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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 Meredith, who lives in Georgia with her husband and four sons and was working as a trial lawyer when she shared her week with us. 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: Live in Smyrna, Georgia; work in small personal injury firm in Atlanta (Here’s an update from Meredith: “Since writing this Week in the Life, I’ve opened my own law firm for more flexibility in balancing work/life demands.“)
Job: trial lawyer
Home Situation: Four kids; stay-at-home dad who homeschools the older two
Childcare Situation: Preschool three days a week for 3-year-old during school year ($2,500); homeschool co-op ($4,000)
A Week in My Life
7:00 a.m. Thankfully, everyone sleeps in until 7:00. Get up, shower, then I nurse the baby while Hubby showers, help two littles pick out church clothes, and wake two big boys up. Sunday breakfast is always “fend for yourself,” as it’s crazy getting four kids ready for church.
9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Church. Kids and Hubby stayed for lunch while I went to the office. Grab a salad on the way.
12:30–5:30 p.m. We have trial starting Monday, so my staff is all here. Last minute check of exhibits, phone numbers for witnesses, illustrations and tripods, etc. Paralegal confirms arrangements for lunch to be delivered each day. Then I circulate last draft of my opening statement for final comments. Let support staff leave at 5:30 and text Hubby I plan to head out soon.
5:30–8:00 p.m. Finalize opening argument. Revise outlines for direct exams for my witnesses. My co-counsel left at 6:00 — it’s quiet and I am productive and forget I said I was leaving shortly. Call to apologize, and finally leave.
8:15 p.m. Arrive home. Everyone is still up. Nurse the baby and put him to bed. Trial prep has been in full gear for three weeks now, and I ended up with strep in the middle of it. My milk supply took a hit and we had to start supplementing with formula. This makes me sad, but also it’s so much easier not to have to pump in my car in between depositions. And I know trial will be easier just nursing in the morning and at night.
8:45 p.m. Give my opening to the other three boys. They all agree it’s persuasive, and ask some questions. I incorporate some extra details in response so my jurors won’t have the same questions.
10:00 p.m. Go to bed and actually fall asleep. Rare for the night before trial, but I’m exhausted.
4:00 a.m. Wake up. Walk the dogs since there’s no way to go back to sleep. Do a load of laundry. Lay out my suit and get in the shower.
5:30 a.m. Baby is up. Nurse while Hubby sleeps a bit longer.
6:00 a.m. Get dressed, do hair and makeup, grab coffee, and read through opening statement again.
7:00 a.m. Head to court. Our two older boys are homeschooled, and this is our last week of school. Normally this is when I do “morning circle” with them before I leave for work — handling a loop of art, music, geography, writing, and special subjects like poetry, Shakespeare, etc. Hubby has to do this when my work schedule requires me to leave early.
8:00 a.m. Arrive at court. Grab the file boxes I was assigned and prepare to get through security. Have to take sealed deposition videos through the mailroom security.
8:30 a.m. Arrive in courtroom and begin unpacking. Two paralegals are already there and setting up as well. We travel as a team, and all three of our paralegals will be in court assisting with documents all week.
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Trial day one. I feel good about it. Call and suggest dinner out. Boys are thrilled, since weekday restaurants are rare for us. They choose Red Lobster.
7:00 p.m. Get home and finally change clothes. Nurse the baby and then head upstairs to prepare for tomorrow. Hubby puts all the kids to bed, cleans up, and switches over the laundry I started this morning. Since he does all the cooking, these are usually all my chores, but with trial he picks up the slack.
10:00 p.m. Head to bed.
Here’s what Meredith told us about her family’s decision to homeschool:
We always wanted our kids to have a classical education, but private schools utilizing that model were not affordable when our oldest began kindergarten. (I was still in law school.) He started in a local charter school and we tried to supplement public school with living books and memory work at home, but even by first grade the amount of homework and projects he was assigned made that impossible. We decided to try it for one year when he started 3rd grade, and we LOVED it. We’re starting our 5th year homeschooling next week. It works for us and offers our family the flexibility to work around my job. I had a trial when the youngest was eight weeks old, and we just packed everyone up to a hotel down the street from Court. They did lessons there during the day and Hubby brought the baby to Court during scheduled breaks so I could nurse. I had a great judge who was amenable to relatively set morning, lunch, and afternoon breaks to accommodate me. It worked perfectly and I didn’t have to pump in a courthouse bathroom or my car. Plus, we can travel whenever I’m not busy/in trial rather than during set school vacations.
2:30 a.m. Baby wakes up and is fussy. Nurse him and then am wide awake. Watch TV and try not to think through everything I did in trial yesterday. Fall back asleep around 4:45.
5:30 a.m. Wake up to alarm. Shower and get dressed. Try to eat breakfast, but stomach does not cooperate.
7:00 a.m. Leave for court instead of going to the Chamber book club I usually attend Tuesday mornings.
8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Trial. Ends a bit early since our next witness was a two-hour doctor deposition by video.
5:30 p.m. Home in time for dinner. Hubby grilled chicken and corn. Normally I meal plan and grocery shop on Saturdays, but I’ve been slacking due to trial prep. He planned this meal and shopped himself. Tastes even better that way.
7:00 p.m. Starbucks date with my bestie. She’s also my co-counsel’s wife and has been watching our trial. Co-counsel has most of the witnesses tomorrow so we go over what’s already happened and prep for Thursday. And just chat in general — which I need.
9:00 p.m. Home in time to put the oldest three to bed. Read a story, check in on their day, report in trial, and tuck them in.
9:30 p.m. Work a bit.
10:00 p.m. In bed — don’t fall asleep right away but resist the urge to turn on the TV or do more work. Eventually fall asleep.
5:30 a.m. Wake up. Hubby has been up with baby and he’s ready to pass him off. I appreciate the sleep and take the baby. Nurse him and then play downstairs, where we won’t wake anyone else.
6:30 a.m. Shower and get dressed. Do hair and makeup. Change shirt twice.
7:30 a.m. Leave later than I intended.
8:45 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Trial. We underestimated cross-exam times and are behind schedule. We were hoping to rest today, but didn’t finish.
6:00 p.m. Arrive home. Grab dinner — just peanut butter toast (my go-to comfort snack) and coffee. Nurse the baby while talking to co-counsel on the phone to revise our trial schedule.
7:00 p.m. Read aloud to the boys and then go upstairs to work.
10:00 p.m. Head to bed. Nurse the baby in bed since he’s woken up, then move him to his bed. Again, lie in bed awake for awhile before falling asleep.
11:30 p.m. Remember that I need to get a substitute for my networking meeting tomorrow morning. Text our firm’s in-house investigator, who agrees to sub, and then email her a short elevator pitch to read. Glad I have someone to call at the last minute who always agrees to help.
12:00 a.m. Back to bed. Fall asleep sometime after midnight.