Tuesday, June 28, 2011


If there's one thing I've learned in 3 years of being an attorney, mom, wife, and person who needs to spend a certain number of hours each week sleeping and reading romance novels, it's that a balance of all those things is not something that just happens.  You have to MAKE it happen- seize the moment, plan a vacation on a conference call, read your romance novel on your kindle app on your blackberry while waiting for your computer to boot up in the morning, schedule a home meeting with your husband in the middle of a slow Friday and you know, meet with him.  Individual days may not be balanced, at least not if you were to look at a black and white list of how many hours I spend wearing my various hats, but I feel that when you take a month-long view, I generally achieve a nice mix of everything (not every month, but again, on balance).

For example, after billing 10+ hours a day every day last week, I spent yesterday catching up on one million personal tasks, including planning the details of Landon's birthday party (thank you Mere and Oriental Trading Co.), planning a last-minute inexpensive summer vacation (Galveston here we come! I am ridiculously excited about going to this rather sad stretch of dirty sand in July), calling up all my student loan lenders to get my updated balances (high, still very, horribly, depressingly high), answering over 30 personal emails (sorry those I haven't gotten to yet), cleaning my desk, and entering my time.  It felt SO good.  Then today, when I realized I still wasn't getting my usual non-stop barrage of emails because all the IP attorneys were busy finalizing a brief on a very technical issue (i.e. below my non-PhD education level), I left.  It was 3:00 and I powered down my computer, made a quick stop at home to grab snacks and swim suits, picked up the kids, and had us all splashing in the pool at 3:30.  It was wonderful.  Landon was a little fish, Clairebear tried to drown herself at every opportunity (I had at least one hand on her at all times and she still managed to dunk her head completely underwater for multiple seconds, multiple times; this girl, I'm telling you), and we all had a marvelous time.  I answered about a dozen emails via blackberry, continuing my love/hat relationship with that bothersome little device, and everyone I work either didn't know or didn't care that I was sitting in 2' of water under a giant umbrella (which is really the only way to survive a 103-degree June day).

Tomorrow is going to be busier, I've already received a few emails regarding new things to do on the case, and that's just fine.  Today I spent a bonus 3 hours with my kids, made a relaxed dinner of pork tenderloin, roasted pineapple, rice, and snap peas, and sat on my couch until my butt was half-asleep. 

So balance. I picture a teeter-totter; last week I was on the down end, and this week I'm up.  Soon, I'm sure, it'll be back down again, but at least for me, the happiness of the "up" is much stronger and lingers far longer than the feelings I get on the down.


  1. The reading thing is the one that always kills me. I always get the question "How do you find time to read so much?" I don't find time, I MAKE time. If I don't read, my brain will rot.

  2. Great job summarizing how it really works. There are so many articles about work-life balance when the reality is that you just have to shove it all in wherever you can. I am taking a 7am conference call from home (with local counsel in Texas :)) while uploading photos from my daughter's first birthday party, which I pulled off with the help of a conference call trip to Partycity.com. I am glad you have slowed enough to take a pool trip--hopefully your time will normalize for a bit.

  3. Love this. Where did I read recently that their father always said, "if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it" ?? Whether you're squeezing in personal/leisure time or fitting in another project, I always find that there is something about being busy that makes me hyper-aware of my schedule and the opportunity in those 10 minute gaps that suddenly appear in a day.