I love my job. Being a Mississippi family law attorney has proven to be a constructive and positive way for me to use my talents. I love people. I love serving others. I enjoy walking clients through one of the most difficult and darkest seasons of their lives. I feel called to this profession. Because of this calling, I believe it’s my responsibility to serve others in this way.

That being said, family law is as hard on the attorneys as it is on our clients. I love the law. I love researching the law, talking about the law, arguing the law. That’s easy and fun to me. What’s hard is the emotional part- the life blood, the energy expended in defending my clients. Emotionally, I see some really sad stuff. It hurts me that my clients are living it. I do a lot of counseling and encouraging. My clients need me to assure them that it’s going to be okay, that they will survive the present and thrive in the future.

After leaving the office, sometimes it’s difficult to be “up” for my kids in the afternoons. I want to be present when they are telling me about their day – whether it was “the best day ever” or “the worst day ever”… and why. Just as my clients deserve my best at work, my kids deserve my best outside of work. Notice I didn’t say home – we are hardly ever there! I have to visually close one compartment of my life, the strong, determined attorney, and open another… the mommy compartment. This is, of course, my favorite compartment of all. My kids deserve all of me. Do they get all of me? In truth, much less than I’d like. But I do continue to strive to be totally present for them.

Likewise, your children deserve your best. While I have not been through a divorce as a spouse, thank God, I have been through my parents’ divorce as a young teenager. I have been though countless divorces in my career. I have about twenty going at any given time. None of them are easy. I pray for all my clients. I take their problems home. I pray for their children. I know no other way to practice.

Maybe you are experiencing marital strife, divorcing, or trying to live after the divorce is final. If so, your kids have been through your experiences (polite word for garbage), too. They deserve your best. Whether in your car, on the ball field, at home, or at Walmart, they want you. They need to know it’s going to be okay. They need a mommy and a daddy present for them. In crisis, people tend to be totally wrapped up on their own thoughts and feelings. Stop. Reflect on how your children have been doing in the crisis. How are they feeling? What are they thinking? They need you. Be present to them. That’s all they need and want, besides being assured that everything is going to be okay. Make it about them. And when you find yourself just struggling to survive your situation, at least you’ll have the peace of knowing that you’re doing your very best where your children are concerned. After all, isn’t that what’s most important?

Alicia Baladi

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