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Grace Johnson: Balancing Motherhood, Marriage and a Family Business

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Navigating a career path from the starting point of entering college can be frightening. We often find ourselves being asked the question, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” Some of the lucky ones have a quick and definite answer, while most of us don’t have a realistic viewpoint on life or know what we want from it. 

As a young student, Grace Johnson found herself in the same dilemma. Looking at her career now as an attorney at Smith & Johnson Law, you may be surprised to learn that Grace found her way to practicing law after taking many different paths in college. 

Choosing Direction
“I have four associates degrees,” Grace laughed as we began our interview. “I was 17 when I started taking classes at Delta College and I originally wanted to be a pharmacist!” After taking a chemistry class and some math classes, she realized this was not the path for her; she quickly changed course and began to fulfill her general education requirements. She continued her education and through some writing classes and a legal studies class, her excitement for law was ignited. “I think we need to encourage young students to try different subjects. Sometimes learning what you don’t want to do can be just as valuable as knowing what career path you want to follow,” she commented.

As a young mother, Grace knew she wanted the ability to support herself and her son. She spent three and a half years studying law at Humphrey’s University and graduated in 2014 with her Juris Doctorate. She chose the path of working in estate planning, probate, real estate and bankruptcy to help her create work-life balance while providing her clients with services they need. 

Work with Families
“Setting the stage for the future with my clients is important to me. I don’t have to completely separate my emotions from my work, I can be there for my clients and help guide them,” Grace explained. “Whether I am working with a family going through probate or consulting a couple on a possible bankruptcy, I can guide them through a sad time and relieve the stress and burden of financial uncertainty.”

Grace and her father, Andrew Smith, have been working together for eight years and proudly help families at all stages of life. “Working with my dad is a blessing. I know he always has my best interests at heart. My mom has even joined the team. She started working in the office about six months ago and she keeps us organized!” smiled Grace. She often finds herself consulting with clients after they have been given the poor advice to only set up a will. Her advice when it comes to estate planning, “A will is usually not enough to avoid probate. Setting up a trust can save people tens of thousands of dollars. Even if you only own a small home, having a trust will cost a fraction of the expense of probate and can save a year of your loved ones’ time.” 

The Juggling Act
How does this working mom find balance for married life, motherhood and a career? I was curious to learn her insight on the topic of balance, as most of us working moms struggle to find it. Grace explained her organizational strategies, including how she re-vamped her schedule and some of the household rules she sets for herself and her family. “I recently had to make a change in my schedule. I had to put myself in check and not feel guilty about the schedule changes I was making at work,” she explained. She was passionate about her “no screen time” during the week rule at home. She mentioned how her time with her son and husband is limited during the week, so instead of watching TV or playing video games, they play board games or different card games on the week nights. “My favorite part of my day is the 20 or 30 minutes I spend with my son reading every night. The time we have is limited but it is quality time and I love the memories we create as a family playing games and reading,” Grace confessed. 

Whether you are navigating a career path or you’re a working mom struggling to find balance, Grace encourages others with this advice. “Focus on what you think is best for you and your family. Don’t compare yourself to other people. Put yourself in check and don’t be afraid to make changes.” 

As we approach a new season and springtime activities begin to fill the calendar, remember to show yourself some grace and remember the best practices shared by Grace Johnson.

For more information on Smith & Johnson Law, please visit smithandjohnsonlaw.com  |  209-333-9292.