On the surface, it may not seem obvious that being a lawyer is good training for motherhood.
There are, after all, some obvious differences. Last time I checked, it was an unwritten rule that as a lawyer you should change out of your pyjamas before noon. You should also probably shower before starting your workday. These are entirely optional if you are a new mom.
Then there’s all those diapers and the nursing. When you first have a baby you may nurse upwards of eight hours a day. (Yes, you read that right.)
Finally, there are some significant salary differences. Babies, after all, rarely cut cheques.
Despite all that, I’ve found that my legal background often comes in quite handy on the journey that is motherhood — and that there are indeed similarities between the two.
Take studying, for example. I was embarrassingly obsessive about trying to get into law school. I wrote like a million practice LSATs, took prep courses and even got a smart law student friend to tutor me. Hi, my name is Christina and I am a nerd.
As my due date approached, I figured I owed it to baby Archer to study for being a new parent at least as hard as I’d studied to get into law school. So I read pretty much every blog out there (love Dooce.com), found all the good parenting websites (thank you BabyCenter.com) and read the important books (Baby Whisperer you rock). Folks, I even took notes. Not that parenting always goes according to textbook, but at least I don’t get as freaked out as I imagine I would otherwise.
Next similarity: a demanding client. My career has taken a meandering path from the corporate litigation department at Torys to Telus, where I’m now on maternity leave from my cool job in new media/content business development. But I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to be a first-year associate at a Bay Street firm where it was a ridiculous badge of honour to brag about how late you worked. (“Dude, I like slept on the floor in my office last night.”) I now sometimes find myself channelling that associate. It’s usually when I’ve had only four hours of sleep, grabbed while the baby naps and in between trying to nurse, change diapers, start preparing dinner, do laundry and book Archer’s next doctor’s appointment. But hey, sleep is for wimps! And for non-lawyers!
This little client of mine is, without question, a demanding one. But he’s a client who rewards in ways I never thought imaginable. And that, somehow, makes it all worthwhile.
Read Christina’s guest blogs Tuesdays in December here at lawandstyle.ca