I’m sitting down to right this post. My son runs up to me. My son is 21 months old. He brings me his cup. He wants “more”. More water. I get up. I fill my son’s “pup”. “Pup” is my son’s word for “cup”.
My son drinks some from his “pup”. I run payroll for the week. My son pours some of his water on the floor. I make sure he’s okay. Then I clean up his water mess. I respond to an email from a client regarding a hearing date. My son runs to go bother his big sister in the bathroom. She is screaming “Daddy…get him….I need some privacy!”
The thing is that I’m better for it.
I was a lawyer for 5 years before becoming a parent. I’ve been a parent for 4.5 years. I had a lot more time before my children were born. What I didn’t have was priorities.
Children force priorities on me.
If I get invited to join an organization, go to a networking event, or speak somewhere – I ask myself “is this worth time away from my kids?” Viewed from this perspective it makes saying “no” a lot easier. This is because saying “yes” gets made harder.
I love my children. Spending time with them is the highest of priorities in my life. So when I decide to travel to Atlanta for 5 days of seminars, I’m only doing so because I really believe there is a significant benefit to me and my clients.
When I get to work, I pack as much work into the day as I can. I do this because I pick up my kids at 5. I’m rarely in the office until 7 or 8 at night. Sometimes I am. Sometimes it’s much later. But that’s out of necessity not wasting away a work day.
I work a second shift from home. After I put the kids to bed, I usually work for about 7 to 9 or 10. I’m able to do this because I’ve built my office in a way that allows me to do this.
And there are days when kids make practicing a lot harder. One day I’m driving to court which is near my daughter’s daycare. We’re about to pull into the parking lot and she gets sick. The kind of sick you never want someone getting in your car.
I call court. I call opposing counsel. I head home with my sick daughter and wait for my parents to come over and watch her for a few hours so I can argue a motion. Tough morning. Can happen any morning.
Practicing law is hard. It is hard in part because your client’s problems become your problems. Its obligations are not for the meek.
But more than anything having children has helped me prioritize everything. Clear priorities beget efficiency.
My son loves “Uptown Funk”. He dances around like Bruno Mars. Well like a two year old trying to dance like Bruno Mars. It’s great. Time for an “Uptown” dance party.
How has becoming a parent changed your practice? I’d love to hear your story in the comments below.