Ketanji Brown Jackson on Being A Lawyer and A Mother

Ketanji Brown Jackson on Being A Lawyer and A Mother

Ketanji Brown Jackson, an Associate Judge of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., took to The Huffington Post to write an article about what it’s like to be a lawyer and a mother—and how Ketanji Brown manages to keep these two demanding roles going at the same time. Here’s what she had to say: On top of all that, I also get to be a mom to two young children who are four and six years old now and with whom I spend most of my time while they are awake and sometimes while they are asleep too!

Learning New Skills of Ketanji Brown

It’s hard to find time to go to the gym, and sometimes when I’m working at my full-time job, I’ll do a workout right before coming home. I also get up early in the morning and work out before work if I can manage it. My routine changed with kids – but no matter what, exercise is not an option for me. It just needs to happen every day!

It’s not enough to be in shape. You need to take on a new challenge and learn a new skill too. Even just learning something you can use to show off at home will help you feel fulfilled. How do you want to improve yourself? Do you want to run a marathon? Do more pull-ups?

Take up skateboarding? Sign up for one of those classes that teach social skills – it doesn’t have to make sense! If there is something that fits your skill level, go for it!

Letting Go Of Perfectionism

I thought I could have it all, and I put too much pressure on myself to make that happen. You have to be able to let go of perfectionism.

I was trying to be perfect at being a lawyer, mother, and wife. So if I wasn’t able to come home after putting in a 14-hour day to do something for my children or put dinner on the table for my family, then there was something wrong with me.

The three ‘F’s: Family, friend, first.

It’s all about prioritizing. Prioritize your mental health and take time for yourself. Take time for others. It’s okay to ask for help and put yourself first sometimes.

Letting Go Of Control

Brown Jackson makes it clear that it is not a position or responsibility that one can do halfway. I think what happens is that people try to compartmentalize things, and say ‘my profession, my personal life, my house.’ But they’re all connected.

While Ketanji Brown has learned to be more efficient with her time and more mindful of the balance between work and life (she instituted a rule of leaving work at 5:30), this was not always the case. For years as an associate at Morrison & Forester in San Francisco, Ketanji Brown had a flexible schedule–working 9-to-5 on Fridays, then getting up early on Saturday to get caught up before going into the office on Sunday evening.

It wasn’t until after Brown Jackson had a baby thatKetanji Brown began to prioritize her time and learn to let go of some control. But even now, with three kids and a demanding job, it’s something she works on every day. It’s about asking for help in ways that you may not be used to, Ketanji Brown says. I don’t have an assistant because I want my assistant.

Living in the Present Moment

One of the most challenging things is making time for myself. I still find I’m on my to-do list, trying to fit everything in, and then I get overwhelmed. Brown saidKetanji Brown decided to meditate daily, telling herself that if she only had 10 minutes a day for herself, it would be worth it.

Ketanji Brown soon realized that meditation helped her look at situations from a different perspective. If I had three hours of anything in the day, no matter what was going on, it would make all the difference, Brown said.  Now Ketanji Brown starts every morning with 10 minutes of meditation followed by 30 minutes of exercise.

I am a very optimistic person. I try to focus on what’s happening today or next week, or next month. I have learned that it doesn’t help to look too far out into the future.

It’s not going to get me where I want to go if I worry about things in a few months. My goal is to be fully present in my life and practice gratitude every day. Be here now, be with people and do good work while you are here because that is all there is.

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