Being a working mom is hard, and it can often feel like "a day late and a dollar short" is the best case scenario: missed deadlines, forgotten dry cleaning, and never, ever seeing friends. But we don't have to reinvent the wheel to figure out a better way through. Just look around at all the super successful moms kicking ass on a daily basis.
This Is How I Do It is our day-in-the-life series featuring some of these impressive women who juggle big careers and families with grace and humor. Their stories won't literally do your laundry and pack your kids' lunches while you answer email, but they offer an honest peek at how someone else gets her life together every day.
Laura Allison Wasser, 49, is a family law attorney (who's represented some big talent) and the founder of It's Over Easy, a new site dedicated to all things divorce. She's a single mom to two excellent sons, Luke, 12, and Jack, 8.
My day to day:
5:30 a.m. – Alarm goes off (groan, it’s dark). Check and return emails. Text boyfriend, Matt.
5:45 a.m. – Feed Jethro, the dog. Set out for a run. This is the meditation portion of my day. If I do not have to be in court, I am able to get in a solid hour of fresh-air, cardiovascular head-clearing alone time.
6:45 a.m. – Get home, hydrate, do some sit-ups, and wake up the kids with kisses, good morning sunshines, and drape/shutter-opening.
7 a.m. – Shower, check and return emails.
7:05 a.m. – Wake up kids again – this time for real and with far less sweetness. Make breakfast, blow-dry hair, dress, apply some makeup, encourage kids to eat breakfast, pack snacks, backpacks, and briefcase.
7:45 a.m. – Leave for school. On days when I have to go to court this is where I part way with my kids as I have to leave to head downtown. If I don’t have to go to court, and it is not a school-drive day, I am able to go to Pilates from 8-9 a.m.
8:15 a.m. – Drop off Luke, honk and wave embarrassingly as we pull away.
8:30 a.m. – Drop off Jack, this includes parking and walking him in (no embarrassment here — yet — he even holds my hand), seeing new classroom projects, getting awesome goodbye hugs, and checking in with teachers and other parents. I love our school. It goes from kindergarten to 12th grade on an upper and lower school campus (hence the double drop off as Luke began upper school in September). I am proud to be on our board of trustees, which keeps me informed and involved even though I cannot be on campus or in the classroom as much as some of the other parents.
8:30-9:30 a.m. – Brave the brutal drive back over the hill to my office. Try to check and return emails and calls while driving. This is difficult as reception is terrible through the canyon. Text boyfriend at red lights.
9:30 a.m. – Arrive at office, eat a yogurt, and return some more emails and calls. Text boyfriend back. I try to leave some time for traffic, morning organization, and completion of anything that has been left the night before by my assistant before my first morning meeting, which is usually at 10:30 or 11.
10:30 a.m. – Generally I will have client meetings, voluntary settlement conferences, strategy reviews, and conference calls between 10:30 and 1. If we have a hearing coming up, I will read and edit the pleading we have prepared or get familiar with the briefs filed by the opposing counsel.
1:00 p.m. – If possible, I have lunch with the awesome women at my firm. My best friend, Melissa (since second grade at El Rodeo Elementary School in Beverly Hills), is our firm’s office administrator. She and my partners and associates usually head somewhere for lunch. If I can make it, I join. Over the past year, I usually spend lunch at my desk attending to my new online divorce platform, It’s Over Easy.
3:30 p.m – Check in with kids, who are on their way home from school and to various activities. Ask about tests, homework, reptiles (Luke has several pets), dinner plan, etc. Luke now has a smart phone and we Facetime, which may be the one good thing I can say about the fact that Luke has a phone.
6:30 p.m – Try to leave office.
6:45 p.m – Actually leave office.
7:00 p.m – Arrive home. Change into jeans (immediately!). Review homework, supervise reptile feeding, read with Jack, and figure out dinner. We will generally either eat something Laney, our nanny, has cooked (we are currently experimenting with slow-cooker recipes), order in, or go for sushi. During the summer months, when it stays light later, I will ask Laney to prep for me, and I will cook one of my three-to-five go-to dishes. This makes my boys happy. It usually makes my hands smell like garlic for the next several days. In the summer, dinner is followed by a night swim which cuts the garlic with a chlorine smell, but that's another article.
8:00 p.m – Review and return emails. Text boyfriend.
8:30 p.m – Jack to bed.
9:00 p.m – Luke to bed.
9:30 p.m – Luke really to bed (at least the lights better be out and phone removed from room).
10:00 p.m – Wash face, brush teeth, moisturize, take vitamins. Review and return emails, prep for whatever is happening tomorrow — court, settlement conferences, meetings, etc. Get into bed with my Kindle. I am a voracious reader and a few pages, or chapters, before bed helps me quiet my mind and get a good night of sleep.
10:30 p.m – Text boyfriend. Go to sleep.
(By the way, all of this may seem quite boring, but on Tuesdays and alternate weekends when my kids are at their dads’ homes, I have a date night with Matt, and it is far more glamorous and exciting. Actually the schedule is pretty much the same, but there is wine, flirting, and adult conversation as opposed to second-grade reading materials. I still climb into bed about 10, but it is with Matt not my Kindle.)
My current passion project:
My current passion project is It's Over Easy, the online divorce website that I founded and officially launched on January 25. It is a platform that enables divorcing couples to go through the divorce process online quickly and simply, thanks to artificial intelligence, education about the laws in each state via pop-up videos, and mediation. Additionally, the site offers a ton of content regarding dissolution-related issues, custody calendars, and tips on structuring a parenting plan, our own support calculators, and much more.
There is a referral wall with recommendations on everything from co-parenting counsellors to financial planners to post-divorce makeover specialists. We hope to become the go-to online divorce resource to assist families transitioning from one household structure to their next chapter in an amicable and cost-effective way. It is a project I’ve envisioned for many years now — a resource that allows couples and families to be the masters of their own destiny — and it has been so gratifying to work so hard on it and finally launch it.
The best part of my day:
When I get home from my run. It is super quiet in our house and Jethro the dog greets me. We head upstairs for the first kid wake-up call, and they are both so sweet and sleepy and yummy. It is everything I love about being a parent.
The one thing I wish I didn't have to do:
I wish I didn’t have to drive so much. The traffic in L.A. is horrific and getting anywhere is a total time suck.
The one thing I always worry about:
I always worry about TIME. It seems there is never enough of it.
The secret to being a successful working mom is:
Wow, I have no idea. If someone discovers it, please let me know.
The one thing I would tell other working moms:
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson.
In other words, Keep up the good work, you got this!
Becoming a mother changed this about me:
When I had Luke, it felt as if another chamber had grown on my heart. This happened again with Jack. You feel as though you cannot imagine loving or caring or feeling anymore and then, just like that, there is more. Every priority shifted. Things that used to be crucial, no longer were as important. My reason for being became and remains these two little people. Participating in their evolution is the most joyful, wondrous, compelling experience every single day of my life. As they grow and mature, they become more independent and life shifts slightly back to other activities and projects, but they remain the underlying raison d'etre.
Who helps raise your kids? Tell us about your village: I am totally blessed to have two amazing co-parents; one dad for each of my sons. They are absolutely integral to our children’s lives and between the three of us (and the others who will be applauded below) we are raising kind, intelligent, happy, conscious, curious, funny, well-adjusted humans.
Our nanny, Laney; weekend babysitter, Samantha (and her awesome boyfriend Mansai); my dear friend and assistant, Erica; and our housekeeper, Irma, are also queens in our village. My mother drives in from Malibu each Monday to pick the boys up and spend the afternoon with them (we call it Gramma Bunny Monday). I also have some amazing friends — some of whom I have known since childhood and some of whom I met through my own children. Through work, our neighborhood, and our fantastic school community, our village is quite complete and generally functional.