The Unspoken Problem That’s Keeping Working Moms Miserable

The unhappiness that most lawyer moms (and working moms in other professions) are experiencing do not stem from Moms’ failures to achieve the “perfect” work-life balance. 

Many mothers believe that their inability to adapt means they’re doing something wrong. 

And traditional work-life balance advice tends to agree with them. 

But this advice adds more burdens on moms and fails to fix the real problem that lies beneath the surface. 

That problem is called Motherhood Inequality and it’s making working moms everywhere feel miserable.

I recently shared 3 steps to eradicating Motherhood Inequality with Above The Law. Check out the article here.

 

What Moms REALLY want for Mother’s Day

I love Mother’s Day and the idea of celebrating Moms.

But do you ever get the feeling that Mother’s Day is a consolation prize?

For many, it’s the one day a year (besides their birthday) when Mom doesn’t come last. When other people think about Mom.

Google “Mother’s Day gifts” and you’ll see things like flowers, jewelry, chocolate, bath salts, etc.

But this isn’t what Moms want.

What Moms really want is for the kids to pick up their toys on a regular basis.

They want their husbands to help more at home.

They want to have a job that they love, making good money, so they can buy the things they want.

And they want to do all this without feeling guilty about any of it.

They want a life where Mom is, without question, equal.

Not on one day, but every day.

This is what I teach my clients how to create in their lives.

If you’d like to have this too, let’s talk about what’s getting in the way and how to solve it.

You can book a free call with me here.

What They Don’t Teach In Law School Is Hurting Your Career

When we decide to go to law school (and hand over $100k+ for our degrees), we have an expectation that we will learn what we need to know to succeed as a lawyer.

We learn how to read case law. We learn how to issue spot. We learn how to research the law. We learn how to write briefs and memos.

But what we DON’T learn is how to practice on our own two feet. How to get our own clients. How to create our own opportunities.

We’re told we have to get on a “track” that will lead us to someplace better than here. There is no thought about whether this will lead us to what WE want. There is no consideration about whether doing this will make us happy in the long term.

But with staggering student loan debt, we’re terrified of making a mistake. So we hop on the treadmill and don’t look back.

Until we reach a breaking point.

For some people, it happens early. For others, it happens when they have children. Regardless of the timing, a breaking point eventually arrives for many lawyers. It usually happens at a very inconvenient time.

The breaking point occurs when lawyers realize that they’ve been using skills they don’t even really enjoy using. And they’re NOT using the skills that would make work feel like play. And that they’re lacking skills that will help them find opportunities on their terms. Because law school didn’t prepare us for this.

Many lawyers sink into depression when they realize that what they’re doing isn’t what they want to do. They stay stuck. They try to distract themselves just to get by. They may may even turn to substances as a balm.

But there’s another option: Learn the skills that law school didn’t teach you.

Learn what you need to create the opportunities YOU want.

It’s a totally different approach than what we learned from on-campus interviews.

It’s a new skill set that enables you to create the work situation of your dreams.

This is what I teach my clients in my Happy At Work Coaching Program. Consider it the seventh semester of law school – but WAY more fun.

It’s fun because we’re working on getting you EXACTLY what you want. So that you can be happier at work and finally enjoy this career you’ve worked so hard for.

If this sounds appealing to you, let’s have a call (totally free to you) and I’ll help you get clarity on what you really want, what’s getting in your way, and the exact skills you need to get it.

This program is almost full, so if you’re wanting to do this, click here to reserve your free call with me.

Take care,

Charise

What Burned Out Lawyers Need To Know

Much of the career advice given to young lawyers is actually NOT on the critical path to happiness as a lawyer.

In fact, conventional advice often leads people in the opposite direction.

Over time, this advice creates scarcity, stress, and eventually burnout for countless attorneys.

Since I help lawyers to create happiness in their careers, I have a lot of conversations with lawyers about what advice to disregard–and what to do instead.

Recently, I had the chance to share my top 5 recommendations to creating a happier legal career with Authority Magazine.

You can read the article here.



Can You Find Work That Fits Motherhood?

The pandemic and she-cession are continuing in full force.

The stories we hear on the news are discouraging. The statistics are even worse.

What’s a working mom to do?

The message that is being given to women is that they don’t have options.

They feel like they’re forced to choose between being with their children and their careers.

That’s not a choice that women should have to make.

And what if it’s a choice that’s not even necessary?

What if there is a third option?

What if it’s possible to find work that fits your motherhood – even during Covid?

I know it exists because I’ve seen it.

I’ve seen moms go from crazy hours to calm.

I’ve seen them go from full-time to part-time.

And I’ve seen them go from employee to self-employed and thriving.

I’ve seen them choose their schedules so that they can do both: career and motherhood.

On THEIR terms. And getting paid well.

These stories are not what you see in the news. But they are just as real.

They aren’t the majority. But I hope that someday, they will be.

If you’re ready to find work that fits your motherhood, let’s talk. Schedule a free call with me and let’s talk about YOU.

We’ll look at your specific situation and I’ll help you create a plan for how to get what you want in your career.

So you can have the work and motherhood that you want.

Because that’s a choice that you should not have to make.

Stay well,
Charise

How to be a Happy Law Mom

When I was a Big Law lawyer with two young children, I hit a wall.

I knew that I had to make a change, but I didn’t know what to do or how to do it.  

I know I wasn’t alone in my struggle. Because by the time you get to be a lawyer and a mom, you usually have a lot of reasons to stay where you are.

Your brain says: “How could you possibly make a move when your family is relying on you?”

Your heart says: “I want to be with my family! That’s the reason I became a mom in the first place.”

Many people in this situation feel like they have to give up something that they love. 

It could be their work, a good salary, time with loved ones, or even their own health.  

But that feels TERRIBLE. Nobody wants to give up these things. 

What if you didn’t have to? 

  • What if you could practice law working reasonable or (gasp!) part-time hours and still be well-regarded in your field? 
  • What if you could be present with your family AND still make the money you want to make? 
  • What if you could even have time for yourself? 

I figured out how to do that in my law practice for years before I decided to teach other women how to do it, too.

My clients are: 

  • doing work that works with their motherhood
  • getting paid well
  • finding what they love to do
  • working less
  • becoming happier than ever.

There are very specific skills that you need to do all of that. They don’t teach these skills in law school — but they should.

The Happy Law Mom coaching program will teach you these skills.

It’s the program that I wish I had had as a Law Mom trying to figure it out.

If you want to get happier but don’t know how, let’s talk

In a single call, we’ll look at your particular circumstances, skills, and work situation. I’ll show you exactly what skills you need to get unstuck and get happy.

It’s totally FREE but spaces are limited. Click here to schedule yours.

Let’s make 2021 your best year yet!

Cheers,

Charise

How to stay calm and productive during the election, the pandemic, and the rest of 2020

Having a hard time being productive at work? Checking your phone every 3 minutes? This year has brought more collective challenges than any year in recent memory. Challenges require a little extra work, but they’re not insurmountable if you stay calm and focused.

Here’s how.   

Soothe Your Limbic System

Uncertainty coupled with newsfeeds designed to provoke fear is the perfect recipe for a limbic highjack, where your lower brain goes into flight/fight/freeze and your adrenal glands release loads of stress hormones into your system so that you can run like hell. This is great when you see a rattlesnake in the grass. This is not great when you’re glued to your desk trying to finish a brief.

To return to productivity, soothe your limbic system like you would soothe a scared child.

You can do that intentionally by grounding yourself where you are. Feel the weight of your body in the chair. Feel the weight of your feet on the floor. Feel the weight of your hands on your lap. Notice how you’re breathing and how you’re safe in this moment. When you focus on this moment in time and establish for yourself the idea that you’re safe, the limbic system will chill out and the part of your brain responsible for executive function (i.e. getting work done) will come back online. 

Focus on What’s Working

Our brains evolved to have a bias for the negative, which means that our brains are constantly scanning for what could go wrong. There is uncertainty over something that people care about deeply right now, so it’s likely that your brain is on high alert.

The problem with this negativity bias is that it blinds us from what’s actually working. And there is a LOT that’s working right now, despite the challenges.

There are thousands of dedicated people who are working to ensure that every vote is counted. Millions of people go to work each day to make a contribution to something larger than themselves and to solve important problems. We have an incredible amount of resources, information, and knowledge at our fingertips. The sun continues to rise and set.

What’s working in your life right now? If you’re reading this, something is working right. Start with the beat of your own heart.

This isn’t to say that if something’s not working, you shouldn’t fix it. But the quickest way to fix something is NOT to get overwhelmed by what’s not working. That usually causes people to give up before they even begin. The quickest way to get what you want is to look for what IS working, build momentum, and create more of that.

Ask Yourself Productive Questions

Once you’ve calmed down and focused on what’s working, you’re much better positioned to be productive. To increase your productivity even more, directing your brain to where you want it to go by asking productive questions. Here are some examples: 

  • What’s the best way I can contribute right now? 
  • What the most important thing that I can do right now? 
  • How can I break this task down into manageable pieces?
  • How can I get this done AND stay informed of the news?  (The answer my brain gives me to this question is: “Set a 5-minute timer at the top of the hour to check the news – and then get back to work.” You might try it for yourself.) 

Productive questions lead you straight into productive action and put you back in charge of your mind – instead of letting your newsfeed be in charge of you. 

Control YOUR Results

Very few of us individually has much control over the outcome of the current election. But ALL of us have 100% control of OUR OWN results right now.

We can’t control what other people do, but we can control how we respond, what we do or don’t do, and what results we create for ourselves.

We control where to direct our focus: it might be work projects, advocacy, or creating a peaceful home for our families.

You get to decide what result you want to create in this circumstance, regardless of the outcome of the election.

And when you focus on THAT, your creative mind will go to work to find solutions, take action, and create what you want. 

If you need help with this, let’s talk. I help Lawyer Moms and other busy professionals to create exactly what they want at work and at home. 

Are you feeling empty?

When I had my second child, I found that my life as a Lawyer Mom was simultaneously too full and too empty.

There were too many demands on my time and energy but there wasn’t enough time and space for things that brought me joy, fulfillment, and inner peace.  

I had checked all the boxes. The job, the house, the family. But something was missing that left me asking: Is this all there is? Is this what I worked so hard for?

This feeling of emptiness drove me to buy (thank you, Amazon Prime) and eat (Halo Top ice cream anyone?) and zone out (I’m looking at you, Facebook). Yet I remained unfulfilled and stuck. It was like trying to live on candy bars: too many empty calories, not enough nutrition. 

The Root Cause

After accumulating more stuff and wasting more time, I realized that what I was doing wasn’t working. I would need to try a different approach.

Determined to find something that would actually work, I tried a lot of things that didn’t. Finally, I figured out what was really happening.

My overstretched schedule was the direct result of trying to live up to external demands. I was measuring my life against a fictional version of what life is “supposed to” look like as a “Perfect Mother,” “Good Wife,” or “Tireless Advocate.” 

On the other hand, the feeling of emptiness came from ignoring my internal needs and desires. It came from not doing what brought me joy, restored my energy, and made me feel fully human (rather than part robot). 

The Remedy 

The remedy for this is simple: Defining and living your purpose. And doing less of everything else. 

Purpose connected me to something larger than myself. It gave me a true north, a compass for my life. 

Once I determined that my purpose was to help other Lawyer Moms become happier in their lives and careers while also being present, loving, and creative in my own life, everything else fell into place.  

I began to life a life of my own design, rather than what everyone else thought my life should look like. 

I determined what belonged in my life and what didn’t.  

It allowed me to be enriched by my life, rather than drained by it. 

You deserve more than emptiness. 

No one teaches us to do this in school. Employers don’t teach this is training programs. It’s something that we have to ourselves. To make the conscious decision to stop what’s not working and try something new. 

If you’re feeling like your life is both too full and too empty, I can help. Send an email to contact@happylawmom.com with 3 days/times that work for you and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours to set up a time for a free Breakthrough Call to help you determine what needs to change in your life for you to create lasting fulfillment. 

Lawyer Moms have said these calls are “amazing,” “brilliant,” and “life changing.” I’d love to show you how you can have more of what you want and less of what you don’t. 

Honoring Her Legacy

Millions are mourning the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

For many women, particularly Lawyer Moms, her loss feels akin to losing a beloved grandmother or aunt.

She paved the way and then made it easier for us to follow. 

She wanted to see other women thriving, pursuing—and achieving—happiness. 

RBG fought hard to make the system more equal for women. 

And because of her work, we can do ours. 

If you’re feeling like RBG’s death is the last straw in a year that’s been full of challenges and strife, you’re not alone. 

But letting the current circumstances get you down is not likely to serve you or anyone else. 

Here is what I recommend you do instead. 

Be Kind to Yourself 

When faced with challenging circumstances, what’s required is exquisite self-care. 

This doesn’t mean eating a pint of ice cream or drinking a bottle of wine. It means asking yourself what you need that would truly nourish and restore you. 

Write down the answers to these questions: 

  • What do I need right now? 
  • What does my body need? 
  • What does my mind need? 
  • What does my heart need? 
  • What does my spirit need? 

And then give yourself what you need. Kindly, gently, with love and compassion.

Honor Her Legacy by Your Own Pursuit of Happiness

Women in general (and Lawyer Moms in particular) can honor her legacy every day by thriving in their lives and careers

She worked hard to make sure we had opportunities. 

She refused to live by other people’s expectations of her and instead blazed her own path.

For those who want to honor her work, we can do so by pursuing our own happiness at work and as moms.

This does not have to mean working yourself to the bone.

It might even mean stepping back in your practice, if that’s what you want.

The point is that we have the freedom to choose what we want to do and then create it.

Even now.

Your happiness matters. 

Your dreams matter.  

It would make RBG proud to see women choosing to thrive and living our very best lives. 

We were made for this. 

XO,

Charise

How to Get Happier in Your Career

Finding work that I enjoyed was a huge struggle for me. You could say that I tried everything in the book. Books, personality tests, strengths tests, workshops, different kinds of coaching.

Some worked and but a lot didn’t. Here’s how I finally found career happiness and how you can do it, too.

Look Within

When I was in school one of the biggest overarching messages that we learned was that “the right answer” was always outside of us. It might come from our teachers, our parents, or our textbooks, but it was always something out there that we needed to download into our brains.

We often carry that habit of looking out there with us in our professional lives. But when we look to others for career guidance, we often end up in jobs that make us feel empty, unsatisfied, or miserable. Other peoples’ dreams can be your nightmare.

The only way to find lasting career happiness is to begin within. You’ve got to look at what energizes and engages you, what matters to you. This is deeply personal and no one can answer these questions for you. If the answer is “I don’t know,” it usually means that you’ve lost touch with yourself. (This is a real thing and it has real consequences.)

If you don’t know who you are and what matters to you, put that at the top of your priority list. Otherwise, time will pass and you’ll end up feeling like a robot. That would be a shame because there IS work that would energize you, mean something to you, and help others too. You should be doing it.

It wasn’t until I decided to make decisions about what was most important to me that I began to get happier in my work.

Long before I left my firm job to become a coach, I began making changes to live in alignment with my top values and priorities. I used my inner compass as a guide, rather than well-meaning but ill-fitting advice from others.

It made all the difference.

Let Go of the Guilt

When I was trying to figure out what to do, I had a lot of judgment going on in my head about my desire for something different:
• I have way more than so many people, I should just be grateful.
• I’ve got a great team. Why can’t that be enough?
• Most people don’t like their jobs, why can’t I just accept where I’m at? 
• What if try something new and it doesn’t work out?

But when you feel unhappy at work and then you feel guilty for it, you only spin your wheels even more. And what good does that do? None whatsoever.

Here’s the truth. Your happiness matters. People who are happy at work make a bigger impact both in the work itself and on the people around them.
If you’re unhappy, you can’t serve your clients at your highest level. When your brain is mired in negativity, it’s low on creativity, enthusiasm, and problem-solving. You also deprive the people in your life of a happy version of you. The happy parent, partner, family member, and friend that you want to be.

Try this reframe: If you’re feeling stuck or unhappy at work, it’s actually your duty to get unstuck. You doing this not only for yourself and your family, but also for the people you want to serve. They’re waiting for you.

There’s Not a “Right” Way – But There Is A Way

When I was stuck in my career rut, I wasted a lot of time thinking that I had to find the “right” way out. The one single career path that would be perfect for me. But nothing felt like the “right” path, so I just stayed stuck.

Because I stayed stuck, I would sometimes start to wonder if I would ever find a way out. Maybe there was NO path. Maybe I would never find happiness in my career! (Cue internal panic.)

Neither of these thoughts served me. I know now that there’s more than one path that leads to career happiness. Believing that I had to get it “right” only slowed my progress.

Likewise, believing that you’ll never find a way out makes you more entrenched. Even if it takes time to figure it out, you will save yourself years of unhappiness if you begin NOW. The only thing that’s required is a simple decision: I WILL get there. Because once you make that decision and follow up with consistent action, you will.

Find the Root Cause

When solving for career unhappiness, you’ve got to identify the exact root cause. There’s no other way to get a permanent solution.

Case in point: serial job changers. When I work with clients who change jobs every few years but are still miserable, there are always deeper issues at play. They’ve usually tried everything. A new boss, a new firm, a new team, a new role, or a new practice area. When those changes don’t create lasting happiness, there’s always an underlying reason.

It’s like trying to treat an infection with Tylenol. You can dull the pain but it’s going to continue to fester until you identify the real issue and treat it the right medicine.

One of my clients had been feeling miserable for years, even though he had tried lots of different jobs. He really liked his company, his boss, and his team. So why was he unhappy? We did some digging and discovered exactly what was troubling him about his current role. He also discovered that he wanted to feel more purposeful in his life and he had been relying on his career to provide that.

Once he understood the root causes of his unhappiness, the solutions became obvious. He was able to pivot his role at work after having a few simple conversations. He also made the decision to be more purposeful in how he spent his time, both at work and at home. Once we were able to get to the root cause, he reported enjoying his work and his life more than he had in years and having more energy. Years of struggle evaporated within a few months.

Those results are typical. That’s why causal coaching is so useful. It gets to the root cause, which is usually hidden in the blind spots that you yourself can’t see.

You don’t have to struggle for years. You can fast-track your career happiness identifying the real issues right away. If you’re struggling with getting happier at work, I invite you to schedule a free call with me. You’ll walk away with clarity and a personalized plan to help you get exactly what you want. You can send me an email at contact@happylawmom.com and let me know what’s going on for you.