By: Ally Lozano, CEO and Founder
A feminist comic put a name to a burden that a lot of women carry... the "mental load." (If you haven't seen it, you can check it out here).
As female attorneys, we are busy. If you add to that being a law firm owner, a mom, a partner, and all of the other roles we have in our lives, we are downright swamped. If you are carrying a full "mental load" in addition to everything else you have going on, you likely feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and perhaps even hopeless. You may feel very alone. You may feel like you will never be able to get to everything. You may feel depleted and drained.
Lessening or eliminating the mental load will help us busy professional women be able to press the pause button and enjoy life more. Give these a try, especially during the holidays, so that you can be present and embrace the happiness that is now.
1. Outsource Everything That You Can
There is no reason to do everything. In fact, doing everything simply is impossible. So get it out of your mind that you "need" to be the one doing every darn thing in your life. You will free up your time immensely by hiring people to do things that you just don't want to do.
Here are some things that you can outsource immediately:
- Cleaning. Hire a housekeeper to come 1-2 times a week, or more times if you can!
- Laundry. The housekeeper can do this as a part of her duties or you can find a laundry service.
- Email management. Hire a Virtual Assistant (link to VA article here) to help wrangle your inbox.
- Brief writing. Find an excellent attorney who is looking to for this type of work to make a living.
- Yard work.
- Child care. If you hire a nanny you can pad in time before and after school so that you don't feel rushed getting to and from work.
- Cooking. Door Dash and Uber Eats are great options, and so is having someone who can prepare meals for you. For example, if you hire a housekeeper you can pay for cleaning, laundry, and meal preparation.
- Grocery Shopping. Don't ever set foot in grocery store again! (Grocery stores = my personal form of hell) Use Amazon Fresh or one of the many options out there. There's nothing like waking up in the morning to your groceries on your doorstep.
These are just a few ideas to get you started! Outsourcing = life. You get your life back the more that you outsource.
2. Let Go of Self-Expectations
Are you stuck in a story that to be a "good mom" or "good wife" that you have to do certain things? I have hosted so many dinner parties, cookie-baking parties, and more because I felt like that was what I "should" do in order to fulfill some sort of status that I held in my mind of "how a woman is" despite the fact that I didn't truly enjoy it. For years I would labor over dinner every single night because I thought that's "what a good wife would do." I have found myself doing things that I don't like or even necessarily think are important because of the pressure to "be a good mom" or "be a perfect mom."
Perfection doesn't exist. Being the perfect mom or wife (or lawyer or daughter or sister or friend) is a myth. All that you can do is your best. Don't be so hard on yourself. If there's something that is draining you or not filling you up, don't do it. No one needs a perfect Thanksgiving table, perfect Christmas tree, or perfect holiday meal. Release that pressure that you put on yourself, even in the smallest of ways.
3. Make Your Partner a True Partner
If you have a partner, then allow him or her to be a true partner to you. A few tips on how to empower a stronger partnership:
- Don't expect your partner to read your mind. Express what you need help with and the ways in which s/he can support you.
- Make a shared family calendar on your phones so that you both know of important events and their dates and times. This releases the need to constantly remind the other person of what's going on and allows you both to relax without remembering things. In fact, we have a rule in our relationship that if it isn't on the calendar, it doesn't exist.
- Don't expect perfection from your partner. Remember, perfection is a myth. If something gets done, though it isn't done in the way that you wanted it, that's okay. Done is better than good. Criticizing the other person's efforts will lesson both parties' motivation to continue to work together.
- Acknowledge and thank your partner regularly. It doesn't matter if it's a task that s/he "should" do, thank him for it anyway. If he took out the trash, say thank you! Who doesn't want to be recognized for the things that they do? The more you do this, the more you will get it in return, which is an added bonus.
- Treat one another as adults. What I mean is that you don't have to remind an adult over and over to do what he has to do. We all have to function as self-sustaining grow-ups. Children need to be reminded constantly. Adults don't. If you constantly remind your partner then it will become something s/he relies on. Tell the other person once and trust him/ her to follow through with what s/he says s/he will do.
4. Write Things Down and Release Them
If you need to remember to do something, write it down. Use your notes app in your phone or your reminder app. I know that some people want to use paper, but then what if you forget the paper? Your phone is with you all of the time. Keep everything that you need to remember there. Even set reminders if you have to. The main point is to write it down so you can forget it. We drain ourselves with the repetitive thought of, "Don't forget this! Don't forget this!" Write it down, release it, and then it won't be forgotten.
Hopefully these tips will clear your mind and allow you to feel more peace, presence, and joy in your day-to-day life. What tips would you add?
About your Ally in Life, Business and Law:
Alexandra "Ally" Lozano is a national award-winning attorney and the founder of AMIGA Lawyers and Alexandra Lozano Immigration Law.. After becoming a mother, and in a matter of 3 months, Ally transformed her practice from earning in pesos to earning 6-figures and she is passionate about teaching attorneys how they can do the same. Ally empowers lawyers to be the CEOs of their law firms with her weekly blog, webinars, and conferences where she teaches step-by-step how to do the work they love while running a profitable legal business. Ally lives outside of Seattle with her husband and their 5 children.