Ketanji Brown Jackson Makes Remarkable Admission

Nominee admits she didn't always get the balance right on career and being a mom
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2022 12:03 PM CDT
Ketanji Brown Jackson Makes Remarkable Admission
The family of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson listens during her confirmation hearing Monday. From left, husband Patrick Jackson, daughter Leila Jackson, and daughter Talia Jackson.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

In her opening statement this week to senators, Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson made what Michele Norris of the Washington Post views as a "remarkable" admission. Addressing her two daughters seated behind her, the 51-year-old judge said: "I know it has not been easy as I have tried to navigate the challenges of juggling my career and motherhood. And I fully admit that I did not always get the balance right. But I hope that you have seen that with hard work, determination, and love, it can be done." The sentiment surely resonated with moms everywhere, writes Norris, as Jackson spoke of missing recitals because of judicial hearings she had to attend instead. It was especially powerful because she delivered it in a hearing room full of men who "probably never figured out the schedules for snack week, music lessons, or dental cleanings."

That women struggle with work-mom balance isn't exactly a secret. "Women everywhere, whether they work outside the home or full time at home keeping it all intact, wrestle with the concern that the idealized standard of motherhood might be just beyond their reach," writes Norris. "But here's the thing: They rarely say that out loud." Instead, they usually put forward a false image of perfection and uber-efficiency. That's what made Jackson's very public acknowledgement so important, writes Norris. By "speaking honestly about the challenges of navigating career and motherhood, Jackson has made her own contribution to the arsenal of truth," she writes. "Women need to chip away at the ridiculous idea that motherhood is an exercise in perfection." She hopes it gives other moms permission to cut themselves some slack. (Read the full column.)

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