While it may seem like I am talking about the Baltimore Grand Prix, I’m actually referring to the start of the school year. My oldest son, Braden, (kind of) started kindergarten this week. Monday consisted of a one-and-a-half-hour orientation with parents. Tuesday was a 15-minute individual evaluation. Wednesday was a half day. Thursday is his first full day of school.
Fortunately, my wife and I were able to adjust our work schedules to ensure coverage when kindergarten was not in session earlier this week (which was most of the time). Unfortunately, the courthouse (and my law firm) does not follow the school calendar, so there will be more juggling of schedules for the next ten months. (As an aside, I think we all deserve a winter and spring break and should try to encourage our employers and the courts to follow suit.)
Additionally, the end of summer marks the beginning of after-work meetings. It seems that every association or committee or organization awakens from its summer hibernation and schedules a meeting during the first two weeks of September. Thursday will mark my third after-work meeting this week, followed by several more next week.
Even demands for work increase. Everyone comes back from vacation with a renewed sense of purpose. The near deafening silence during the dog days of August turn into the constant ringing of the telephone or chirp of an email notification.
Managing the rigors of life and work and personal time may seem impossible, but once everyone gets into a routine, it becomes manageable. My wife, who is also an attorney, and I try our best to split the child-rearing equally, though there is no question that she has taken a larger share of that role.
We work well as a team, making sure that we both have enough time together as a family, individually with the kids and some necessary alone time (which she gets at 5:45 a.m. at her tri-weekly boot camp and I get immediately upon her return for my daily 7 a.m. run). It’s not the best situation, but as young attorneys and parents of young children, there appears to be no other alternative.
In other words, there is no solution to the problem, but merely daily management of the issues. I have accepted the fact that I will not make it to every soccer practice or play. But when I do, I try to focus on my kids and not my iPhone. Litigation comes in waves, so for every late night at the office, there is the opportunity to cut out a little early and surprise my son at the bus stop.
We can always find some time to do what is necessary; it is just a matter of determining priorities. I have come to realize, however, that the priorities can change from day to day, depending on your work commitments, family commitments and other commitments.