Every weekday morning, Bridget Mary McCormack, the associate dean for clinical affairs at the University’s Law School and a candidate for the Michigan Supreme Court, gets out of her Ann Arbor bed at 5 a.m. to start her day.
Her husband, Steven Croley, deputy counsel to President Barack Obama, does the same, but his bed is located in Washington, D.C.
During the week, Croley — a University alum who has taken a leave of absence from his position as a professor in the Law School to serve in the Obama administration — is based in Washington and has an apartment near the White House. Every Monday, he takes the earliest flight into D.C., and every Friday night he takes the last flight back to Ann Arbor to spend time with McCormack and their four kids: Anna and Jack, both 15, Matt, 13 and Harry, 12.
“We try very hard to make it — to kind of keep the normalcy of our lives on weekends,” Croley said. “So our weekends look a lot like they always did … we might go out to eat together or cook dinner together or watch the Lions game or the U of M game.”
For McCormack, her day continues with a procession of driving the kids to their respective responsibilities — water polo practice, high school, middle school — before settling in for another day of work at the University’s Law School. In between meetings and during the evening, she works on her campaign.
“Most evenings I do stuff for the campaign; most days I’m generally at the Law School,” McCormack said. “(If) I have a lunchtime event or an early morning event I will run to that, but otherwise I’m trying to teach my classes, supervise my students and run my programs.”
Though they’re apart during the week, Croley said family time is very important to him and his wife.
“We just try to save a little time for the kids,” Croley said. “Even though at their age they’re all busy with their independent things, we make a point to try to do something as a family each weekend.”
Both McCormack and Croley said their children are staunch supporters of their careers.
“I think our kids have found it interesting and exciting,” McCormack said. “And they’re pretty involved in the world anyway, so I think they are proud of us, actually.”
McCormack and Croley’s involvement in politics has not gone without a few perks for the kids, who have eaten meals at the White House and hung out with Bo, the Obama family’s Portuguese Water Dog.
“One of the things I’ve tried to do is make this a family project to a certain extent, giving them some sense of ownership in it,” Croley said.
Both McCormack and Croley face significant life changes in the near future, with Election Day just over a month away. If McCormack is elected, she will be forced to resign from her position as associate dean due to potential conflicts of interest if the University were to have a case before the Michigan Supreme Court. Croley will return to the University to resume his professorship later this month,
Though it may be difficult to manage a family, a campaign and a full-time job, McCormack noted that her busy schedule will soon subside as the election ends.
For now, Croley said the family is just enjoying their time together.
“It’s challenging … it has its moments, (but) we seem to manage okay,” Croley said. “We have found a family rhythm for it, found a way to make it.”