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Category Archives: relationships

Advice to (New) Mom-ttorneys

congrats

Recently a friend-of-a-friend asked me for some advice since she had just both passed the bar to become an attorney as well as found out she was pregnant.

I wanted to say “congratulations” to the baby and “oh, I’m sorry to hear” to the bar passage – but instead, I came up with this list, which I hope will find its way to her somehow. I usually don’t do advice in my blog, because the only topics I’m really qualified to opine upon are either irrelevant (“don’t try to wax your boyfriend’s face”) or scientifically unsound (“you’ll get severe stomach cramps if you sleep in a crop top”). But because this woman is about to have a baby and become a work from home attorney – she wants to start up her own family law practice – I feel like I need to warn her pass on some words of encouragement.

Top 10 Advice for New Work-at-Home-Moms:

10. Flexible work arrangement = baby first, work second, and mom third. This is bad.

I’ve talked to a lot of WAHMs, moms with a flexible work schedule, moms who telecommute, and moms who own their own businesses, and they all agree – you end up working 24/7 when you work from home. Work begins to bleed and consume all of your waking moments that aren’t occupied by your offspring. Document review and phone calls are scheduled around nap times. Briefs are written late into the night, and police reports are read in bed, in the dark, so as not to awaken the ticking time bomb that is your child.

But you’ll burn out that way. What they say in parenting books about “setting boundaries” or “creating routines” needs to be applied to your work. Try something like “no work emails after 10pm” or, at least, “no squinting at client emails/texts at 2am in the dark while nursing.”

9. Expect your views on your career to change.

Assistant Branch Manager looks pretty good too.

It’s only a title.

I never expected to give up my practice, but I’ve pretty much all but done just that – and I’m much happier now than I have ever been.

Also – I never thought I would consider going back to work as a government attorney, but the temptation of great coworkers, a steady paycheck, and top benefits are extremely alluring once you have a family. Stability and good companionship are underrated when you’re a mom.

8. Also underrated when you’re a mom? Sanity.

bad day

Your attorney/mom friends will be much more sympathetic than this.

Solo practice can be very lonely, and at the same time, so can motherhood. Although I often think “ain’t nobody got time for dat,” I find myself infinitely recharged after spending time with my friends, especially attorney friends who can relate to my complaints about judges or clients or baby DAs.

Also, I used to think mom groups were dumb. I don’t know why I thought that; I just did. I now love spending time with a select group of mom friends because, again, they know exactly what I’m going through. As a new mom/new attorney, you’ll need that support from people who’ve been there, done that.

7. Be selfish.

Which brings me to being “selfish” enough to take some time for yourself. Otherwise you’ll seriously go batsh*t crazy. Right now I’m blogging this from the parking lot in front of a Skate Depot because after a day where I took Tiny Boss to gymnastics and the children’s museum and was rewarded with only a 20-minute-nap all day, I could not spend one extra second with him anymore. As soon as his dad came home, I was out the door.

I did this even though I know my son prefers I stay home with him and not his dad. It’s a developmental age thing, I’m told.

I did this even though I know that if Tiny Boss wakes up, which he is wont to do, he’ll cry incessantly for me until, well, he stops and accepts the fact that Dad is the one who’s going to give him milk and lull him back to sleep to the sounds of the Imperial March hummed in baritone.

And do I feel a little guilty for not giving my son “the best,” or at least, what he wants? Yeah, I do feel a little bad. But mind over matter, I know he is fine, and so here I am, blogging to you fine folks in my car, using stolen wifi.

6. Write down all your ultimatums – and thrown them away.

hundredpercentYes, this includes things like breastfeeding, cosleeping, baby food-making, sleep training, and anything else that has to do with parenthood.

The number one lesson I’ve learned from being a mother – never say never. Your own flexibility and open-mindedness will surprise you. Have I thought about trying the cry-it-out method with my second, still unborn child? Yes, even though a year ago I was convinced Ferberizing a kid would turn her into a psychopath, or worse, Donald Trump. Will I do it to my second, still unborn child? Probably not. But still – never say never.

5. You can’t have it all.

Nope, you can’t have it all – there will be some things that you’ll give up, even if you think now that you’ll never do it. For me, it was working out regularly – as well as regular hair highlights and manicures. Nothing like pushing a human being out of your crotch in front of a room of strangers to rid you of most of your vanity!

4. Set realistic goals and expectations.

tumblr_inline_mpa7m7vTV51qz4rgp#5 and #4 kind of go together. In all honesty, the learning curve is steep for both lawyering and parenting. You’ll have self-doubts about your abilities at both. But you’ll be fine when it comes to the mom thing, at least.

3. Get help where you can. 

In the beginning, let others take care of you. I once read that lawyers have a hard time taking physical cues from their bodies because we become extraordinarily talented at making counterarguments – especially with ourselves – and also focusing on analyzing and interpreting facts rather than listening to how we feel. For new attorney moms, my advice is to make sure to say yes to the people who want to help – whether it’s to bring you food, or wash your dishes, or to watch the kid for a couple of hours so you can take a nap. Which brings me to . . .

2. Don’t be a control freak.

perfectionist

You don’t have the luxury of being a perfectionist in your work anymore when you’re a WAHM. I can’t stress this enough.

1. Ignore everything I just said. 

For one thing, everything I’ve just written about is much easier said than done. Also, everyone will give you advice, but you’ll mostly pave your own way by finding out what works for you.

awesome

Yes, mom-ttorney, you are awesome.

And lastly, and most importantly, you will be fine at being a mom, and somehow the lawyer part will work itself out. And trust me – at the end of each day, when you look at your baby for one more time before you go to bed and wake up in two hours to make sure she’s still alive/to feed her, you’ll know without a doubt that yes, it was all worth it.

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$40, shorts, a videogame and some promises

FATHERSDAYlargerA little over a year ago, I was livid because my husband forgot it was Mother’s Day. Today, humble pie was served, since I had completely forgotten it was Father’s Day. Well, that it applied to my husband, anyways. Fortunately, he didn’t seem to know I had forgotten, or if he knew I forgot, he didn’t let on.

I asked him last night what he wanted and he said he didn’t want anything. I asked him today and got answers ranging from a videogame about an alien fungus invasion that turns people into zombies but they’re not zombies to some shorts at PacSun to . . . $40.

First off – the shorts. My husband, who can be maddeningly impractical (this is what I got for my 32nd birthday), can be just as maddeningly practical. The man needs shorts. Fine.

But really, $40? That’s all you want? Turns out the $40 was for an art tutorial video, which he already bought just 20 minutes ago. But no matter. I can certainly gift $40 . . . but this is his big day tomorrow. Isn’t it?

Biting my lip, I generously offered: “You want a day off too? Like I did for Mother’s Day? Why don’t you meet up with Vic and Tyrone and draw at Starbucks or whatever it is you guys do for hours there.” (Note: My husband is a professional artist but I swear those Starbucks sessions are a living example of the law of diminishing returns).

He just grunted.

I know he can't talk yet, but if he could, this is what he would say. Source: Pinterest

I know he can’t talk yet, but if he could, this is what he would say.
Source: Pinterest

So here is my gift, unwrappable but hopefully valuable, to both of us:

  • I will remember Father’s Day next year.
  • I will refrain from angrily judging my husband’s parenting style. I have never wanted to be a shrew or, in more modern terms, a castrating biatch. I will not say things like “watching Tiny Boss does not mean sitting there and yelling for him to come to you” or “how much TV are you guys going to watch?” I will refrain. Within reason.
  • I will be generous with my compliments. He’s a good dad. He’s a good husband, and a good man. I’ll remember this, and I’ll say it more.
  • I’ll stop rolling my eyes, even if it’s unseen by anyone. I like to think I don’t really do this anymore, but I know I have done it, just out of his view. I’ve read before that eye-rolling is a sign of trouble in a relationship and it shows the eye-roller’s contempt for his or her spouse. I don’t think our relationship is in trouble, but I certainly don’t want to be contemptuous.

lizlemoneyeroll

  • Tiny Boss has taught me patience. I will use that patience with my husband. Heck, might as well use it with everyone.
  • I’ll make better use of our time together. I will remember that these are the good old days, before they become the good old days.

Oh, and the $40, shorts and video game.

What about you? What did you get the dads in your life this Father’s Day?

Things Change After Having Kid(s)

This came up in Google images when I searched for "husband after having kids." Check out the blog I found it at - I found it pretty funny: http://evidencebasedtitsandteeth.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/wife-after-baby-a-husbands-guide/

This came up in Google images when I searched for “husband after having kids.” Check out the blog I found it at – I found it pretty funny – and on point. Source: http://evidencebasedtitsandteeth.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/wife-after-baby-a-husbands-guide/

When I got pregnant with my first, I knew my relationship with my husband would change.

It will get (even?) better, I thought. We’ll grow closer.

That was true, but I wasn’t prepared for all the other ways our relationship would change:

photo (5)

Maybe it’s time to donwload this on my Kindle

1) Sex, or the lack thereof

A friend recently told me she knew her boyfriend was going to break up with her because they went from “having sex four times a week to twice a week.” I wanted to spit out my coffee at this. You could replace “week” with “month” and she’d still be getting more than me.

I blame cosleeping in part. Also fatigue, mombod, and a lack of time for waxing.

Not in our house. You gotta strike while the iron's hot. Otherwise, the opportunity may not come again for another few decades.

Not in our house. You gotta strike while the iron’s hot. Otherwise, the opportunity may not come again for another few decades.

On the bright side, we are much more cooperative now. We’ve reached a mutual, unspoken agreement that neither person turns the other down when the rare request is made. If you’re in a desert and you come across water, whether it’s a lush oasis or a sad, tired puddle on its way to evaporating, you don’t think twice. You drink the goddamn water.

2) That feeling you get when you realize your husband is a dad

This is a good feeling. When my husband actually puts down the iPad and really engages with Tiny Boss, and the two of them are happily playing with cars or wrestling on the floor, I think of what a good dad he’s being. There’s just that special feeling that passes over you when you see your child looking at your husband with pure adoration and joy. At times like that, I know we’re doing something right.

3) It’s easier to appreciate the little things

Like eating a meal together without a third wheel. Pre-baby, if we went on a dinner date, it was a special occasion. We would get dressed up and pick a restaurant we loved or wanted to try. Neither of us thought twice about driving to LA to get the best ramen in Little Tokyo or waiting 30 minutes in line for the newest trendy food truck. The places, the company, the food all made it a special occasion.

Now? Ain’t nobody got time for that!

On Sunday, we had a breakfast “date.” It consisted of the two of us dropping our cars off for detail and wash, and then walking next door to Chik-fil-A. And you know what? It was awesome. We talked to each other, and it was for conversational purposes, not for assistance wiping down a stray hand that had found its way into ketchup or to go grab more napkins. My husband noticed this too. “It’s nice eating without someone screaming at you,” he observed. Whether the screaming person he was referencing was me or my son, I’ll leave that unanswered.