For several years, I was an associate in a large law firm. After my oldest child was born, I opted to leave the corporate world behind and became a full-time mom. I traded suits for yoga pants, high-stakes litigation for the world of children, catered lunches for peanut butter and jelly, and health care regulations for Olivia.
Despite the obvious differences between the practice of law and full-time motherhood, my time in both worlds has led me to an unexpected conclusion—attorneys and stay-at-home moms actually have quite a bit in common. Here are 10 things common to both occupations.
1. Conflict Resolution
Both attorneys and stay-at-home moms frequently are called upon to help warring parties resolve disputes. Good negotiation skills are crucial to success in either position.
2. On Call 24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week
When their clients need help, both attorneys and full-time caregivers must respond regardless of the time of day or night. Sick days are not allowed.
3. Asked and Answered
“Asked and answered” is a useful objection at a trial. It also comes in handy when responding to a begging child.
Both attorneys and stay-at-home moms must frequently rearrange plans and commitments to tend to the needs of their clients.
The practice of law and parenthood both require an individual to soldier through work that is occasionally less than fascinating. The secret to getting through both document review and Bubble Guppies—coffee and lots of it.
Attorneys must explain the law and its ramifications to their clients. Stay-at-home moms explain the rules of the house (aka “the law”) and its ramifications to their clients.
Drafting a brief that draws upon multiple regulations, case law and supporting documents requires superior organization skills. Taking two children under the age of 2 on a successful trip to the zoo tests those same organizational skills.
8. Persuasion and the Art of Spin
Attorneys attempt to persuade juries, their clients, and other interested parties to accept their view of the law. Stay-at-home moms employ persuasion when convincing a child to share toys, pick up a room, try a new vegetable, use table manners, and generally not behave like a caveman.
9. Cocktail Party Downer
Both attorneys and stay-at-home moms know that the mere mention of certain aspects of their job causes others’ eyes to glaze over. Any allusion to the finer points of contract law, the Administrative Procedure Act, Johnny’s nap schedule, or Suzy’s potty training is sure to clear the room at a cocktail party.
Law school, the Bar exam, and law firms’ billable hour requirements teach attorneys that sleep is for the weak. Children teach their mothers the same lesson.
Attorneys and stay-at-home moms, two groups that seem so different on the surface, actually are surprisingly similar. Both are coffee addicts who attempt to educate their often erratic and unreasonable clients and ensure a good outcome for them. Who knew they had so much in common?