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The kids are out of school and you're still stuck working nights and weekends trying to make your billable hours. Sure, you'd much rather spend your days taking the little ones to the beach, instead of sitting through another status call or polishing off a memo, but that's not always possible.
So, lawyers with children, what exactly can you do to deal with the kids over the summer?
Putting Someone Else in Charge
Law firm jobs aren't exactly amenable to child rearing. Billable hours mean long days spent in the office, with work often trumping family commitments. That can be especially difficult during the summer, when you don't have the usual school, sports, and community programs to occupy your kids. And it's especially hard if you're a single parent or a lawyer-lawyer couple.
Of course, if you need to keep your kids cared for (and hopefully entertained and engaged) over the summer months, there's one tried and true strategy: hand 'em off to someone else. For some attorneys, this could be a partner or relative: a stay-at-home dad, for example; a school teacher wife on her own summer vacation; or an accommodating parent.
For others, putting someone in charge of your kids over the summer means shelling out money. Nannies, day cares, summer camps, sports and enrichment programs, they're all ready to take your money to give you kids something to do, and to give you some piece of mind.
Finding Extra Time for Family
But summer doesn't have to mean missing out on (too much) time with your kids. Depending on your work environment, there are a few switches you can make in the summer months that can help you increase quality family time.
The most obvious strategy is to work from home more often. Working from home can allow you to interact with your children between your legal tasks, shuttling them off to the beach with the neighbors, perhaps, or being there when they come home from soccer camp. It's no replacement for full daycare or other activities, but it's better than checking in from the office.
There's also a more drastic alternative: work less. Plenty of (non-legal) industries allow employees to work "summer hours," cutting their days short once or twice a week. And it doesn't just make employees happier, it also makes them more productive.
Of course, for attorneys, taking off early can be a bit more difficult. But if you frontload your week by working later on Mondays and Tuesdays, for example, you may have an easier time stepping away on Friday.