It is an honour to write about a typical day for me. While no two days are the same, I, like many other working parents, encounter day to day challenges. With time, I have learnt to take it all in my stride and not to allow myself to get derailed by a little glitch in the routine. There are, of course, days when it becomes incredibly overwhelming but trying to make the best of a bad situation is always the best way to approach these things. I learnt in my role as a lawyer (as things can suddenly change when dealing with a case) that you do not have the time to wallow but to find a quick solution to that which has arisen.
I am a working mum of two, a family lawyer who gets involved in the many aspects of my clients’ lives and trying to achieve the best for them in the circumstances.
My day starts at 5.30 am. After the mandatory coffee and a little reflective time, getting the kids to school and nursery without delay is always next on the agenda. More often than not, it does not quite happen that way. There sometimes is a bit of a delay – from “Mummy, I forgot my PE kit at home” to “I need the toilet” when you are just strapping them into their seats, it is all fun and games.
One of the things we often do as people is to be rigid and not allow ourselves to be flexible. When you have children, you have no choice but to reset your mind and change how you see life. You have to see life through your child’s eyes. As much as that meeting may be important and, that call may be urgent, if your child has to go to the toilet, that becomes a priority so rather than be annoyed, irritable, or frustrated, rethink your plan quickly and make adjustments.
As a lawyer, I attend Court regularly and undertake my advocacy, and there have been the rare occasions when I have been late to Court and have been honest with my clients and judges about my parental duties. It is life, and there is nothing I can do about it, so there is no point trying to fudge reality or be ashamed.
A typical day at Court for me is either early morning, noon or later afternoon start. I have to arrive for any hearings 30mins to an hour early. The time I spend at Court depends on the issues in the case I am dealing with and also the Court listing. Nothing is predictable as a straight forward case can become complicated, so it is always important to prepare for anything. To assist the Court, I would meet with the advocate on the other side to narrow the issues and see what we can agree on. Then to the Judge’s chambers if in private, or open Court to update the Court and seek directions setting out what has been agreed.
On days I am working from the office, I deal with client appointments either from new clients who seek advice regarding spending time with their children, pre and postnuptial agreements, divorce/separation and the financial implications of this or existing clients to progress their matter. My appointments are booked in hour slots to allow me some time to compose myself before the next one. I am lucky to have a fantastic secretary who can determine if a client will need more time and always ensures that the client receives the service they need.
Administrative tasks are also part of my role as a lawyer; I have to dictate letters, notes of my meetings, telephone calls with clients, emails and do my billings.
I also do some mentoring of aspiring lawyers seeking to come into the profession, as it is not an easy feat with the process being disheartening. Hosting the mentoring sessions is very close to my heart considering the struggles I went through before I got in too. I work out my diary to arrange sessions, speakers and generally organise this alongside everything else. The same applies to any speaking engagements or networking meetings that I have to attend. Again, I let my secretary in on these so that my diary can be managed efficiently.
Although the end of the day should be 4.30 pm for me, in reality, that does not happen. It is partly because I like to finish whatever I started working on so that I can have a fresh start the following day; but sometimes, it can be out of my control if I am at Court or with a client who requires support and encouragement. When I do eventually leave the office, it is to get the children, have some dinner, cuddle time and bed to do it all over again the next day.
Even though a lot happens in the day, I go back to what I said at the beginning – do not be perturbed by a change in your usual routine. It happens to everyone, and you are not a bad parent or any less of a parent for being late. I stopped feeling guilty for being late when I realised that I could not control that which I cannot change, and rather than start with a bad mood, I grin and bear it and move on.
I hope you find peace in your daily life. 🙂