Recently my husband and I attended a legal gathering with several other lawyers. My husband, being my biggest champion, so kindly promoted my freelance lawyer business (Flex Legal) to another lawyer, telling her that I was “revolutionizing” the way law was practiced in Toronto (a bit of an exaggeration, but still appreciated). She immediately asked if everyone at Flex were “yummy mummy lawyers.” My reaction was “Ugh, this again” as I involuntarily rolled my eyes and explained (as I so often do) that:
“No. It is not only mothers who want to work flexible hours. We have lawyers in our network who do not have children. We also have lawyers who are transitioning to retirement. We’ve met several men who wish to practice law in a more flexible way. But yes, I happen to have birthed a few kids.”
I probably reacted the way I did (blood boiling) as I find such terminology completely insulting, even if it was not meant to be. This was not the first time that I was called this and it unfortunately will likely not be the last. I've Googled the term “Yummy Mummy” and Wikipedia tells me that “it is a slang term used in the United Kingdom to describe young, attractive and wealthy mothers with rich, high powered husbands” and that “a yummy mummy would have several children and yet remain a ‘girl-about-town’, dressing fashionably and appearing well-groomed and carefree” while “bankrolled by a husband working himself to death in the City”.
Do people who call me (and other freelancers)"yummy mummy lawyers" think that we are just dabbling in law while being supported by powerful husbands who do the "real" work? Good grief. Having the desire to work flexibly is not synonymous with being lazy. It also does not mean that we work fewer hours (although it can) than “real” lawyers. I have chosen to have a full time practice. We do the same interesting and challenging work that other lawyers do, just in a novel and more flexible way. Freelance lawyers are not second-class lawyers for wanting to practice law differently. And we certainly are not all “yummy mummies”.
 And seriously, as if it is a shock that women can still be attractive after having kids? And more importantly, why must our looks and appearance take precedence over our professional accomplishments? Is there a male equivalent to a "yummy mummy"?
Erin C. Cowling is a freelance litigator, researcher & writer at Cowling Legal Freelance and President and Founder of Flex Legal Network Inc., a network of freelance lawyers.