My perfect balance? Part-time lawyer, full-time mom

To me, Motherly means. . .bestowing all of the knowledge and life skills you have upon your children.

My perfect balance? Part-time lawyer, full-time mom

Motherly @ Work features the stories and insights of modern women growing their careers—and their families.

Sufi Hariri is one of those mamas. A San Francisco-based lawyer and mom-of-two, she currently works in her family’s law practice, along with her brother, father and husband.

Besides rocking business deals as a part-time lawyer, Sufi is a full-time mom.

“I moonlight as a chauffeur, maid, referee, chef and entertainer.”

Working part-time means that she has enough time to attend mommy-and-me classes, “ from story time at the Reading Bug, ballet at Tutu School, to Music Together classes and frequent visits to local zoos and amusement parks. These are the moments I cherish and look forward to every week,” she explains.

Here’s what Sufi shared with Motherly about how she makes it all work—

My work situation works for me right now because. . .

I go to work part-time and can 100% immerse myself in my career, then when I come home, I can be 100% attentive to my girls.

I get the best of both worlds and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I’m inspired to do this work because. . .

I get to protect the family business that my dad worked so hard to establish.

There is no other client you can be more passionate about than your own family and it drives me to be better everyday.

If I just do this one thing every day my work and home lives run more smoothly.

Make to-do lists!

I have a to-do list for everything—from work issues, to meals, to shopping lists, to activities, I’ve got all topics covered.

I’m old fashioned – I need to handwrite my lists to feel certain that I am not forgetting anything. To that end, I use the Cambridge Business Planner Notebook and Redi-Tag Divider Sticky Notes.
My fave look to rock at work. . .

Slacks, silk shirt, tight blazer, statement necklace with pumps or a conservative suit if I have a court appearance.

My partner supports me by. . .

Being my emotional rock and my most trusted advisor. When my emotions, whether work or family related, get the best of me, he is always the calming voice of reason.

I can lean on him for everything—whether that be reading my brief for court, checking my outfit and offering fashion tips, or letting me vent continually about the same issue. 

He adores my quirky, obsessive-compulsive behavior and always reminds me of what a wonderful mom I am.

He is my best friend, my soul-mate, my business partner and my personal sounding board.

My big crazy dream for work is to one day. . .

To become a Judge (my husband promised to run my campaign).

On the hard days, I remind myself. . .

That I am blessed with an amazing and loving family and that is, in the end, all that matters to me.

The best work advice I ever got was . . .

From the beginning of my career, I have always worried about people underestimating me professionally because I am a woman and because I look far younger than I really am (though I hope that holds true in my elder years!)

I have since been less focused on how to appear strong, and more concerned with being strong, often to the surprise of my counterparts in court.

The childcare situation that works for us right now. . .

My mom plays a huge role in my kids’ lives.

She drops off and picks up my older daughter at school and plays with my youngest daughter in the meantime.

My nanny is also a great help with assisting my mom when both kids are home: playing with them, preparing snacks, meals and laundry for the kids and a bunch of miscellaneous tasks (dishes, bottles, disinfecting toys, cleaning playroom etc.)

Tell us about a typical day in your life:

On the days that I’m working—

7am. . .

I’m supervising my 3 year old as she gets ready for school while also getting my one year old ready for the day (brushing teeth, changing clothe etc.) and then I turn on the television and rush to get myself ready for the day.

9am. . .

Just arrived to work and plowing through my emails and voicemails.

12pm. . .

Having a pre-packed lunch in the conference room with my colleagues (including my husband and brother).

3pm. . .


6pm. . .

Sitting around the dinner table, listening to music, and catching up on my family’s day.

9pm. . .

Sitting on the couch with my husband, watching our favorite television shows with each of our laptops on our lap working away.

On the days I’m with the kids—

7am. . .

I’m supervising my 3 year old as she gets ready for school while also getting my one year old ready for the day (brushing teeth, changing clothe etc.) and then I turn on the television and rush to get myself ready for the day.

9am. . .

Dropping off my older daughter at school and taking the younger one out for “mommy-me” activity.

12pm. . .

picking up my older daughter from school and having lunch at home

3pm. . .

running errands or working at my home office while the girls take a nap

6pm. . .

Sitting around the dinner table, listening to music, and catching up on our day.

9am. . .

Sitting on the couch with my husband, watching our favorite television shows with each of our laptops on our lap working away.

I make time to recharge by. . .

Exercising – I love Soul Cycle and running. It’s my time to zone out and clear my mind of all the “noise.”

To me, Motherly means. . .

bestowing all of the knowledge and life skills you have upon your children.

Perhaps more importantly, to me it means giving my children the tools to develop the knowledge and life skills I may lack so they may reach higher highs.

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This is how we’re defining success this school year

Hint: It's not related to grades.

In the ever-moving lives of parents and children, opportunities to slow down and reflect on priorities can be hard to come by. But, a new school year scheduled to begin in the midst of a global pandemic offers the chance to reflect on how we should all think about measures of success. For both parents and kids, that may mean putting a fresh emphasis on optimism, creativity and curiosity.

Throughout recent decades "school success" became entangled with "academic achievement," with cases of anxiety among school children dramatically increasing in the past few generations. Then, almost overnight, the American school system was turned on its head in the spring of 2020. As we look ahead to a new school year that will look like no year past, more is being asked of teachers, students and parents, such as acclimating to distance learning, collaborating with peers from afar and aiming to maintain consistency with schooling amidst general instability due to COVID.

Despite the inherent challenges, there is also an overdue opportunity to redefine success during the school year by finding fresh ways to keep students and their parents involved in the learning process.

"I always encourage my son to try at least one difficult thing every school year," says Arushi Garg, parenting blogger and mom of a 4 year old. "This challenges him but also allows me to remind him to be optimistic! Lots of things in life are hard, and it's important we learn to be positive during difficult times. Fostering a sense of optimism allows kids to push beyond what they thought possible, like biking without training wheels or reading above their grade level."

Here are a few mantras to keep in mind this school year...

Quality learning matters more than quantifying learning

After focusing on standardized measures of academic success for so long, the learning environment this next school year may involve more independent, remote learning. Some parents are considering this an exciting opportunity for their children to assume a bigger role in what they are learning—and parents are also getting on board by supporting their children's education with engaging, positive learning materials like Highlights Magazine.

As a working mom, Garg also appreciates that Highlights Magazine can help engage her son while she's also working. She says, "He sits next to me and solves puzzles in the magazine or practices his writing from the workbook."

Keeping an open mind as "school" looks different

Whether children are of preschool age or in the midst of high school, "going to school" is bound to look different this year. Naturally, this may require some adjustment as kids become accustomed to new guidelines. Although many parents may wish to shelter our kids from challenges, others believe optimism can be fostered through adversity when everyone is committed to adapting to new experiences.

"Honestly, I am yet to figure out when I will be comfortable sending [my son] back [to school]," says Garg. In the meantime, she's helping her son remain connected with friends who also read Highlights Magazine by encouraging the kids to talk about what they are learning on video calls.

Following children's cues about what interests them

For Garg, her biggest hope for this school year is that her son will create "success" for himself by embracing new learning possibilities with positivity.

"Encouraging my son to try new things has given him a chance to prove that he can do anything," she says. "He takes his previous success as an example now and feels he can fail multiple times before he succeeds."

There's no denying that this school year will be far from the norm. But, perhaps, we can create a new, better way of defining our children's success in school because of it.

This article was sponsored by Highlights. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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12 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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Two weeks. I cannot believe that it has been two weeks since my second son was brought into this world. Two weeks since my husband and I welcomed baby Simon, the final piece of our little family.

But, here is the whopper: It has been two weeks since I have been the mom of a toddler and a newborn. I am now responsible for taking care of two tiny humans.

It absolutely blows my mind how much my life has changed in the last two weeks. It's definitely not all rainbows and unicorns around here, but things are going pretty well. This is me being cautiously optimistic.

What I have done is learned a lot about myself, my kids and my new life in the last two weeks.

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