The Starting Line for Working Parents
Lessons for newbies to make their lives less stressful and more enjoyable
By Jennifer Ashmore
When my first son was born I knew nothing would ever be the same. How could it be? This little person became my whole world and my heart was now wiggling around outside of my body. My concern turned toward how to be a mom and a lawyer.
I read countless blogs on how to be a working mom. I wasted so much of my maternity leave worried about what life would look like when I squeezed back into real clothes and the real world and began both roles.
Now that I have had a few years of practice being a working mom, I can share some of the lessons I learned along the way with my fellow new lawyer moms (and dads!).
1. Be open to the care of you. This is my number one piece of advice. You cannot be the last on your list of things to take care of. You must eat healthy meals, hydrate, sleep, and recharge. These things are not selfish or unimportant; they are essential to functioning. I missed this message and made myself so sick I ended up in the emergency room. Make yourself a priority.
2. Be open to flexibility. This idea did not come easy to me. I like structure, but that oftentimes does not work with a baby. My schedule and routine changed constantly. I went to work at 4 a.m. and left after lunch. I worked from home between naps. I had to be open to the fact that every day would not look the same. My advice to you is to think outside of the box on your work schedule. Maybe you work part time, from home, or longer workdays on weekends. It is not always fun to work odd hours, but it’s only for a short season.
3. Be open to change. After my second son was born, I struggled to find balance and joy while working at a litigation firm. My husband suggested I join his law firm. That adventure seemed amazing and terrifying all at once. However, I faced that fear, and my own firm gave me more flexibility and the best of both worlds. For you, new opportunities may look different. Be open to new jobs, new schedules, new roles—whatever it may be. If you told me seven years ago that I would have my own law firm and would be sitting in the school pickup line to get my now second grader and kindergartener, I would have laughed at you. I didn’t think I had what it takes to be successful at running a law firm and being a mom. However, with courage, faith, and love it is my reality.
To my fellow working moms (and dads), embrace the messy and the beautiful and hug those babies because the ride is going way faster than I could have ever imagined. TBJ
JENNIFER ASHMORE is a partner in Ashmore & Ashmore in Rockwall. Her practice includes criminal defense, insurance defense, and personal injury. Ashmore’s favorite role is mom to Matt and Michael.