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The Bar Bulletin
Jax Daily Record Thursday, Sep. 3, 202005:00 AM EST

COVID-19 and the lawyer-mom

The struggle to keep up with daily life seems to change every day.

By Kimberly Woods • Attorney at Boyd & Jenerette

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have seen multiple articles about the challenges facing the lawyer-mom.

 Whether it’s making the decision whether to send kids to day care or school, how to balance the ever-present billable hour requirement or the mental gymnastics involved with working from home, the lawyer-mom is facing serious issues. 

The struggle to keep up with daily life seems to change every day.

Pre-pandemic, there already was the struggle to get the job done while being pulled in different directions - carpool, school activities, doctors appointments, etc.

In the COVID-19 era, this has become a more daunting task.

It may be just me, but I feel that working from home pressures me to complete more nonwork-related tasks. Instead of being able to ignore my messy living room by going to the office, I am forced to stare at it while I am trying to type my umpteenth report.

Then there is the thought that I can squeeze in one load of laundry during lunch. I have felt a sense of needing to accomplish it all but being at home all day has made that even worse.

Still, people ask me, “Why can’t you cook dinner if you have been at home all day?” 

The line between work and home has become so blurred that it can be difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins.

My daily commute used to allow me to separate one from the other, but that’s gone. This causes even more late nights when actual work has to be done.

For those who have to homeschool their children, this is substantially worse. During the day, they are forced to juggle the responsibility of their children’s education and their job requirements. Inevitably, that results in long days. 

It also has become difficult to find outlets to relieve the stress caused from working from home.

Most of our Bar meetings and luncheons are limited in attendance for social distancing or conducted remotely via Zoom. While these still are great opportunities to get away from “work,” there is a degree of social interaction that is missing. 

I am not sure what drives the working mom to do it all, or how we continue to persevere, but somehow, we do.

It helps to know that you are not alone. There are times that I reach out to a fellow lawyer- mom at 2 a.m. when I am trying to review medical records and I just want to commiserate.

At the end of the day, it is important to be conscious of what the people around us are going through. The lawyer-mom is not the only one with this struggle and it is seen in almost every work environment.

This is our shared experience and with each other and we can overcome these struggles.

If you see someone you know who has children or other people who depend on them, make sure to check on their mental health and share a kind word. As we all continue to navigate this new normal, we must be continue to support and encourage each other. 

Kimberly Woods is an associate attorney with Boyd & Jenerette. 

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