WAKE UP WEDNESDAY – Combating Negativity

The beautiful thing about setbacks is that they introduce us to our strengths.

Robin Sharma

So, the inspiration for #WakeUpWednesday is that over the past week or so, because of a tough couple days at work, I’ve managed to find the dark spot in every day. In a world that’s filled with so many beautiful people that love and support me and in a lifetime where I am on the way to actualizing amazing work- and home-lives, I managed to find the few super negative moments in every day, and I let them overwhelm me. I’ve lost sleep, told myself that I’m at my breaking point, and experienced so much anxiety that I actually started stressing out my husband and friends.

Perhaps it’s bad business to admit this, but, for the past few days, I was a full-time lawyer, mom, maternity & life coach and “Negative Nancy.” In addition to all of this, I am also a full-time human, and I experience setbacks in my life’s journey just like everyone else.

They say the first step to healing is admitting you have a problem, right? So…

Hi, my name is Lisa Marie, and I had a horrible Monday and Tuesday because of a really negative attitude. And, my focus hasn’t been on the beautiful things in my life because I let a couple tough days overwhelm me.

There, it’s out there. I feel so much better.

I am making a #WakeUpWednesday commitment to doing the following things for the rest of the week:

  1. Practice Self Love. I’ve been pretty hard on myself this week. I haven’t been showing myself any compassion for the many responsibilities that I have and how well I’m able to manage them all. I haven’t been thanking my mind and body for how strong it is to be able to persevere through so many of life’s obstacles and still come out on top. I’m going to stop that today. I’m going to tell myself how thankful I am for being me. I am going to really love every part of me because I deserve so much more than what I’ve been giving myself this week.
  2. Be More Present. I’ve sort of been “asking for my check while eating my appetizer” this week, if you catch my drift. I’ve been stressing over things that could possibly or would maybe happen based upon future actions that I may or may not take. It’s exhausting. Starting today I am going to live in the present, free of the thousand “what ifs” that I could conjure up.
  3. Do My Best and Know It’s Enough. Sometimes my best is sending out perfect e-mails, having perfect client interactions, and being a supermom. Sometimes my best is that I put on pants today and managed to make a cup of coffee. Whatever it is for the rest of the week, I am going to do my best at every moment and know that it’s enough. I am only one person, and I can only do my best.

There are so many wonderful people in the world doing wonderful things, and all we need to do to find them is to open our eyes and our hearts to the world around us. You are all wonderful, amazing, and accomplished people with lots and lots of responsibilities on your plate. There are going to be days where you don’t feel great about yourself. And, there are going to be days where you’re overwhelmed and questioning whether you’re at your breaking point and you’re doing the right thing.

Be kind to yourself. Open your eyes to the beauty in your life. Give yourself a moment to bask in your accomplishments. Think about how strong you are to be able to manage all of your responsibilities and still find love in your heart and time in your schedule to raise your wonderful families.

I admire all of you.

With Love,

Mommy, ESQ.

Share your struggles or achievements with us by using #WakeUpWednesday on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

Have you experienced a setback this week? Do you need to refocus?

Release your struggles in the comments section below!

Mommy, ESQ. is here to help.

Climbing the Maternal Wall

“It’s alienating, in no uncertain terms, to have to sit through a panel designed to be about women in technology and instead have it derailed by the seemingly interminable myth that when we want to talk about being a woman in tech, what we’re really saying is that we want to talk about being wives and mothers with day jobs in the technology industry.”

Lauren HockensonDreamforce’s ‘Women’s Innovation’ panel is why we should stop babying female CEOs

Think for a moment…

How would you feel if you were invited to speak on a panel for accomplished women and the topics of conversation included how many children you have, as well as patronizing, unhelpful questions about how you make it work as a career mom?

From what I can tell of Lauren Hockenson’s articlea good portion of you out there would feel small, unimportant, and angry

Why bother working as hard as we all do if we aren’t going to be taken seriously?

And, how can we change the conversation?

The first step to conquering any challenge is to understand what you’re up against. So, I spent a few hours researching others’ experiences and searching for a theory that explains this type of discrimination. I now understand that many of us come face-to-face with a “maternal wall bias. We might not be denied jobs or promotions on the basis of our being mothers anymore, as in Phillips v. Martin Marietta Corp. (400 U.S. 541 (1971)). But, we do endure subtle comments and “harmless” jokes, missed invitations to work events because we’re moms and “probably wouldn’t want to go,” and the like, all of which are designed to let us know our place in the workforce as mothersMany of our employers are defining our career trajectories in this way, and it’s based upon the fact that we’ve given birth to and are raising children.

When I founded Mommy, ESQ., I resolved that I would not be another voice on the Internet complaining about the “nature of the system” or asking you to accept the world as it is. It was my intent to open your eyes to the truth of the world around you and empower you to look at your challenges as temporary inconveniences to be overcome. In that spirit, I implore you to do any of the following to combat the “maternal wall bias” and create a better work environment for yourself:

  1. Talk to someone you trust.  Turn to your husband, your mom, your friend, youmentor, whoever, and explain to them what has been going on. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have the tendency to react in the moment (or shortly thereafter) by blaming yourself and minimizing how these comments affect youYou’ll first think: This is my fault. I need to work harder. must be overreacting. They really don’t mean that, I’m just overly sensitive. It was just a jokeYou need to understand that you didn’t do anything wrong—you weren’t wrong for having a child, you aren’t wrong for prioritizing that child, and you aren’t less of an employee for being a mother. You might not be able to recognize that while facing this form of prejudice, and speaking with someone outside of the situation can help you to see the value in yourself and recognize it for what it is—subtle, multifaceted, and deep-rooted issue with our work environmentMoreover, that person, being an outsider to the situation, will likely give you a different perspective on it all and offer unfiltered advice on your next steps.
  2. Let your superiors know you’re uncomfortable.  It doesn’t need to be in the moment. It doesn’t need to be a spectacle. It can be one, small comment that you’re uncomfortable. Set a boundary for yourself. Draw your line in the sand.
  3. If all else fails, talk to someone at your place of employment.  It would be hard for me to give you advice on whom to have this conversation with. Each company, law firm, financial institution, etc., has its own dynamic, and the starting point varies from place to place. Is there someone in management at your company that you trust? Can you speak with that person confidentially about your discomfort and how to better navigate your work environment? Does your company have a women’s or diversity committee that you can speak with? Of course, you should always consider the consequences of taking this step. Depending on the content of your conversation, that person may be obligated to escalate it to HR or beyond. That’s not to say that it isn’t worth the conversation or that you should stay silent because you’re afraid to lose your job. It’s just to say that all of our actions have consequences, and you should be very clear on your desired outcome before taking this step.

It’s certainly easier to laugh and stay silent out of weakness than defend yourself out of strength, but that isn’t what the Mommy, ESQ. maternity and life coaching program is about. For you to remain silent would be wrong.

I’m taking steps to change the conversation every single day.

I hope you find the strength to do so, too.

And, of course, you can always reach out to Mommy, ESQ. to find the support you need. We are here to help you develop the best strategies for dealing with any tough situations at home or at work.

With love always,

Mommy, ESQ.

Readers, do you see a maternal wall where you work? Do your supervisors seem to define your work responsibilities by the fact that you’re a mother? Do you find that you aren’t getting the same opportunities as your male counterparts? What do you think is the best way to deal with such discrimination? Do you feel that you avoid using work-family benefits at the risk of being discriminated against by your employers?

If you feel comfortable, please leave a comment below or e-mail me at mommy_esq@outlook.com

Mommy, ESQ. wants to change the conversation for working mothers, and we’d love to hear from you.

Detoxifying Our Work World

[M]any women who started out with all the ambition in the world find themselves in a place they never expected to be. They do not choose to leave their jobs; they are shut out by the refusal of their bosses to make it possible for them to fit their family life and their work life together.

Anne-Marie Slaughter, A Toxic Work World


Thank you to everyone out there in cyberspace for reading The Docket. I feel your love and support every day, and I am so grateful to be able to offer an outlet to the many working moms that have reached out to me in connection with the Mommy, Esq. maternity and life coaching program. All of you out there are in my heart and prayers every day, and I hope that you feel the love pouring back out to you from all of us over here.

I have known for a very long time that I have wanted to give back to working mothers. Being a working mother myself, I know the struggle, intimately. I recognize all the work that it took to get me to where I am in my career—the late nights with my study groups, the endless outlining, the writing competitions, the internships, the endless interviews, the 65-hour work weeks, the client dinners, etc.—and I know how quickly I was ready to walk away from it all when I had my babies.

My story is just one of millions. It takes a strength that many of us don’t realize that we have to continue to fight for forward motion in our careers and a healthy, happy family.

The Mommy, Esq. maternity and life coaching program was born out of my desire to find a way to make it easier for us. And, I’ve found that the coaching program is very successful in bringing more clarity and focus to working mothers during their work days. They are returning home more energetic and carefree after shedding the stresses of their time at the office. They are more giving to their employers, clients and families and, perhaps most importantly, they are more giving to themselves. I love when I can witness that moment when a client “gets it,” when I can see the peace in her eyes and know that she’s recognized that she has the strength, balance, clarity and control over own happiness and destiny to achieve her best work- and home- lives. It’s amazing and rewarding and touching and transformative, and I want every working mother to have that experience.

Notwithstanding these major lifestyle improvements, however, there is one complicating factor that I have not been able to address in the program—the demands of our existing “work world.”

I wish I could tell you that the Mommy, Esq. maternity and life coaching program will make every aspect of your current life easier. That, by virtue of joining the program, you’ll suddenly find joy and success in every aspect of your life as it is, but that would be a lie. The program forces you to look at your life from a different perspective, question your beliefs and goals for your family life and career, and determine whether your life—as it is—will provide you with the family life and career that you’ve always dreamed of. And, the reason for that is that many employers elevate “quantity of hours worked over quality of the work itself” and define “work” as something that “happens ‘in an office,’ and/or ‘between 8-6,’” to quote this week’s New York Times opinion by Ann-Marie Slaughter. Many employers simply are not willing to bend and provide working mothers with the ability to work more flexible hours or from their home offices or outside of the traditional “billable hours” model.

As a result there often comes a point in the program where my clients need to decide whether their current career path will achieve their highest and best life. They ask themselves whether it would be better for them to be a stay-at-home mother for a time. They explore career postings at law firms listed in the 50 best firms in the country for working mothers. They request to work part-time or balanced work schedule and contemplate their employers’ responses to such requests.

I’ve been working tirelessly to come up with an answer that allows my clients to stay where they are and find their bliss—their best life—without a major “life overhaul” and without needing to confront these very difficult and often unsettling questions. I’ve been searching for a simple answer, a practice or technique, if you will, to provide. And, I’ve been labeling myself as unsuccessful for not being able to find one. That is, I labeled myself as unsuccessful until I read Ann-Marie’s opinion.

The simple answer is this…We just need to keep doing what we’re doing.

As we question what’s right for ourselves, as we make decisions based upon what will bring us the most joy, balance and peace, as we re-define what “success” means for each of us as a working mother, we’re leaving no room for outdated employment practices. We’re forcing a change on a much bigger scale. We’re creating a “work world” for ourselves, for our children, and for their children that actively prioritizes self-care and the importance of family. Mommy, Esq. is more than a maternity and life coaching program; it’s a movement.

I don’t want for any of us to look back on our lives and realize that it was anything less than amazing. I want us to be successful, and I want for each of us to achieve our own version of “success.” I want for employers to retain the talented, intelligent and accomplished women that they’ve hired. I want for us all to thrive.

I understand that many of you out there will read this and think that I’m naïve. That this all sounds great but it will just never happen. It’s all too big and too far gone to change. Well, to you, I would offer this:  As Ann-Marie notes in her opinion, my parents grew up in a world where blacks and whites had to use different bathrooms and water fountains. Women weren’t encouraged to go to law school or admitted to practice. Heck, just look at how long it took for Sandra Day O’Connor to be appointed to the Supreme Court. This all might seem like a lifetime ago, but we’re only looking back on the past 50 years or so. Unimaginable, huge, positive change has occurred over the past 50 years. To quote Ann-Marie, “given the magnitude of that change, think about how much we can still do.”

I am so thankful for all of the opportunities that my large law firm has provided me with, and I applaud its allowing me to “telecommute,” and have an extended maternity leave. But, my firm is just one of many. Could you imagine a world in which mothers could thrive under alternative work schedules that wouldn’t ostracize them? Could you picture being able to choose when and where you work from in order to achieve the best results for your firm, clients and family? It would be a wonderful life for all of us, employers and employees, alike.

With much love and compassion and hope for change,

Mommy, Esq.

We can, all of us, stand up for care. Until we do, men and women will never be equal; not while both are responsible for providing cash but only women are responsible for providing care. And though individual Americans might win out in our current system, America as a whole will never be as competitive as it ought to be. If we do not act, over time our families and communities, the foundation of our flourishing, will wither.

The women’s movement has brought many of us the right to compete on equal terms; it’s time for all of us to claim an equal right to care.

Anne-Marie Slaughter, A Toxic Work World

We Remember 9/11

Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.

President George W. Bush

Words cannot express the depth of emotions that we all feel on this day. We feel sadness for those who were lost and their family and friends and fondly remember them. We admire those who, with no thought for their own well-being, offered their lives in service of others.

On September 11, 2001, many of my peers said good bye to their moms, dads, brothers, sisters, family and friends for the last time. I grew up in a commuter town on Long Island, and I remember, with great clarity, the way in which we all banded together to support each other. We knew our lives would never be the same.

While 14 years have passed since the tragedy of 9/11, this day will always be one of sacred remembrance for me.

We will not be posting a new article today. Rather, we will be silently remembering the victims, the families, and the heroes of 9/11. Our hearts and prayers are with America today.

With much love,

Mommy, Esq.

Zen and the Art of Lawyering

Is it hard? Not if you have the right attitude. It’s having the right attitude that’s hard.
-Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values

In researching for my blog posts, I not only think about what topics you all would like to read, but I also try to consider what topics personally resonate with me for the week. Generally speaking, I’m of the opinion that I will only read posts that appear to be written by people that have a personal connection to the topic that they’re writing on. I feel like I can smell insincerity from a mile away, and I’ll drop a blog like a hot potato the moment I sense that.

In an effort to keep with the trend of posting on topics I personally connect to, today we’re going to talk about being zen.


I never thought of myself as “zen” until someone at work told me that she was “impressed by how zen [I] am.” Our conversation was relatively short and didn’t last much longer than that one comment, really, but I continued to think about it for the rest of the day. I didn’t believe her. Call me crazy, but when I think about being zen, I picture Buddhist monks sitting in silent meditation, people walking labyrinths deep in thought, and employees pushing sand around with rakes in little boxes on their desks. I’m a lot of things, but I am certainly not that! Sure, I practice mindfulness and use Oprah and Deepak’s 21-day meditation challenges on a daily basis, but I definitely spend the majority of my time frantically chasing around my two-year old, bouncing around my six-month old so she doesn’t start screaming at me, and trying to hold a few major assignments together at work and be responsive to all of my clients. After coming up with zero reasons why she’d think I’m zen, I decided to ask her what she meant. In the name of blog research, of course.

“You’re just always so present and grateful. You seem really happy to be here every day. It’s inspiring.”

Well, I didn’t expect that response. So, I’m “zen” because I’m present and grateful. It was a wonderful confirmation of the success of the Mommy, Esq. maternity and life coaching program in my life. We speak a lot in our coaching sessions and on the website about finding your strategy and applying it in all aspects of your life. I realized a long time ago that my strategy to happier, healthier, more balanced work- and home- lives was to consciously express gratitude for the many blessings in my life and to live in the present moment and stop worrying about the past and the future. By recognizing my strategy and applying it, I have found that I am able to honor the values that are important to me (spending time with family without thinking about the stresses of work, being a reliable associate that isn’t obviously worrying about anything at home, putting time towards my personal hobbies and other things I enjoy) and live in a constant state of alignment.

Although I’ve found that over time I’ve come to mindlessly apply my strategy, that’s not to say that I don’t have days (or weeks, or months) where the stresses of my home- and work- lives become so overwhelming that I’m not as diligent about applying it without constant reminders. I’m actually having one of those weeks right now, which is why I thought it apropos to bring it up in this week’s post. For example, earlier this week I had to move so quickly through my work day and the number of e-mails that were coming in was so overwhelming that I felt like I wasn’t able to keep up and read through everything carefully. I was also way over-caffeinated, due to the fact that we’re sleep training our youngest daughter. Truthfully, it’s probably more appropriate to say we’re sleep training me. She’s doing just fine and sleeping through the night in her bed; I’m the one that’s up all night because I miss having my little baby girl right next to me. The combination has resulted in the fact that this week I feel unbalanced in my work-life and, as such, am not able to honor my value of being a reliable associate.

So, what do I do in these stressful moments? How do I bring myself back to “zen?” Well, I’m glad you asked. I do the following three things:

  1. I pay attention to my gratitude rock. Yes, you heard me right. I have a pet rock. More specifically, I have a heart-shaped rose quartz “gratitude rock” that I keep in plain sight on my desk. I use my gratitude rock to remind myself to stop and be grateful for the present moment. I usually don’t need to have it in plain sight because I remember to stop and be grateful after years of practice. But, on my most stressful days, it’s so easy to fall into the habit of thinking about how rough I have it or how little I’m able to get accomplished or how ineffective and unreliable I feel. In those moments, when my eyes pass over my gratitude rock, I stop and think about one thing that I’m grateful for. Sometimes I’m barely able to come up with something other than that I am grateful for the air in my lungs, but I’ve found that even stopping to be grateful about that is enough. It brings me back to a starting point and reminds me that I am grateful for the present moment and the opportunity to live my wonderful, amazing life. Each time my eyes pass over my rock and I stop to be grateful, I try to extend my gratitude outward to bigger things. For example, if I start with the fact that I’m grateful for the air in my lungs, I try to make my next thought of gratitude about something bigger, like being grateful for the beautiful view I see from my office window every day. And I continue to extend outward from there.

    **Side note that most of you out there can relate to, my oldest daughter thinks that my gratitude rock is hysterical because Zoe on Sesame Street has a pet rock named Rocky. She runs around with it yelling “Mommy’s Rocky!!” She makes me laugh.

  2. In my stressful moments, I take a ten-minute break to realign. This might seem counter-intuitive, especially for our big law and in-house attorneys out there with crazy schedules, but trust me—it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself. When I’m in the middle of a stressful moment, it’s easy for me to begin to feel like all of my minutes are accounted for and there is no time to accomplish any of the tasks in front of me. Those are the moments when I start reading too quickly, responding too tersely, and making careless mistakes. My thought-reel sounds something like: “I don’t have time! WHAT THE F(*#! Too much is happening! I CAN’T WITH THIS RIGHT NOW!” I’ll feel like I’ve been sitting in an office with someone screaming at me and loud music blasting when, in actuality, I am alone in a quiet, beautiful office overlooking the New York City skyline.

    I try to stop whenever I notice that this is how I’m reacting to the stresses of my work day and take ten minutes to realign. I realign by closing my eyes, breathing deeply, and bringing my attention to the rise and fall of my chest with my breaths. After a few minutes of that, I’ll scan over every part of my body, beginning with my head and moving down towards my feet. I notice which parts of me are “hurting” because of my stress (my head, my neck, my shoulders, my jaw), and I make a mental note of how I’m feeling in the present moment. I breathe into those parts of my body that are feeling stress for a few minutes and bring my attention inward. When it feels right, I slowly begin to bring my attention back to the outside world. I rescan my body for any feelings of discomfort, listen to the noises surrounding me, and, eventually, open my eyes.

    It’s life-changing. It’s perspective-shifting. It’s the best thing I can do with my day. It’s so powerful for me, in fact, that I even do it on my days when I’m not feeling super stressed.

  3. I forgive myself at the end of every day. Finally, at the end of every day, I take a moment to reflect on my mistakes and how they made me feel. That e-mail that I sent out with two periods at the end of a sentence. That phone call I had with my partner where I didn’t understand the bigger picture of a project. The client e-mail that I read too quickly. The spelling error in a letter that I sent out to my partners for review. I allow myself to briefly revisit my feelings in those moments and then I pause to forgive myself. I quietly say, “Lisa, you may have made a few mistakes today, but it’s all okay. You will live to fight another day. The sun will rise again tomorrow, and you will live to fight another day.”

    Money can’t buy the peace you feel when you’ve forgiven yourself. It’s the only way for me to gain closure and move with clarity into the next moment. It’s how I live to fight another day.

So, moms, take this long LABOR DAY weekend to think about your strategy. Think about your values and what you’d like to prioritize. Think about the little practices that you can incorporate into your daily schedule to honor those values. If you can’t come up with anything on your own, reach out to Mommy, Esq., and we’ll help you. Make sure you approach each day with the right attitude and you will find your zen.

With much love,

Mommy, Esq.

Everybody’s Working for the Weekend!

The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.

-Steven Covey

I’d like to begin today’s post by sending out a big THANK YOU to all of you that checked us out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! You are all truly making a dream come true. I’ve developed this maternity coaching program over the course of two pregnancies and maternity leaves, and I am so grateful to be able to share it with you all. I whole-heartedly believe that applying the techniques that you will learn from your Mommy, Esq. maternity coach will greatly and positively impact the trajectory of your personal life and career. Book now for your free thirty-minute consultation!


So…IT’S FRIDAY! We’ve successfully made it through another work week!

My co-associate and I playfully refer to Fridays in August as “Summer Fridays.” In a typical year, as most associates will note, many partners, clients, colleagues, etc. take off and begin their weekends early. The result is that all of us spending our “Summer Fridays” working have a lighter workload and can generally use the day to accomplish all of the tasks that we didn’t get to earlier in the week. I personally love Summer Fridays. I find that they’re my most positive and productive days!

That being said, this is not a typical year for me.

Since joining my firm in 2013, my practice has never been busier and sometimes it’s a struggle to accomplish everything on my To Do list. When I allow myself to do it, I am able to spend all day stressing over the sheer amount of work that I’m expected to accomplish and spinning my wheels all day. Although I’ve generally been able to get all of my work completed and in on time, my work quality isn’t the same as when I’m feeling positive, clear, and focused. Moreover, on the days that I’ve allowed myself to adopt a stressed, fight-or-flight mindset and attitude, I find that I arrive home to my husband and baby girls exhausted, unfocused, and generally over it. Basically, everyone suffers on those days because of my outlook on life.

In those moments I start to feel fragmented, like I work five days a week as a full-time lawyer and full-time mother and am only allowed to enjoy myself for a blissful 48-hour reprieve before returning to the drudgery of my life.

And it isn’t that I dislike being a lawyer or a mother; I actually love that I can identify simultaneously as doing both! It’s just that, on those days, I can lose touch with my true self, my higher purpose, and I start to feel…well, stuck.

This post is for all of you out there that can identify, and I wanted to offer several helpful tips for “unsticking” yourself so that you can better serve your clients, your family, and–most importantly–YOURSELF and live a happier, clearer, healthier life.

  1. Arrange Your To Do List with Discrete and Realistically-Accomplishable Goals: I find that I’m most likely to get stressed when I have something on my To Do list like, “1. Research, write, edit, and deliver entire Motion for Summary Judgment to partner for review” or “1. Review and Draft 25 license applications for your new giant non-depository client.” Let’s be real–these aren’t realistically-accomplishable tasks. Essentially, what I’ve done is taken about 37 different tasks, combined them into one sentence, and given myself the expectation that if I can’t get through this one single item that I’ve failed. There isn’t much to say on this topic other than that it makes my day go a lot smoother and keeps me in a better state of mind when I break these rather large tasks into their smaller, more realistically-accomplishable components and tackle them one by one. I highly suggest you do the same!
  2. Create a Really Beautiful Work Space: If you were to walk into my office today, you would see several deliberately-placed items that boost my positivity on a daily basis; however, that wasn’t always the case. When I first began working and feeling a little “stuck,” I looked around my office and noticed that it was a reflection of my current state of mind and not the state of mind that I wanted to be in. There were no pictures of my happy family, no reminders of my accomplishments, and no color. I remember noticing that it wasn’t even very clean and didn’t smell nicely. It was a musty, boring law office, and it looked like I was just passing through. Later on that day and over the course of the next few months, I cleaned out my office, hung up some pictures and my degrees, and decorated with framed pictures of my husband and baby. I bought some plants and an amethyst for my office, and I brought in some books that inspired me. I got a scent diffuser from Yankee Candle. I did a lot of research into feng shui and organized my office in a way that “helped the energy flow better.” I figured, the worst case scenario was that it doesn’t work at all but I have a couple pretty rocks and plants in my clean, great-smelling office, and the best case scenario was that it actually worked and helped me feel more energized and poised for abundance and success. It was really a win-win situation. Seeing beautiful things around me every day really has done a lot to lighten my mood and help me become more productive at work, especially on those days where it’s easy for responsibilities to get the best of me. Since cleaning, reorganizing, and decorating, I haven’t been spending my whole day being unhappy, and I am able to focus on my work and work product more now than I ever. I suggest that you try this to the extent that you can. I have an office with a door, so I understand that everyone won’t be able to follow my path exactly. Add pops of color where you can, bring in things that inspire you, and bring the happiness, personality, and spirit that you want to feel internally into your external environment.
  3. Find What You Love and Do More of It: I know, I know…this is a post on how busy we are and what little time we have, and I have the audacity to suggest to you that you find more time in your schedule to do other things!  In response to my newfound negativity when I first began to practice, I embarked on a personal journey to find that thing out there that really made my heart beat and got me excited. I watched a lot of Tony Robbins videos; read a lot of books from spiritual teachers; started going back to church and praying daily for God’s help and guidance; and spent a lot of time on Pinterest. What I had come to find is that photography, writing, and using my art to help people really gets me excited! I enjoy long walks with the kids around my little suburban neighborhood and gardening. I love grabbing Carvel soft serve with the babies on a hot summer night. I love to knit and crochet (when I have time). I like the feeling of sitting on my back porch with a cold glass of wine and smelling the grass. I also really do love being a fabulous lawyer, but that alone doesn’t make me a whole and happy person. After finding some things that made me feel fulfilled and happy, I realized that my relationships with my husband, children, bosses, and clients improved. And, perhaps most importantly, my relationship with myself improved. I started to see my life for what it is and not more than it is (Thanks, Tony Robbins), and I saw that it was really quite amazing! I highly suggest that you all do the same. Take the time to look within yourself and ask yourself some really deep questions about what you enjoy that no one can take away from you and what makes you a whole and happy person. Find the time. It’s worth every single minute.

Follow these tips and the advice of Steven Covey, and you’ll be on your way to being more balanced, focused, and clear on a daily basis. I wish you all the most love and success in your journey towards becoming a whole and healthy mommy and legal professional, and my spirit is with you every step of the way!

Happy Summer Friday,

Mommy, Esq.

It’s time to be present in all that you do. Take control of your life by refusing to multitask.

Feeling rushed? Join the crowd. An informal poll among my lawyer-mom colleagues revealed that 100% of us spend our days feeling like there are never enough hours to get everything accomplished. In a world where most of us employed in in the industry are either female breadwinners with stay-at-home dads supporting us or have child care pre-arranged, why is this and how do we shut off the internal dialogue that makes us feel this way?

My theory is this: our constant and unending guilt over never doing enough, giving enough, and being enough for our kids, spouses, bosses, and clients drives us to engage in a pattern of thinking that leaves us feeling like there’s always something to be done. At its very core, it’s that we’re always telling ourselves that there’s something more to accomplish because we’re unworthy of a peaceful moment where we stop, breathe, and realize how fortunate we are to have accomplished all that we have and admire ourselves for how we really do have it all together. We’re constantly beating ourselves up and apologizing to the world for the fact that we want both a successful career and a family, and we’ve been indoctrinated to believe that there really is no way for us to have it all.

So, what happens when we engage in this pattern of thinking? Personally, I find that if I allow myself to have these thoughts, I’m never really living in the present moment. When I’m at work, I’m worrying about my husband and kids at the house, wondering whether my youngest daughter is eating and if I’m producing enough breast milk for her, if my oldest is watching too much TV or misses me, or if my husband is feeling so overwhelmed by the kids that he’d really want me there. When I’m at home, I’m worrying that my bosses are discussing that I don’t work as hard now that I’ve returned from maternity leave, that my clients feel neglected, and that my work product is suffering because I brought another life into the world that I want to spend time with. No matter where I am, I’m coming up with a list of things that need to be done so that I can show my kids, husband, bosses, and clients that I really am present for them and can provide the same level of attention and service that I did in the past despite the fact that my life has changed dramatically.

What’s more, I once truly believed that I was accomplishing this despite the fact that at every moment of the day I found myself stressed, exhausted, overwhelmed, and – I’ll just say it – completely burned out by all of my responsibilities.

My heart was breaking every day, and I was always, always suffering. After having each of my daughters, I went through a period in which, when I was away from them, I couldn’t look at their pictures or hear their voices on the telephone when my husband called. During this time I wasn’t able to handle knowing that family and friends had the opportunity to see them while I was out making a career for myself. I would come home from work and hold them and immediately burst into tears knowing that my time with them was finite. I thought that I was able to contain these feelings and keep them from affecting my family, bosses, co-workers, and clients, but I could not have been more wrong. Everyone could feel my stress, and this life that I had that was marked by achievement and accomplishment was suddenly at a standstill. I was crippled by the weight of my responsibilities and a love that I didn’t know how to make room for in my very busy life.

After my first pregnancy, I turned to more traditional ways of numbing these feelings – a glass or two of wine, complete and total denial; however, after my second pregnancy, when these feelings resurfaced, I realized that I needed to go deeper into myself to seek peace and find practices that I could use every day to manage my stress and be more present for everyone. About five months ago, a dear friend of mine turned me on to watching Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. I learned a lot from her about creating space and stillness in your life, and I began reading books like The Seat of the Soul, The Power of Now and A Return to Love. Though each of these books brought different meaning into my life, the resounding message that I found is this: There is nothing in the outside world that will give me peace, and I will find peace within myself by showing reverence to the present moment.

Since deciding to make an effort to live in the present moment, I have realized that I’m always multitasking! And, my lawyer-mom colleagues are also always multitasking! We’ll be breastfeeding our babies and trying to type e-mails to clients or writing legal memorandums while talking our husbands or child care through the best way to get junior to eat his peas. We’re bringing our breast pumps to court and client meetings to silently relieve ourselves in a ladies room. Heck, they make them look like pocketbooks now because our lives are getting so busy. There’s no telling where we might be taking one! It’s no wonder we’re feeling like every minute of our days are accounted for – Many of us are trying to handle all of the responsibilities of a stay-at-home mom and a working mom all at the same time. We’re trying to live two lives simultaneously, and it’s just impossible.

I’ve tried to combat this (and I implore you to do the same) by committing myself 100% to the demands of the present moment. While at work, I commit myself only to one task at a time. I’ll check e-mails during a period of time that I’ve dedicated to checking e-mails. When I’m working on a client’s license application, I am only working on the needs of that particular application. I’ve made my time sacred at home, as well. If I’m home in time for dinner, then I put down my mobile devices (or I at least try to!) and have dinner with my family. If I’m feeding my daughter, then I’m only feeding my daughter. Although this experiment is ongoing, I’ve been finding that every day that I commit myself to this practice, I feel less rushed to be everywhere all at once and accomplish absolutely everything and my days actually seem more manageable. It’s always hard to set boundaries like this for yourself because you run the risk of disappointing other people when you’re missing deadlines or ignoring a phone call from your mother-in-law or not working as quickly as your boss would like you to, but each of those people will be getting a better, more balanced, more focused you. The good that comes from that has to outweigh the bad.

Eckhart Tolle says in The Power of Now, “[a]s soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love – even the most simple action.”  Honor your present moment, moms. It’s all we have. Our jobs will likely change and our children will only grow older. Each passing moment that we have with them is our last. Focus on one moment at a time, and the rest will begin to fall into place.

With all our love,

Mommy, Esq.