Sleep and personal space may be limited, but my blessings are abundant. One of those blessings is a career I love, and let’s be honest, having that career gives me the opportunity to remain a well-balanced human that is raising 5 other well-balanced humans in this world (or so we hope).
- Order, detail, structure and wisdom. This is my oldest child. She is wise and kind beyond her 7 years, and she never misses a beat. Being the oldest of 5 has perhaps forced these qualities out of her. I could not be prouder of my daughter but her affinity for order makes her needy, in the worst way. She literally asks me more questions than I can answer; she’s on to the next question before I am done answering the first. I’m sure it is a way of having my attention, but she retains the substance of the answers (and then later uses them against me or otherwise proves me wrong!). Maintaining a work schedule is a lot of work in and of itself, but it helps maintain the order and structure to our otherwise hectic lives. I feel happier and calmer with the calendar to rely on, no doubt where my oldest gets it from.
- Freedom, snuggles and Jellybean. This is my second in line. She is a special one. I don’t know what her future has in store but it will be impactful. She is a free-spirited sweet child who draws people in. Something in her smile, voice and ‘way’ is a magnet for all living creatures. Just ask someone who has met her. Somehow she is wildly independent and also the glue that holds our crew together. But she also loves to snuggle on the couch with me and my favorite childhood toy (a pink bunny named ‘Jellybean’) that she has adopted as her own. These moments with my daughter aren’t every day, but my conscious and ongoing effort to make quality time, even quality moments, with each child on each day is felt most profoundly with this one. She does not demand or need my attention in the ways the other kids do…she just wants to snuggle, and that simplicity makes me try harder.
- Sensitive. My middle child, the sensitive one. This poor kid had a tough toddler-hood. The twins were born right before he turned 2, and then over the next 6 months he was chronically ill which resulted in 2 minor surgeries. Emotionally too — so. high. maintenance. I think my husband and I have tried every style of parenting with him. Coddling him too much, being too hard and everything in between. Luckily we are closer to the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ and we have pretty much figured things out. Now at 4.5, he is just as sensitive, but now we know how to communicate. This particular child taught me 2 important lessons: First, love them when they’re unloveable (repeat to self 100X a day or as needed); Second, it is a beautiful thing to leave for work and get a break. The End.
- Energy and no sense of self-preservation. My fourth child. THIS is what people are talking about with boys. My first son (the middle child) is into super heroes and t-ball, but he is safety conscious and likes to enforce the rules, so I do not think I had a sense of all the boy-ness of boys until my fourth. He is a tornado riding a tornado in a tornado. On the upside I burn a lot of calories keeping up, downside I lose years off my life from the panic and stress from his encounters with danger. This 2.5 year old makes up for it in huge hugs and happy smiles, but this kid requires a great deal of patience and endurance. I’m not sure if he is bootcamp to help me with difficult cases at work, or the other way around. But my skills in patience and persistence are honed on a daily basis with his help.
- A wolf in sheep’s clothing. My fifth and youngest (by 20 seconds, but still). My 2.5 year old daughter, twin of tornado-boy. She fits in with my 7 year old in many ways, in fact she blends with all of the kids and connects individually. She finds her way with a sweet smile and sassy look in her eyes. She’s not bossy but somehow achieves the desired result. Every time. I’m taking lessons from this one. Being assertive and being kind, these things can happen all at once – whether between kids at home or adults in the workplace.
My 5 reasons are of course my 5 children. But it’s so fun to look at their personalities and individual quirks. For me, working makes me a better mother – more thoughtful and self-aware. I also know, with certainty, that being a mother makes me a better attorney. As hard as I try to teach my children valuable lessons, I am also learning incredible things from them each day.