Navigating Motherhood as a Lawyer

Elevating voices in working motherhood is deeply important to us, so we’re sharing perspectives from our Working Mom Hour community. If you want to contribute content, please fill out our guest form. 

For insight on navigating the complexities of motherhood as a lawyer, check out our Q&A below with Miriam Airington-Fisher.

What led you to start your own law firm and coaching service for other lawyers?

A: In 2016, my daughter was born and I went through a divorce. I struggled to balance my work as a lawyer with my new role as a mom – particularly as a single mom. I loved being a lawyer, but it was impossible to maintain the traditional work schedule of an associate attorney. I decided to start my practice – I didn’t know exactly how I would make it work, but I knew I needed to take control if I would ever figure it all out. Over the next several years, I learned everything I could about growing and scaling a law firm. Along the way, I always made sure that I could accommodate my kid’s needs. 

By growing a team, delegating responsibilities, and using technology, I built a business that I could run side by side with my family responsibilities. 

I wrote my book, Mom’s A Lawyer: How to Start a Firm and Take Control of Your Life, and created the companion digital course, as the guide I wish I had when I started as a new law firm owner and mother. I was overwhelmed by the number of women attorneys who wanted to build family-friendly practices, and I launched my consulting and coaching firm to further support other law moms.


Why do you reject both the workaholic lawyer and martyr mom archetypes? 

A: Both of these archetypes are harmful and outdated. There are so many modern developments in the legal profession that make it possible to provide excellent services and excel financially without working yourself to death. 

Technology, automated systems, team-based organization, and flat fees mean we can be profitable without working 60-hour work weeks. As moms, we can take care of our health and happiness, achieve our ambitions, and still be incredible mothers. Family should be a source of love and joy – we don’t need to lose ourselves just to take care of the people we love.


How would you make the legal profession more accessible to working moms? 

A: We need to normalize the needs of working parents. As the number of working moms has increased, we’ve been tasked with balancing out these two sides – work and home. 

As a profession, we need to recognize that having families and personal responsibilities is a reality, not a weakness. We need to embrace change in culture and professional norms. As employers, we should be looking for ways to support employees. At my firm, every employee starts with five weeks PTO and full benefits. We offer flexible options to accommodate things like snow days and when a team member needs to stay home with a sick kid.  

We contribute to society in both our work and in raising families. PTO, parental leave, and flexibility around child care should be the norm. 


About the Author:

Miriam Airington-Fisher, an award-winning, criminal defense & Immigration attorney, entrepreneur, author, and advocate. Her book, “Mom’s A Lawyer: How to Start a Firm and Take Control of Your Life,” empowers lawyer moms to create profitable, family-friendly, and accessible law firms. Miriam’s thought leadership challenges workaholic culture, emphasizes work-life balance, and promotes sustainable work cultures.

Peace in the “let-go”

Peace in the “let-go.” Trust is one way to reduce the mental load.

I am on an Ireland trip with my parents, my three siblings and their spouses. Comparing notes on how we navigated finding reliable care situations for the 13 children we have among us has been astounding. But, we made it. One thing that’s continually coming up for me on this trip is trust. In order to be fully present, I have to trust. And this trip came with a lot of moments requiring it:

  • Trust Chris in driving on the left side of the teeny, tiny roads.
  • Trust that I can handle the cold-plunge, knowing the after-effects are so positive.
  • Trust the kids are doing okay at home, or I will be notified.
  • Trust we’ll find our way back when getting lost on mile 9 of a 5 mile hike.
  • Trust work emails will be handled or if urgent, I will be notified.
  • Trust that our Irish fly-fishing guide will keep us safe.
  • Trust stepping into an enormous, healing seaweed bath of disgusting brown water…

We could all go on with our respective mental loads. May we find peace and presence in the let-go. ~ Mads

“But she’s a mom!”

[Trigger Warning: Suicide]

#Motherhood is hard. Full stop. And while we gravitate to achieving more joy in #workingmotherhood here, it’s not lost on me how lonely and painful the journey can be.

Last month, a friend tragically chose to end her life, leaving her 13-year-old daughter. When my close girlfriend called to tell me this, I couldn’t catch my breath. It was the most shocking and heartbreaking phone call I have ever received. I can’t imagine how hard it was for my friend to even get those words out to me.

Last week, news broke that a well-known mommy blogger, Heather Armstrong, died by suicide. For two decades, she honestly chronicled her parenthood and relationship challenges. She became known as the “Queen of Mommy Bloggers,” helping many women feel seen and paving the way for others to vulnerably join her.

“No one saw it coming.”
“She didn’t seem suicidal.”
“But she’s a mom!”

What I’ve learned these past few weeks – after diving into this complex topic, one I had no real understanding about – is that warning signs were there: feeling like there are no solutions, feeling unbearable emotional or physical pain, talking about being a burden, saying goodbye, withdrawing. I think because she was a mom, no one around her thought she’d leave or was capable of it.

But two things were true at the same time: her suffering was intolerable, and her love for her daughter was immeasurable. Behind her smile, that lit up any room she walked into, she was in pain – from head to toe, inside and out. In her mind, this left her with no choice.

May is #MentalHealthAwareness month and #MothersDay falls within the same month. Perhaps not a coincidence.

This #MothersDay week, I wish you peace, comfort, and hope. You are not alone, even in your darkest of thoughts and days.

(Read more on suicide prevention from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) here: ~ Erica

“Mommy, why don’t you play anymore?”

“Mommy, why don’t you play anymore?”

Last month, @kliola was on stage describing the moment her daughter innocently asked her this question. Her words sank from my ears to my gut in less than a second.

Katherine defended all the forts and games she has orchestrated. She was met with, “No, Mommy, why don’t you really play?”

Whew. You felt that too, right?!

Pretty recently, James expressed a similar observation. He said I “make” the fun, but I don’t “have” the fun. When he said it, I laughed. That’s what moms do, and I accepted his comment as a job well done. But hearing Katherine describe her daughter’s experience hit in some kinda way. It felt different, personal.

Katherine then asked a series of questions that have been on shuffle mode in my brain since:

~What is being?
~How do we feel our being when we are living in the wake of other’s expectations?
~How do we get to being?

The first step for Katherine was having an openness to self-exploration. She got curious about herself. She said phones were an unfortunate landing place for curiosity. That resonated.

Katherine’s vulnerability and willingness to share her journey to being is inspiring mine. Maybe yours too. ~Erica


Oh shit, it’s Friday. OSIF?

Just me? Look at this magical photo. Pure freedom…

Do you know how hard it is to get to those 11 minutes??

Weekends are soooo intense – imagine 5 people of different ages, stages, wants, needs, brain development, all trying to hang out?! WTF?! It’s not all magic.

I remember feeling sad to learn that often, weekends are more peaceful when we split up – you take a couple kids, I take a kid, we reconvene for a golf cart ride, babysitter for a few hours here or there, piecing it together in the name of peace.

No matter how much optimization, childcare, move-across-the-country-to-chase-sunshine we create, it still is what it is in this intense phase of life. Living for those small moments of presence, and grounded in our why.

Yesterday, one child was truly in the depths of despair, and the other was in her corner, suggesting box-breathing. How beautiful.

I’m scared every day of the life we’ve built. And therefore alive and growing a little bit every day. They are too.

We grow so they can be better than we. OSIF! ~ @madscaldwell

Ask for what YOU know you deserve, not what they think you’re worth

We’ve heard from a lot of listeners who were inspired by our recent interview, “Stop Devaluing Yourself,” with Veronica Cool. She’s an inspiration for me, as well.

**Adapted from the Transcript**

We are not taught to advocate for ourselves in the same way that boys are taught to advocate for themselves. I’m seeing it with my daughter. We’ll go get our nails done. I’ll sit there and I’ll hate it, and at the end, I’ll say, “this is great.” And my daughter will direct them, “nope, you missed a part here, you need to do this, you need to do that.” At 12.

And part of me is like, “oh my gosh, where did you learn how to do that?” And the other part of me is like, “I just learned from you how to ask for what I want.”

When I would babysit as a teenager, I didn’t know how to ask for compensation for my time. I was taught, “tell them, pay me what you think I deserve.”

I carried that until I met my husband. I remember he was helping me get ready for an annual review. And he asked, “what are you gonna ask for your salary?”

I confidently told him, “well, I always say pay me what you think I’m worth.”

He was in shock, “are you f’ing kidding me? You can’t say that!”

And then I figured out I was making about 30 grand less than some of my male counterparts because I believed my boss would actually pay me what I was worth. Instead, I was a deal.

And while I’m much more aware of my worth now, I am still afflicted by that mindset at times.

May we continue to remind each other and ourselves of our worth. Pay your friends for their services. Budget for any vendor you solicit. And ask for what YOU know you deserve, not what they think you’re worth ❤️. ~Erica

Just your casual division of labor card game lunch date?

Playing @fairplaylife every year or so helps us (me) to eliminate the mental load of all the tasks by getting on the same page about who is in charge of what at this moment in time.

Some examples: Chris – laundry, middle of the night kid wake-ups, and kid magic (elf, tooth fairy etc). Me – breakfasts, schools communication and extra curriculars.

It’s not about equal cards it’s about equity of work – and also, for me, it meant admitting long solo stretches with the kids totally depletes me. To which @chrisgcaldwell looked at me and said something magical: “Mads, I think I was put on this earth to be with kids. I can take on more kid stuff.” Hi, swoon.

It’s also a good way to feel seen by your partner. We happen to have ended up with 34 cards each, which made us laugh, but that’s 34 things each of us do that have been acknowledged. We see each other’s work.

Here’s to an hour long game streamlining our lives and the mental load. Thanks @everodsky!

A Different Kind of Gift Guide

By Krystina Wales

Sometimes the best gifts don’t come in a box, or even wrapped. As inboxes fill to the brim with gift guides and sales — there’s an opportunity to step outside the commercialization of the holidays and think about how gifts can look different than simply another item.

1 – Be Thoughtful
Every Christmas, I handwrite a letter to my closest friends. I tell them what I love most about them, what I admired about them from this year and what their friendship means to me. Even if your love language is not words of affirmation, I find it an exercise in gratitude for myself, savoring the joy these friendships bring me. I have heard feedback that these letters are some of the most treasured gifts my friends receive, acting as a pick-me-up on tough days throughout the next year.

2 – Be Uninhibited
The past three years have been tough on us all. There are endless amounts of statistics I could reference here that talk about declining mental health, the load of work and stress we all carry around with us as a result of the trauma from this epic decade. Sometimes, the best thing we can gift ourselves is to step outside the homes that have held us during this time, feel the icy air in our lungs as we take a deep breath, listening to only the sounds of the air as it enters our nose and then fill the silent expanse with a loud, ass scream.

3 – Be Present
Presence is an action. My good friend and I instituted a thing during the pandemic called Porch Beers. When we desperately needed time together that COVID was robbing us of, we visited each other’s porches after kid bedtime. Sometimes there was beer, sometimes there were snacks. But there were always chairs, carefully placed six feet away from each other, and conversation flowed. When we think about the act of gathering, it matters less the logistics and more the connection. We don’t need to create elaborate settings to have conversation. We don’t need date nights and babysitters to reconnect with our partners. We need found moments to talk about nothing of consequence. No kids, no house, no pets, no work. Just “Gosh, the person I married is f’ing smart and interesting” moments. Presence is an action.

4 – Be Ready to Capture
My 5-year-old popped into a Zoom meeting recently, which was slightly embarrassing as I was interviewing a physician chair whose time is limited. The doctor was gracious and allowed my 5-year-old to speak and when she went back downstairs the physician said, “I hope you are recording that little voice. It won’t last forever.” Record your little ones rambling on incoherently with a story they made up or a song they love to sing. Capture the fleeting moments now. Record an interview with your grandparent and ask them questions about their life, their childhood, what informed their choices and what turning points shaped their lives. All our memories are inherently flawed, and while we believe when we are in these moments that they will never end, they will and you will want to revisit them someday.

5 – Be the Light
We have all had moments when we receive a call from a sibling, a child or a friend who vents about their day—stress at work or with kids or with a partner. We listen, we offer advice and then we hang up and move on. Sometimes the need behind the call isn’t articulated with words. Sometimes we need to listen for the wish behind the call. Show up with dinner, order a pizza, offer to clean their house or watch their kids. Pick them up and take them for a trail hike and say nothing as you walk among the trees. Everyone has a skillset. Everyone has an ability to act in ways that feel real and true to the relationship. You can unburden someone with the sole knowledge that you care enough to act.



This mama of two and rockstar partner is fueled by coffee and making a difference. Whether through ad copy as a healthcare marketer, personal narratives on parenthood or narration around the table with friends and a good beer, Krystina Wales knows how to tell a story … and she’s damn good.



Check out our traditional gift guide here.

Rest Takes Vulnerability

3 people have positively commented on my parenting this week.

I have the awareness to know that it’s important for me to receive the compliment.

So I did – with my words.

But I’m just now sitting down to try to receive it with my soul and body.

Nothing has made me feel more like hugging them and sobbing at the same time.

I felt seen in a really intimate way. Like parenting when no one’s watching but they were.

But my walls went up –

Do I compliment their parenting? Point to the money and time poured into therapists and coaches?

We are coming off of 9 months of the most intentional and intense parenting we’ve ever done.

I have very few regrets with our adoption process. I’m really proud.

But my body really needs to receive this as a way to rest.

Not just for a second but to move into rest. It’s time to rest and recover.

I know this. So I’m trying to receive it.

I advocate for feeling our full spectrum of emotions, and I’m getting better at it.

But motherhood – it’s so strong and fragile and vulnerable.

Like the most vulnerable thing ever.

And guess what? Rest takes vulnerability.

So I’m trying. Receiving. Sharing. To rest and recover.

Thank you for listening.

Working Mom Hour: The 2022 Holiday Gift Guide

Thanks to our guests and growing community, we’ve curated a list of products and services designed to bring you a little self-care joy this  holiday season. 

Explore below!


For Inner Peace | The Monk Manual 
The Monk Manual™ is a daily system designed for peaceful being and purposeful doing. Monk Manual

Deal: Use WMH10 for 10% off at checkout.


For Balanced Wellness | Commons
Natural wellness solutions to optimize your daily health.

Deal: Head to this link & use WMH15 for 15% off your first order.


For Outfit Indecision | Jenny Zook and the Confidence Collective
Jenny Zook’s ultimate guide to building your wardrobe for every season.

Deal: Pre-order the 2023 Winter Capsule & get this year’s for free + 10% with code WMH.


For New Year’s Resolutions | Right to be Relevant
Tools for self-awareness and finding self-compassion.

Deal: Use WORKINGMOMS from now until Jan. 1 for free shipping on all decks.


For Chill-y Days | Curio Wellness
Enjoy premium products from the #1 medical cannabis brand in Maryland.

Deal: Local to Maryland? Stop by @fardottermaryland, mention the Working Mom Podcast & get 25% off any full-priced Curio Wellness product in either the dispensary or the holistic pharmacy.


Happy shopping! 

Check out our post on a different kind of gift guide here.