New Mother, New Lawyer, New Regular: My Battle To Discover Success In A World Pandemic

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Ed. word: That is the newest installment in a collection of posts on motherhood within the authorized career, in partnership with our associates at MothersEsquire. Welcome Katie Reed to our pages. Click on right here in case you’d prefer to donate to MothersEsquire.

Your first yr as an affiliate is difficult, and there’s no query that being a brand new mother comes with sleepless nights and fixed stress. However being a first-year affiliate, a brand new mother, and enduring the COVID-19 pandemic concurrently was a trifecta I by no means anticipated.

My 2020-2021 seemed like this:

  • March 2020 — I left legislation faculty for spring break and by no means bodily returned to the constructing.
  • June 2020 — I gave delivery to my son.
  • August 2020 — I began my last semester of legislation faculty.
  • December 2020 — I “graduated” legislation faculty, with no precise commencement.
  • February 2021 — I sat for the UBE Digital Bar Examination.
  • March 2021 — I began my job as a supervised affiliate.
  • Might 2021 — I used to be admitted to apply legislation.

After juggling legislation faculty, a child, working part-time, and finding out for the bar examination, I truthfully believed that my life would get simpler in 2021. I wasn’t ready for simply how exhausting being a brand new mother and being a brand new affiliate can be. I felt blindsided. Certainly I needed to be doing one thing unsuitable as a result of nobody else appeared to be struggling like I used to be.

We stay in a society that communicates the facade of everybody having these excellent lives. The stress to be a mother who has a clear residence, full-time job, dinner made each night time, by no means misses their youngster’s exercise, and all the time has it collectively is actual. The stress doesn’t cease there both.

As a first-year affiliate, there may be inner {and professional} stress to show your value as an lawyer. To “pay your dues” as a first-year affiliate you’re speculated to be the primary to reach and the final to depart, work extra hours than anybody else within the workplace, do all of the authorized analysis, and write each transient, oh, and seamlessly alter to the apply of legislation throughout “COVID instances.” I’ve been a licensed lawyer for six months, and due to COVID I’ve but to go to a single docket name. What I had anticipated my life as a brand new lawyer can be will not be the present actuality.

I had set these requirements for myself to be the mother who had all of it collectively and the first-year affiliate that did all of it. The unattainable requirements I had set for myself made me really feel like a whole failure in all elements of my life.

I’ve come to comprehend I’ll by no means be the “excellent” mother, and I’ll by no means be the “excellent” lawyer. However I may be the right model of myself. I’ve began a journey of redefining what success actually is for myself and giving myself grace as I attempt for fulfillment.

These are the 5 issues which have helped me:

Discover Your Battle Buddies

Top-of-the-line issues I’ve performed on this journey is insisting on doing lunch with an opposing lawyer. By way of our work conversations, I realized that she was additionally a brand new lawyer and a younger mother. That one lunch date has became a friendship and assist system. Having somebody to be your “battle buddy” and undergo the trenches with you helps put a actuality test in your measures of success. You aren’t alone. Search for associates or acquaintances who can relate to your struggles. Invite them for lunch, espresso, or a play date. Share your struggles and be trustworthy about your journey.

Ask for Assist

You aren’t a failure for asking for assist. I hate asking for assist. Within the midst of one in all my many breakdowns, I lastly got here to phrases with the truth that needing assist will not be a foul factor. Infants get sick and attorneys can’t all the time be versatile. It’s okay to ask another person to observe your sick youngster or take them to the physician as a result of you may’t get away. It’s okay to ask one other lawyer to cowl for you as a result of one thing has come up at residence. Asking for assist doesn’t make you weak, the truth is, it offers you power.

Be Variety To Your self

Don’t beat your self up. Regularly my sink may be overflowing with dishes, my laundry piled up on the ground, toys are thrown throughout the home, and my son is consuming Froot Loops for dinner. I want greater than something that I might hold an ideal residence and achieve all of my work duties, however as a substitute of beating myself up, I attempt to be gracious for what I can accomplish. It’s so simple to see the belongings you aren’t doing and never see all that you just accomplish. Be gracious with your self. Take the time to calm down even when you’ve got dishes to do. The checklist of to-dos by no means ends, however being deliberate in the way in which you care and consider your self can forestall burnout or a breakdown. And in case you do have a breakdown, that’s okay too. Take the time it is advisable get well and hold striving for your measure of success going ahead.

Set Your Boundaries

Saying no may be exhausting, particularly when it’s your new boss it’s a must to say no to. Everyone knows that work-life stability is essential to cut back stress and forestall burnout, however discovering that stability may be tough. Honor your loved ones commitments, and unplug from work when you find yourself residence. By respecting the time you may have dedicated to your loved ones and standing agency within the boundaries you may have set, you take steps to attain a greater work-life stability.

Be A Cheerleader 

Encourage others. The one manner we will make a distinction and alter societal views is by encouraging these round us to search out their very own measure of success. Being a mother and being an lawyer is difficult. It’s okay that it’s exhausting! Don’t downplay or discredit your expertise. By sharing our struggles and inspiring others that they don’t seem to be alone, we’re working to alter how society defines a “good mother” or a “nice affiliate.” Struggles and failures don’t make you any much less profitable. Usually, they make you a stronger particular person.


Katie ReedKatie Reed is an affiliate lawyer at McMahan Legislation Agency in Chattanooga, TN. She is a plaintiff’s lawyer specializing in private harm and employee’s compensation instances. She is a loyal spouse and blessed mom to at least one son, two canines, and a cat. When she will not be at work or chasing round her toddler, you will discover her behind the lens of a digital camera or studying a very good guide. You possibly can join along with her on LinkedIn or electronic mail her at katiereed@mcmahanlawfirm.com.

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