Back when I started, I was convinced that there was no such thing as work-life balance and, if such a mythological creature existed, it should be heavily weighted in favor of work. I would see lectures on the topic at AAJ seminars, but I never went to one, choosing instead something about evidence, trial strategies, technology or preemption.
Even for a new lawyer, life must move forward. The dating turned into marriage, and consideration of my other half was clearly important. I could work late many nights, but not every night. Indeed, I didn’t want to work late every night.
Once kids entered the picture, it was even more important to spend time at home.
I can truly appreciate the difficulty working parents have — if I don’t leave Columbia at 5:00 p.m., I can’t make it home before Baby T. goes to bed at 6:00. Spending time with her and her baby sister is the most important thing in my life, right now.
The result is that I continue to get into the office early every day. Now, I spend a portion of my Sundays in the office, and I work from home even more than before. I can only remember two days where I did not bring my bag home from work.
I went to the library last week and checked out a book for fun. It still lies unopened on my desk at home. I’ll probably never crack it open for more than a couple of minutes because the mountain of work, which continually moves upward, creates a corresponding mountain of guilt whenever I try to do something else for fun (though, I did manage to watch the new episode of Doctor Who on Saturday. Wow. ).
The “balance” is a continual work in progress. I doubt that many of us ever achieve true equilibrium. For example, this is going to be a particularly trying week — motions due, hearings, new client interviews, and the de jure emergency du jore (seems like a new one every single day!).
Family will have to manage a little more without me, and I’ll have to manage a little more without them. But, I’ll make it up next week. Thanks to a loving wife and two terrific little girls.