First day back at work tomorrow. Just like Nina Simone I am ‘Feeling Good’ as I mentally plan the year ahead. Last year’s slate has been wiped clean. In the absence of abject failure, there is always hope. As ever, the plan is to simultaneously be a decent wife/mother/family member, run a house, produce high quality work, develop my career, participate in the community and find more time to live. I propose to take it one day at a time, but tomorrow and the rest of the year will look like more like this:
6 a.m. Wake up following restful sleep to the sound of ocean waves crashing on the beach (new iphone setting) – surprisingly irritating, but it does the trick. 30 mins of yoga and mindfulness. Have rainforest shower and get dressed in the clothes I laid out last night. Drafting until the early hours, closing my eyes for what feels like 30 seconds, hitting the snooze button at least three times and jumping out of bed in a wild panic is a thing of the past.
7 a.m. Precious teenagers wake up in good spirits and insist on making breakfast. There is no school/university for a few more days and they are so grateful for all the Christmas presents they received. Apply finishing touches to my make-up, as Generation Z’s finest examples, prepare a breakfast of toast, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs with fruit smoothies. Enter kitchen to find all three working together in peace and harmony. As Dear Husband is still connected to his dialysis machine Teenager 1 kindly and thoughtfully decides to make him ‘breakfast in bed.’
7.30 a.m. Have 30 mins to test Teenager 2 on French grammar and discuss with Teenager 3 how Chinua Achebe reveals character in ‘Things fall apart’. We all enjoy it so much I almost lose track of time. Remove bento box filled with pitta wedges and crudité with home-made hummus from the fridge. Place bento box in wheelie case.
8 a.m. Empty dialysis bags. Dear Husband and teenagers fondly wave me off with hugs and kisses.
8.45 a.m. Get off tube one stop early and walk through Regent’s Park which, despite the time of year, is bathed in glorious sunshine.
9.00 a.m. Arrive at client’s premises. Emailed General Counsel last week with list of documents I want to inspect. They have been laid out in the conference room in alphabetical order. There is an accurate case summary. The bundles are paginated, there is a key and a chronology.
2 p.m. ‘Work smarter not harder’ utilised to full effect. All files reviewed; legal advice drafted and the meeting with the management board is brought forward. Say ‘No’ to kind offer to provide LPP advice to night lawyers during half term.
3 p.m. Arrive home. House has been cleaned from top to bottom. Leak in utility room has been fixed. Bins have been taken out. Smell of baking in the oven. Just enough noise emanating from upstairs to avoid suspicion. ‘Grandad’’ remembers who I am today. He promises to take me to park to play on the swings after school tomorrow and buy me a vanilla ice-cream with a flake. Access school website and diarise all event and trips for 2019 using colour coding for each child.
7 p.m. Dear Husband serves up delicious dinner with latest dietary requirements catered for. Teenagers ask for more vegetables – no need to Google scurvy. No electronic devices at the table. We discuss world affairs, hopes, dreams and ambitions for the future. Pack files and laptop for tomorrow.
10.30 p.m. Bedtime. Remember to change alarm sound.
Yes, this year is going to be much better - confident, ambitious and ready to embrace new challenges. Less about having it all; more about not doing it all.
Margaret Obi is an independent legal assessor for various regulatory bodies. She undertakes independent reviews relating to the Serious Fraud Office, National Crime Agency and Financial Conduct Authority investigations. She is also an independent Chair and conducts investigations as an independent assessor. In September 2018 she was appointed as a Deputy High Court Judge.
IWD is an opportunity to build on the progress that has been made towards gender parity and to celebrate the achievements of women on a global scale. This year, #BalanceforBetter.