It’s August 1994 and Malia Litman is sitting at a stoplight on the Dallas North Tollway frontage road, but she doesn’t remember how she got there. She isn’t sure if she’s dead or alive, if she had just survived a stroke, or if she was suffering from amnesia.
She would later find out she was on the verge of a mental breakdown. After working as a lawyer for years and raising three children, the Preston Hollow resident was beginning to lose it.
Litman chronicles this tale in the first chapter of her third book, Evolution of the Feminine Mystique: Searching for Happily Ever After.
Her career as senior partner at one of the biggest law firms in Dallas was going well. But trying to juggle her professional and personal responsibilities was taking a toll.
“It was a perfect situation from a work standpoint,” Litman said. “But I couldn’t balance three kids and doing what I wanted for them.”
In her book, Litman touches on everything from sex to soccer moms to women she admires. But she said she hasn’t always considered herself a feminist.
Eventually, Litman decided to stop practicing law and focus all of her attention on her kids.
“It wasn’t that I didn’t love practicing law,” she said. “I did. But I also loved having kids and raising my kids, and all my kids are doing such great things right now.”
But can women have it all? Can women maintain a healthy home life while also moving up professionally?
“I don’t think we can do it all at the same time,” she said. “I think women can have kids and have a career at the same time but it’s a no-brainer to say a woman who wants to spend time with her kids can’t possibly devote the same number of hours to her job that a man or woman can. It’s not a question of woman or man, it’s a question of families or not.”
Through the years, she saw how being away from home and her family affected them, and even though she had nannies and assistants to help her along the way, it wasn’t the same as being there. She thinks she and her husband would have divorced if they continued living the way they were.
But now it’s different. Even though Litman chose to quit her law job and stay at home with her kids, while also writing, she said women should respect one another no matter what they want to do.
“We can respect women who stay at home and women who are professionals because they’re just different choices,” she said. “It’s like are you going to be a photographer or a doctor. They are both valuable.”