11th of April 2019 | Geri Palmer
Within the office here at Law Staff, there are 46% of us who are parents, “Working Parents” is often thought of as topic that is swept under the carpet along with the copious amount of Cheerio’s! Balancing a career alone is a challenge; throw in a partner, pilates, a house and a couple of kids and it suddenly becomes an overwhelming mission.
I find it truly inspirational how the legal industry have empowered women in their community and mothers by creating a support network for female lawyers, influencing mothers by encouraging them to make courageous career choices whilst facing the daily trials of parenting! That being said, we must not overlook all the resilient fathers out there who are holding the fort with us or fronting parenthood alone – all parents should be celebrated for their devotion and strength, especially when faced with a toddler during an emotional storm.
Many of us are juggling parenthood with work by choice and yet we set ourselves crazy high standards. It’s like we are competing to be parent of the year whilst being the best we can be in our professional lives, who’s judging? Certainly not us! We have to remind ourselves that we are only the second generation to deal with the pressures of work whilst raising children. I think it’s fair to say that we are all still fairly new to this concept and therefore the struggles are real. Many firms are now taking on board flexible working hours to suit that family/work life balance which we all desire.
“Why would you want someone else caring for your child?” “Childcare costs are so hideously expensive” Are just one of the few arguments I hear bellowing over the school gates, well I think it’s about time we give ourselves a break and give ourselves credit. In actual fact, we are giving our children such a wonderful and colourful life. Our children are not suffering, the childcare offers great social experiences and forest school activities, yes, it is expensive, but we must weigh up all the benefits for the family. In fact, it makes us schedule in concentrated quality family time which means we are more present when spending time with our children. They benefit hugely from having our full attention when it is scheduled in rather than us just being there in the room, head hung over laptop - quality over quantity.
As a working parent you can expect those days to be unquestionably sleep deprived and for the weekends to get zapped up with catching up with the mammoth mountains of laundry – oh the joys! What I really struggle to comprehend is that no one lives in our house for the best part of the week, so why it is such a mess come the weekend? Do you ever wonder, are more people living here that you know nothing about? By the time the week routine starts over, and you think it’s all in order and running smoothly, you get that fretful phone call that your kids thrown up in PE! Take a deep breath….it is going to happen to most of us at some point in time.
What the working parent needs are “life hacks” so plan your working day, maximise your work production so that you don’t end up taking it home with you, leave it at work so that you spend time with those delicious little people. Divide and conquer when it comes to chores, get your kids earning their pocket money, not only will it help you out massively, but it will teach them the value of money. Remember School meals provide at least one of their five a day, don’t feel guilty when you pass them that box of cheerio’s for dinner once in a while! Do your grocery shopping online, we have the power at our fingertip peeps. If you are cooking a healthy meal, freeze half for next week and then cook twice as much, half as often! Schedule fun family time so that it doesn’t get missed off the “to do list” as you are working to live, not living to work…Enjoy the weekend.
With this year marking the First 100 years of “women in law” - following the passing of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 – let’s take a moment to think of all the working mothers in the legal industry – here’s to you and the next 100 years!