There was an article sometime last year on ScaryMommy that was called “Lawyer Moms are the Scariest Moms.” I remember reading it and thinking- oh yes, lawyer moms CAN be scary! However, I prefer to think of how my career as a lawyer and my role as a mom complement each other; more specifically, how being a lawyer really prepared me for my job as a mom!
Here’s some things about being a lawyer that have paid off well in my role as a mom:
I question everything
Whether the advice of a pediatrician, the guidance from a teacher, the reasoning of the PTA for making a decision — I’m a trained interrogator (just kidding) and issue spotter, and I ask a lot of questions! I also know how to track down some good old fashioned BS in answers, and am not hesitant to ask the same question another way or call out an insufficient answer.
I imagine when my kids get to be teenagers, this skill set will be even more valuable. To me, that is. I doubt they’ll agree.
I’m a fierce advocate for my children
I will never be the mom that does all the things for her children; I believe in the value of letting them fight their own battles and learn their own lessons. However, when I need to go all mama bear, I have no hesitancy in doing so. In April when we were returning from Orlando, my son was having some issues during the descent, causing him to be in some pain and leading to tears. A woman in the seat in front of him felt it her place to turn around and scold him. You can rest assured that I went all sorts of “oh no you didn’t” on this clearly out of line woman, and then took the opportunity to use it as a teaching moment for my son. Strong oral advocacy skills have always been part of my personality, but law school and lawyering really helped to refine them.
I’m driven to be the best mom I can be
The grit and grind of law school unleashes a fiercely competitive spirit within you, both with others and with yourself. While moms may have the tendency to play the comparison game, I do feel like I’ve largely stayed away from that and simply focus on being the best mom that I can be. I give myself a lot of grace in this journey, but I never stop working to be a better mom.
I’m less judgmental
As a lawyer you see some really difficult things, particularly if you work in the areas of family or criminal law. Thankfully, I’m a business attorney and work in-house, and work primarily in what I call “emotion-less law.” Nonetheless, because I’m an expert in law, I get a lot of hits for free legal services in the form of either casual questions or formal requests, and that has exposed me to some of the areas outside my specialty. Being a lawyer makes you pretty opinionated, but also less judgmental (at least for me). I find that in entering motherhood, I naturally had a bit more compassion.
I read everything, including the fine print
There’s not a single line of any document, whether on a consent form at the hospital, tucked away on the back page of an auto loan, or buried in small text in my mortgage paperwork, that I don’t read thoroughly. While this is extremely annoying to whomever is presenting me with something to sign at the time, or anyone having to wait with me, I don’t skip over anything and always know what I’m signing my family up for.
I care very little about being judged by other people
The success of my practice depends on my ability to be presented with an issue of the hour, become an expert in that area, analyze within the context of specific facts and circumstances in my company, and quickly arrive at a detailed legal and business opinion. Often times, that opinion isn’t what my business colleagues want to hear. In order to balance this role successfully, you have to learn to not be concerned about what others may think of your conclusion or advice.
This has played out very well for me as a mother. In fact, you are so constantly overwhelmed with opinions and stories from others about how you should do things, that that is part of the motivation behind my founding of this blog. I wanted to have a chance to interject my thoughts into the mix. However, to play in this space, you really have to care what other people think, but not let their judgment or thoughts about your decisions bother you. Being a business lawyer has helped me exponentially with that.
All this to say, I really think my career goes hand in hand with being a mom. Being a full time working mom of (soon to be) 3 is extremely challenging, I won’t lie. Trying to find time to invest enough at work to be successful while not shorting my littles of precious mommy time is such a tough act. While my “work/life balance” is inherently better being in-house than it is at a law firm, with less pressure on hours, it certainly is not without its pitfalls. Nonetheless, I do the best that I can every day to try to make it work for me, and that’s all I can do!