opportunity to potentially claim this position.

With great success in her career, Barrett also stepped into the role of motherhood. She currently has a household of seven children: Emma, Vivian, Tess, John Peter, Liam, Juliet and Benjamin. Her husband, who also is involved with law, helps manage the time it takes to raise a family. 

Among their seven children, five are biological and two are adopted from Haiti. The Barrett’s youngest biological child has special needs and was diagnosed with Down syndrome. For Barrett, there is no doubt that raising a family is seen as a privilege as she does everything that she can to support and spend time with them while balancing her notable career in the law.  

The balance between maintaining a demanding career and setting time aside to be an active parent can be challenging but proven to be possible. Barrett has inspired others and has made a statement by demonstrating that starting a family does not mean one’s career has to end. Instead, it pushes one to work even harder as the outcome surpasses the challenges that come along the way. 

Lauren Shank is an Opinion Writer.

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