A working mom’s reflection as the school year comes to an end.

By the third week of March 2020, we were forced to immediately change our normal. Before the Covid-19 pandemic directly affected my life, my normal was jam-packed on a daily basis – from guzzling coffee and eating pop-tart scraps for breakfast, to dropping off my 3rd and 8th grade boys at school, to rushing into the office for a full schedule of phone calls, meetings, drafting and negotiating, to possibly squeezing in a quick bite or energy bar at my desk. I was lucky to be home by 7:00 p.m. on weeknights or to make it on time for my sons’ basketball or baseball games. My pre-Covid-19 weekends were also full – from youth sports, laundry, errands, to catching up on work, and of course . . . too much laundry.  To say the least, “this momma was busy” and my schedule had little, if any, down time – yet, it was predictable and my normal.

Like me, my children were forced to adjust quickly – bedrooms turned into classrooms and iPads became a primary tool for instruction.  I attended grade school in the 1980’s – there was no Internet, no Zoom, no cell phone, and no Alexa.  Yet ironically, in navigating how to help my children with algorithms, fractions, and the pronoun’s antecedent, I never hesitated to Google definitions and ask Alexa to check our math.  Suddenly, practicing law and managing my insane schedule was tranquil, and explaining lattice multiplication and making paint from blueberries was chaotic.

Classes ended for my children last Friday and as I reflect on the last ten weeks, I feel a tremendous amount of gratitude for the teachers and our school, as they designed and steered this course into unknown territory with patience and grace. I am also grateful for my career and to work for an astonishing and caring firm, that supports and encourages us to stay strong and stay the course despite the obstacles we face.  And, although neither Google nor Alexa can describe what our new normal will be in the future, our children are more resilient and stronger for having traveled this journey in 2020, and I am forever grateful to have treaded water with them.


Emily CowlesEmily H. Cowles is a partner at Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, LLP, and member of the Board of Directors for Women Leading Kentucky.




Are you a professional woman looking for connections and opportunities in Central Kentucky? Women Leading Kentucky is the premiere organization for professional women’s networking in Lexington and the surrounding area. We host events online and in-person that will help you extend your network and reach new business partners and opportunities. Join us at our next event!


Featured photo by Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash.