Changing Your Mindset: Tips To Improve Your Mental Health And Increase Happiness – Above the Law

Posted: October 26, 2019 at 2:46 am

This post was added by Alex Diaz-Granados

Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts on motherhood in the legal profession, in partnership with our friends atMothersEsquire. Welcome Molly Daniel-Springs to our pages.

If you had told my first-year law school self that I would be writing an article about how to maintain/improve your mental health while parenting two toddlers and running a solo practice, I would have been all, not in this life. Almost 10 years later, here we are. I hope these tips help you on your journey.

Change your mindset. What is it with the insane expectations on working moms? A few days ago, I read a post on Facebook by Sarah Friedberg (the post went viral- look it up) that dropped so many truth bombs I found myself nodding and mmmhm-ing all over the place. Then I had my husband read it because he must know women are so superior. The gist of her post is that society expects us to be the perfect mothers, ideal workers, and doting wives. We are supposed to run the household, organize the social calendar, plan the vacations, handle the doctors appointments, participate in school functions [insert my feeling of total dread on this one], meal prep, make sure the animals dont die of neglect, plan the birthday parties, make sure the kids are in swim lessons, do craft projects with them, buy their clothes and wash them, make sure theyre using their manners, be Santa and the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy, and keep the house clean and tidy, just to name a few. Oh, and maintain a career. And be a good human. Um wut?

And the reality for many of us is that we have bought into this outrageous standard and take pride in accomplishing all of this at the expense of our own well-being. That requires re-training. After trying to live up to these expectations for a couple of years, in early 2018, I decided to choose another path and strive for being a just okay mom, worker, and wife. I kid, I kid. But, really, I try to set realistic expectations for myself. In the same token, I try not to allow myself to feel guilty for doing so. Mom guilt is no joke and people have no problem laying it on thick.

Promote partnership. My husband and I both work. For most in the same position, the majority of the child care and household responsibilities still fall on us moms. One way I have found to combat this is to make to-do lists. Theyre not for my husband; theyre for both of us. Here are a few things that were on my recent list: return software (J), lay pine straw, fix wheel barrel tire, pressure wash (J). My husband (Joseph) knows that everything with a (J) beside it is for him to do. Yes, I totally fixed that wheel barrel tire, like a boss. I put things on the list that, two years ago, I would have undoubtedly handled (think: schedule dentist, call plumber). Because not all of the household tasks, like returning an item, need to be my responsibility. I am in a partnership with my spouse, and these tasks should fall on us equally.

Sometimes, the best way for your partner to realize how much you actually do is to take a vacation sans kids and spouse (and work). I feel like my husband is well above-average in sharing the housework and the child care responsibilities (shout out to you, stud), but he still benefited from seeing all the things that did not get done while I was gone on a girls trip for a long weekend last year. If youre wondering to yourself because I know all of you are, but really though, how did he survive? Ill tell you. He doesnt have as hard of a time as I used to in calling for help. Its engrained in many of us that we can handle it because we are expected to handle it. Dads dont have that problem. Neither should you.

Enlist help. Whether its a nanny, help from family, or putting your kids in daycare, having help with the kids is, for me, the number one stress reducer. We also have trusted family members who live nearby and help tremendously. And recently, I found a mommys helper who comes twice a month and assists in working down the list of household things that need to get done. It takes a village. Embrace yours.

Girls night. As a solo practitioner, networking is key (and as I write this article, I am reminded that I need to take networking off the backburner). As a mom, girls night is hashtag critical. Once a month, on average, we plan a dinner out. Theyre my therapy and my tribe.

You time. My former boss and current mentor used to stress the importance of taking you time. Never has that advice been as valuable as it is now. When I need to step away for a moment because opposing counsel filed a frivolous motion or one of my toddlers lost her mind because I didnt put her potty seat on right, I do just that. Go for a facial, run an errand, walk around the antique mall, scroll through Facebook marketplace. Dont judge me.

In closing and as a last tip, give yourself and others grace. Were not going to win every case or get it right every time, and were going to make mistakes in parenting. Were all just trying to figure this out while maintaining enough wherewithal to show up for court without bodily fluids on our blazers.

Earlier:Mothers At Law: Achieving Meaningful Success In The Legal Profession

Molly Daniel-Springs is the owner of Springs Law Firm, a personal injury and social security disability firm in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is married with two toddlers and enjoys gardening, talking politics, and using sarcasm whenever possible.

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Changing Your Mindset: Tips To Improve Your Mental Health And Increase Happiness - Above the Law

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