Working full time while being a mother isn’t easy. Add to the mix being a single mom, and the challenges multiply. But I can honestly say, I love my life. I am proud of what I do. I wouldn’t change a thing. And here’s why…
I’m a trial attorney. I represent those injured as a result of the carelessness of others. I protect and care for my clients – those injured in car crashes, property falls etc. I’m also a single mom. I protect and care for my children. My family and friends sometimes call me “momma bird”. I’m definitely the mom who is on the side of being overprotective. I am a planner. I like to who, what, when, and where. It’s obviously not uncommon for things to change, in an instant. I’ve never been great at “going with the flow”. As a mom, I’ve been forced to get better with that issue and it has thankfully transferred over to my professional life. As a trial attorney, you likewise have to be able to change plans and even strategies quickly. For a planner like me, this didn’t come easy. My first trial was very stressful for me because I had a hard time adapting when things would change mid-trial. Throw in a couple of newborns and toddlers and boom, you are forced to get better at adjusting.
I think there is a misconception, even among other mother/trial attorneys, that either the parenting responsibilities affect the career or the career responsibilities affect the parenting. I think it is easy to think that but for me, it hasn’t been the case. Sure, my kids sometimes ask my why I’m working on my computer while we are “watching a movie together” and I’m sure there are times my colleagues wonder why I have to leave in the middle of the day unexpectedly. The timing and work load issues can usually be resolved. I’m lucky in that regard. There is a level of trust, that I know I have earned, that allows me to do what I need to do with my kids. Sometimes, I’m working at strange hours of the night or morning but it allows me to do that special 2 hour field trip to the zoo with my kindergartener – a trip I know only happens once in her life.
But it is more than just scheduling. For me, it is way deeper than that. Being a mother has given me unique and special viewpoint from which to work with my clients. I of course have a deeper understanding and empathy for clients who have lost a child, have an injured child, or are hurt themselves and trying to deal with parental responsibilities. It also has taught me patience. It has taught me flexibilitiy. It has given me compassion on a level I simply didn’t have before. And it goes beyond my clients. My gut feeling, my “mother’s intuition”, has helped me countless times in depositions, hearings, and other times when I have unexpectedly had to fly by the seat of my pants. It has taught me that forceful isn’t always better. Sometimes, I get a whole lot more by putting on my “mother hat” and drawing out information that way. And of course, let’s not forget the wrath of mother bird. When I feel my clients are being attacked, I am definitely taken to a place where no defense attorney wants me to be.
My clients have, likewise, helped me be a better mother. Unfortunately, I see pain and despair frequently. There isn’t a minute I have with my children that I do not feel blessed as I know for many, those moments aren’t there. I see my clients and their families face challeneges that others don’t have to face. It helps me teach compassion, empathy, and even strength to my children. My kids know what I do for a living. As they age, I notice that they gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a plaintiff’s attorney. The understand that I help people. They understand the concept of “bullies” and that not only is it not right, but it is something you should step in and stop if you witness it. My kids understand that not everyone can fight for themselves.
So yes, I’m tired. I’m do sometimes feel pulled in many directions. I sometimes don’t know even know what day of the week it is. But I know my clients get the best representation available. I know my kids are happy, healthy, and thriving. I have come to realize that I am a better lawyer because of my kids and I am a better mother because of my clients. To me, it’s all worth it.