Many people from all walks of life are good mothers – “free to be you and me” and all that. But I think being a lawyer has, to some degree, given me a head-start on motherhood.
I long suspected being a mom wasn’t the romantic dreamscape that so many women describe. I don’t know why women do that to themselves and others – the truth is that motherhood can also be exhausting and stressful. I don’t know anything worthwhile that isn’t imperfect and difficult sometimes, so I’m not surprised.
But I think there are some skills that help a mom work through the less dreamy parts of the job and being a lawyer has given me some of those.
My thoughts on this:
- BS Detector – My profession has taught me, among other things, that even my own client will lie to me. I don’t take it personally, but I have worked over the years to hone my BS detecting skills. Punkie had a “great day” at day care 5 days in a row? Uh huh – I call bullshit. Nobody has a great day every day. Your kid walked by five months of age? Interesting tale, but I call bullshit, unless he’s Clark Kent. Is your kid Clark Kent? I didn’t think so. I can’t wait until Punkie starts talking because I think I’ll enjoy a worthy BS adversary.
- Advocacy – I haven’t had to advocate all that much for Punkie yet, but I’m going to be a gladiator for that toothless, melon-headed little angel. I’m suiting up right now for an anticipated issue around which classroom Punkie’s day care will move him to when he begins walking, which I expect to be soon. I threw the first volley over the wall today and am waiting to see what the response will be. If the response is not what I need to hear, then the game is on.
- Drudgery – Being a mom isn’t all smiles and adventure. A lot of the tasks around taking care of Punkie are drudgery. But drudgery doesn’t stop me. I’ve negotiated every single provision of a 211 page contract. I’ve reviewed vast quantities of documents for 18 hours at a stretch – I’m talking conference rooms full of banker boxes, each stuffed with paper (yes, I’m banker-box-discovery-old). I studied for and passed two bar exams – I studied for the second exam at night after full days/evenings of work. I took trusts and estates and federal tax law courses in law school – that’s boring WITH MATH. If you think moving all of the next-size-up clothing into a closet or picking the same toy up off the floor 1,324 times in are row are boring, well, I can do those things all day.
- Deadlines – My life revolves around a to-do list and a schedule that is revised and refreshed many times each day. Everything I do has a deadline and nothing motivates me like a solid deadline. The kid needs a meal, or larger shoes, or to go to the doctor – these are all tasks with deadlines. I can schedule the hell out of those things like a champion. On the calendar, Punkie’s things are green and they’re all marked “high priority.” Check. Check. Check.
- Sleep Deprivation – I have trained with the best when it comes to sleep deprivation. My sleep deprivation training is akin to a chef training with someone who has 3 Michelin stars, or a football player who has trained with a Heisman Trophy winner, or a race car driver who learned everything he knows from Mario Andretti. Sure, I admit to a few dark moments when Punkie was a newborn, but I feel strongly that those fleeting moments were caused by a C-section and Oxycodone. Take this week for example. Punkie woke me up almost every night this week and, each time, he was unwilling to go back to sleep (I think he’s about to have a tooth break through). But I get up and go to work and keep going and then I get up the next night and take care of Punkie. I’ll do this as long as it takes – if I need more coffee, I’ll get coffee. If I eventually go insane, so be it. It won’t stop me from crushing it again tomorrow.