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For this week’s installment of our Week in the Life of a Working Mom series, I’m happy to introduce CorporetteMoms reader P, who lives in Sacramento, CA, with her husband and two kids and works as a solo practitioner. Our usual caveat applies: Please remember that this is is a real person who has feelings and isn’t gaining anything from this, unlike your usual friendly (soul-deadened, thick-skinned, cold-hearted, money-grubbing) blogger — so please be kind with any comments. Thank you! – Kat
First, Some Basics About This Working Mom…
Location: Sacramento, CA
Job: Solo practitioner
Home Situation: I live in a large home (3,500 square feet) with my husband (works from home in tech) and our kids (Kid1: 3-year-old firecracker; Kid2: almost 2-year-old with developmental delays). The kids have their own rooms.
Childcare Situation: In-home preschool, $1,800/month.
A Week in My Life
5:00 a.m. I wake up early and try to watch Meet the Press and other Sunday morning talking heads (as many as they let me). (I have a small elected position so I need to be on top of all current events.)
7:30 or 8:00 a.m. The girls get up. I feed them breakfast while husband sleeps in.
10:00 a.m. We do an activity together as a family. Sometimes it is Costco; other times we take them to the zoo or fairy-tale town.
1:00 p.m. Get home in time for naps. During nap time, husband watches football (or takes care of yard work) and I usually plan my week out, review last week, and confirm appointments (in preparation for meeting with accountability partner tomorrow).
3:30 p.m. After nap is over, we try to take the girls to the park or get together with friends for dinner and football.
We asked how P got into local politics:
I have always been politically inclined. A few years ago, my wonderful mentor encouraged me to apply for an appointed position in the city. I did, and was appointed to the West Sacramento Planning Commission. I was invited to a lot of events in that capacity, and decided to get involved on a local level. After the 2016 election I decided to run for a set as a local delegate to the California State Democratic Party Convention. As with the national party, each delegate votes for platform, party leadership, and endorsements. Because of that voting power, elected officials meet with our delegate group and we get to ask them really critical questions. I just recently spoke to my state senator and voted against his endorsement because he has voted against single-payer healthcare (which is a policy against our state party platform). Now that was a very difficult statement to make, but I am really trying to vote according to what is right, and not what will keep me in power. I try to make this about change, not about power. I am hoping to run for other local positions with that type of reputation and just focus on doing good things.
5:30 a.m. I am up and working by then. Unless I have appearances (appointments, hearing, mediation, or deposition), I tend to work at home. I get in a couple hours of work.
7:30 a.m. I get the girls up and ready for school. My husband wakes up at 7:25 a.m., and he usually gets their drinks prepared while I do diapers, clothes, and hair. Then he gets their teeth brushed.
8:00 a.m. We scramble out the door. Kid2 has an appointment with an education specialist from the county at her school. I remind preschool. After drop-off, I meet with my accountability partner at a coffee shop for 1.5 hours to discuss our week, what we did last week, and how to improve.
3:00 p.m. Finish work.
4:00 p.m. I try to hit the gym.
5:00 p.m. Pick up the girls and get dinner going. We have an hour of playtime before bed.
Note: There are many occasions where my younger daughter has doctor’s appointments of some kind. I schedule them for 4:00 p.m. and take her and skip the gym a lot of the time.
We asked P about how she started meeting with her accountability partner:
I was part of a larger local moms in business group, and two of us branched out and started our own meetings each Monday instead. We both use the Passion Planner, which forces us to pre-plan our weeks and goals. Having Amy and our Monday meetings has been instrumental in my success and ability to be mindful with my time. She is in real estate. I recently started having case list meetings with another attorney. We meet once a month. That has been helpful as well, since she and I can discuss strategy and litigation deadlines.
Same morning routine.
9:30 a.m. Case management conference downtown for three cases. Work the rest of the day at home.
3:00–5:00 p.m. On Tuesdays, I take Kid2 to her physical therapy appointments across town. My husband works during that time but will take her if I have an unavoidable conflict. I get back in time to pick up Kid1, and take both girls home and start dinner. Kid1 is a vegetarian by choice, and Kid2 hates carbs. I make Kid2 dinner while my husband prepares something for Kid1. Usually Kid2 is done eating before Kid1 even starts. We take the girls for a walk if it is still daylight outside. Otherwise, we read books and play together for an hour.
7:30 p.m. Bedtime for Kid2
8:00 p.m. Bedtime for Kid1, and I start preparing dinner.
8:30 or 9:00 p.m. We eat and then watch a show on Netflix.
10:15 p.m. I go to bed and husband watches TV in bed.
Same morning routine. I appear at a full day of appointments, deposition, or mediation. My husband is on kid duty since I won’t be home on time tonight. I may have to attend a political fundraiser or meeting with a candidate in the evening tonight, if I get out of the other obligation on time. I pick up dinner on the drive home, around 9:00 p.m.
7:15 a.m. I end my morning work block because my husband has an early conference call, and take on both kids this morning. Drop girls off, get home in time to work.
10:00 a.m. Kid2 has an appointment with the County physical therapist, so pick her up, bring her home for the appointment, and drop her back off.
2:00 p.m. Have a meeting with other delegates with a political candidate seeking an endorsement for statewide office. Attend meeting. Go home and change into mom clothes.
4:00 p.m. Take Kid2 to her physical therapy appointment. Husband makes dinner tonight so I can get some admin work done for my business. Prepare for the weekend by wrapping gifts for kid party this weekend, and wedding Saturday. Leave everything by the door.
Regular morning routine. Meet with local business owners for lunch OR attend Rotary club meeting. Once a month, I sit at a coffee shop and reflect on the last month and plan deadlines for the upcoming month. There are a lot of soft deadlines that need to be worked in with the hard litigation deadlines, or cases never get moving. I also return client calls on Fridays, call intakes, and update my case files. Friday afternoon, I run errands to prepare for the weekend (hair, nails, Target, grocery store), and try to schedule Facebook posts for my business page (for the following week). I pick up Kid2 for her doctor’s appointment (she has physical therapy at three different locations in one week — yes, you read that right). Pick up Kid1 on the way home. Regular dinner routine for the kids. Maybe start a movie but still maintain bedtime. Husband usually makes a steak for dinner while I prepare for the weekend (lay out matching outfits for the girls, pack diaper bag, fold laundry).
P had this to say about working for herself:
I feel like I am always working, but I also feel like I am never working. I love representing clients that I choose and like. I litigate and represent my clients zealously because of how passionate I am about them/their facts. It is much more motivating to do good work when you believe in what you are doing. That transfers to my political work as well. I can only have my hands in all of these pots because I answer to no one and create my own schedule. I almost always drop off and pick up my girls and rarely work during time I could be spending with them. Sometimes that means I wake up really early to work (like through the entire Christmas holiday break) and work nap times, but I have the ability to do that because I am self-employed. My girls know that my work is very important to me, but they also know that they are very important to me. I never have mom guilt (honestly, I never have). I think that is because of how passionately I feel about my cases, the policies I push forward, and also I have the girls in a great preschool.
7:00 a.m. Today, husband sleeps in. (This used to be a big deal, but it is not anymore since I decided to be an early person and work every morning. I used to be furious that he never woke up early with the kids. Now I just don’t feel as guilty about leaving him alone at night during political events.) I try to get some work done while the girls eat their waffles. I text with my friends all morning while he is in bed. The girls watch Trolls or we go play outside in the backyard playground for awhile. 10:00 a.m. Husband wakes up and drinks coffee while I feed the girls a snack. He whines about making himself breakfast; I ignore it.
11:00 a.m. Go to a kid birthday party.
1:30 p.m. Bring the kids home to nap. My brother comes over to watch the girls so we can get to San Francisco for a wedding for my law school best friend.
4:00 p.m. Check into the hotel, get ready and at the event by 6:00 p.m. Have a pretty fun (wild) much-needed night out.
Wake up by 8:00 a.m. and on the drive home by 10:00 a.m. Home at noon and the girls are napping. My brother hangs out for an hour and then leaves. We unpack and try to get the house in order before the kids wake up. Then do one fun activity, dinner, and bed.
Thanks so much to Reader P for sharing a bit of her life as a working mom! Readers, what’s your biggest takeaway from her week of work as a solo practioner, as well as her general work/life balance?
Stock photo via Stencil.