February 8, 2023
Have you heard of the in-flight oxygen mask safety protocol in the event of an emergency on an airplane? You should always put the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping others to put on theirs when the cabin pressure drops. Seems selfish and counter-intuitive? Not at all. Putting the mask on yourself first will actually allow you to then help people around you. How can you help anyone else if you run out of oxygen and passed out?
The analogy here is taking care of yourself first. The Angry Therapist put it well: “Self-care doesn't mean bubble baths and fancy brunches. It really means taking care of yourself daily like you would for someone you love. It means breaking the pattern of putting yourself last. It means considering your own needs, not over others' needs but with them…”
Logically, the analogy makes sense. But in practice taking care of yourself first is easier said than done, especially if you are a working parent with young kid(s). On one hand you have a high-stress and demanding job, on the other there are little mouths to feed and mountains of never-ending chores. You are committed and want to prove yourself at work but also want to be a loving and caring parent. How do you excel and thrive on all fronts in a limited 24-hour day? While you may secretly wish you grow eight arms to juggle all these balancing acts, self-care becomes your least concern and even a 5-min me-time feels like a distant if not alternate reality…
FEAR NOT! You are not alone, and you definitely don’t need to turn into an octopus. 😉
Welcome to our first and foremost Fireside Chat – SPECIAL EDITION!! I am super thrilled to introduce you to Carina Reider, who is living, breathing, and thriving at the Dual 10 challenges. Carina is the walking proof that it is absolutely achievable to establish a blooming legal career and enjoy the privilege of being a parent with young kids at the same time! And her wise solution to the above dilemma would be: you don’t need to do everything. Delegate work or ask for help!
Carina's sharing is significant because we don't hear enough from legal professionals who are also parents living and breathing the Dual 10 phase to speak up and share this exhilarating roller coaster experience!
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Part 1 - Introduction
Hi, my name is... Carina Reider.
Year of call to the Bar: 2017.
Type of practice, your role, and where: I am an associate at a boutique firm in Toronto. I represent regulators in prosecutions, administrative hearings, and civil litigation. I also represent licensed professionals, such as paralegals, builders, and realtors, in disciplinary investigations and hearings.
How many children do you have? I have two kids. A four-year-old girl and a two-year-old boy. I also have a one-year-old puppy. Up until recently, she liked to chew on my walls.
What do you do for self-care or stress relief? Meditate. Walk my dog. Speak with my friends and grandmother. I play basketball once a week. I wish I could say that I exercise regularly, but after having kids, I’ve had a hard time prioritizing exercise.
Part 2 - The first “Dual 10” Challenge: within the first 10 years post-license
Equilawbrium: Do you have a master plan for your career path? What is the driving force behind your career decisions? What are the important things to consider as you are figuring out your career path?
Carina: I don’t have a master plan. My career decisions have been driven by my values and my idea of success. I want a life where I can enjoy my family and also have a fulfilling job. I want to be able to take my kids to school and spend time with them on weekends, and I also want to be mentally engaged solving legal issues. I hate being bored at work.
Equilawbrium: Please list one soft skill that contributed to where are you now and suggestions on how to cultivate it.
Carina: I am very in-tune with my emotions, and I follow my gut. If something doesn’t feel right, I tend to stay clear of it. For example, after my call to the bar, I was offered an associate position at a firm that offered to pay me less than what I made while articling. I turned it down, despite not having another position lined up. I recall feeling very stressed since it was hard to land associate positions, yet, I knew that I wouldn’t be happy if I was underpaid.
Equilawbrium: Please list one hard skill that contributed to where are you now and suggestions on how to cultivate it.
Carina: My past and present managers often praise my writing skills.
I’ve been fortunate to work with managers who take the time to edit my work and I always ensure that I review their edits. When I write, I try to place myself in the shoes of the audience. I love writing in advance and editing a few days later with the read-out-loud feature of Word.
Part 3 - The second “Dual 10” Challenge: have kids in their first 10 formative years
Equilawbrium: How do you juggle work/life responsibilities? Is it possible to have a family life and a work life simultaneously and harmoniously?
Carina: I try my best to juggle work/life responsibilities, but I can’t do everything! I’ve had to sacrifice things that I used to do when I didn’t have kids. For example, I don’t have a lot of time to watch Netflix.
When I am in a hearing or trial, I usually have very little time for my kids and husband. I rely heavily on my husband. He always helps around the house and with the kids. He’s very supportive of my legal career.
Equilawbrium: What is the one parenting tip or trick that you must share?
Carina: Don’t push your kids into growing up. They will let you know when they are ready for the next stage.
For example, I sleep-trained my daughter when she was six-months. To get her to sleep, we just had to put on her sleep sack, turn the white noise on, and leave her in the crib. When she turned two, I thought that it was the right time to move her to a toddler bed, so we transitioned her. That was not a smart move. She’s now four. Since we transitioned her, it has taken triple the amount of time to get her to sleep. She wants stories, songs, to cuddle, to eat, a hug, a new song, another hug, etc.
I’m now tempted to keep my two-year-old son in his crib forever!
Equilawbrium: What do you find most rewarding having kid(s) ≤10 years of age?
Carina: I love watching my kids play together. It’s very rewarding to see them share things and make each other laugh.
Part 4 - Achieving Equilawbrium: how to survive & rise from the “Dual 10” Challenges
"Life is not a race. Practicing law and building your career is part of the process. Enjoy each stage and trust that you can achieve anything you set your mind to." – Carina Reider
Equilawbrium: What is your biggest challenge going through the Dual 10 phase? Any advice for our readers who are living and breathing this phase and trying to survive and excel?
Carina: I got married after the first year of law school and always knew that I wanted to have kids. I just couldn’t find the “right time” to get pregnant. I wanted to finish law school, article, land an associate position, etc. Eventually, I realized that there is no “right time” to have kids.
I am constantly reminding myself not to compare myself to others. To stay true to the path I chose.
Equilawbrium: What is your take-home message for our readers who are trying to find their “equilawbrium”?
Carina: You don’t need to do everything. Delegate work. Just how you delegate work in the office, ask for more help around the house.
Life is not a race. Practicing law and building your career is part of the process. Enjoy each stage and trust that you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
Equilawbrium: What is the one-word encouragement/support that you would want us to remember?
<<End of Fireside Chat with Carina Reider>>
**A MILLION THANKS TO CARINA!!!**
Disclaimer: Any views, information, and personal opinions expressed by the authors or guests are entirely their own and do not reflect or represent those of their employers or clients.