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Archive for the ‘Lawyer Moms’ Category

The Scene:  Harried working mom on her way home after a 12+ hour day, about an hour longer than she planned with.  The mom is wrought with guilt, feeling the pressure of months of a heavy work load.  She is concerned that her family is starting to get sick of it.  At the same time, said Mom is kinda tickled over her new iPhone, and is fussing with it in the backseat of the taxicab when she receives a text from her daughter:

E:  When are you coming home?

M:  I should be there by 7:30. Why?

E:  I just wanted to know.

M: Are you mad?

E:  No.

M:  Sorry that I’m running late.  It was a busy day.

E:  It’s okay.

M:  Are you sure?

E:  MOM!  I’m watching Heroes!  Stop texting me!

M:  So, here I am, feeling guilty that you’re missing me because I’m working too much, and in reality, you just want me to stay gone long enough for you to finish your television show?

E:  That about sums it up.  Now can you stop texting me?

Harumph.

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Beloved is in graduate school.  He attends a pretty cool low-residency program in Vermont specializing in children’s literature.  He’s doing really well, and is accomplishing VERY long-standing goals.  However, we (you may have noticed) do not live in Vermont.

Because it is low-residency, he only has to attend school twice a year, for 10 days.  January and July.

Last January, I was such a baby-lawyer, I could barely open my eyes.  I was a little busy, and it made me nervous when he was gone.  What if something comes up?  What if I get a new assignment?  But it was fine, and I think I left at 4:30 every day.

Last July – the girls were in the Middle of the Country with the Ex, and Beloved and I had already started our moving process.  There were no difficulties.

This January – total different picture.

I’m fully engaged in a case that is culminating this month in every way.  Discovery is closing, summary judgment is being filed, experts are being hired, court hearings are happening.  It’s insane.  INSANE.  And I’m heavily involved in every aspect of it.

I was already nervous – that getting out of work at a reasonable hour was going to be difficult.  Of all months, this is the one where deadlines happen.  I was nervous.

Then, ha ha!  What made me think I knew what nervous was?

It looks like I have the great honor of traveling to a very different part of the country to tend to one of the many aspects of the case that is my Life, even though it’s a bit beyond my seniority level.  It just so happens to be during Beloved’s absence (and over days that are (a) a national holiday, and (b) inauguration day.  Feh.)

At first, it looked like it was just one day, and it was a day that was a school holiday, so I knew that the kids would be fine with friends.  Then it ended up two days, and two long days – long enough that once you add in travel, it may affect 4 days.  Yikes.  Beloved’s only gone for 10 days — I’m having issues for HALF of them?  Unbelievable.

I was going to post about how my decision to make my community one of my many priorities with my time becomes oh-so-valuable in times of need.  I have friends that I can ask for a hand – friends who I’ve given a hand to in the past, and who know that I’m an active and engaged member of our community.

But now, it seems like my needs are too big, and instead, I’m turning to family.  I’ve begged my mother to (re)arrange her work schedule so she can come while I’m gone.

E is mad at me – she overheard me talking to a friend who is my back-up plan, and insists that I hadn’t told her the whole story about next week before telling the friend.  She is mad about the options I have considered for her while I’m gone.  Some friends are out of favor, and others are just plain old “annoying.”  Humorously, she thinks she should be left home alone.

It was hard not to laugh at that one.

All in all, the stress levels are high.  I keep thinking about how, in the past, I’ve looked forward to certain things – or dreaded them – and then they happen.  And before I know it, it’s behind me.

I keep telling myself … it will be January 22nd before I know it.  Beloved will be home, and this difficult time will have passed.  i have a lot of friends.  I am very lucky.  The girls are well-loved, and people are happy to be supportive.  We live in an awesome community, where people are nearby and hyper-willing.

It will be okay.

And I will miss my Beloved.

And I am sad that I should be more supportive, and excited with him about his exciting time, and instead, I’m kinda on the verge of tears over my own stress and fears.  He gives so much, and deserves better.

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Years old!

Today was my birthday.

Through fantastic home cooked meals, disproportionate investments by offspring, phone calls from loved ones, and yes, Facebook Wall posts, I felt as loved and celebrated as I wanted to.

And through 10s of thousands of documents that HAD to be reviewed today, and the ever-growing to-do list at work and at home (i.e., kids’ school commitments, which may or may not include, oh, i don’t know, producing a major school play????), I was reminded that 3 dozen is far from 3.  Or One Dozen.  I am old.  And my birthday does not matter all that much, except to those who are dear to me.  And I thank them for their love and consideration.

Onward !!!  (because tomorrow is Beloved’s birthday!  And I have gifts to wrap, and a cake to wrap!!!)

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I do not write this blog to educate others.  I am not here to give you instruction or advice.  There have been times that people have read my blog and thought perhaps I would have some advice, or experiences to share, and they’ve written to me through my publicized e-mail, and they received the advice and they’ve received more details. Through a private conversation.

If you want to know what it’s like to be a lawyer-mom, then you’re going to have to find people who want to tell you what it’s like.  You don’t have the luxury of just browsing the internet and stumbling on this blog, which is MINE (not yours), and having that particular detail of my life exposed to you.

Blogs are public.

My job is important to me.

It is not the fodder for public commentary.

Regardless of the “honesty” that you feel I have somehow committed to just by using up this URL.

Having a blog has NOTHING to do with my livelihood.  I will not risk one for the sake of the other.

If you want “honesty” from people – dig a little fucking deeper than clicking on a link.  That’s not where real sharing comes from in my life.

Real sharing comes from a give and a take – from an investment in each other’s lives.  From some sort of trust which – in my opinion – cannot be built amongst strangers.

Hell – in my experience – real trust can barely be built through years of friendship.

So if you want more – give more.  Make a fucking effort.   Don’t just sit there whining about other people’s choices and other people’s refusal to hand you your life’s research on a platter.

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Holy shit.Work is just –  INSANE.I feel like if anyone who works in a big firm reads this, they will just laugh at me:Oh my god!  I billed 67 hours this past week!Yeah, it felt like a lot.  I’ve admitted to the fact that I’ve been spoiled up until now.Work and kids were hugely intertwined over the weekend; but I got a lot done.It’s been crazy but good.I know my weaknesses – they haven’t changed.I need to slow the fuck down.  I need to double check myself.I need to take less on.It’s hard, though.  Especially as a beginner.  Us newbies had a hard time getting a full plate.   I kept getting assignments with the promise that it would be “oh-so-busy” and instead, the matter was stayed for one reason or another.  So I’d ask for another.  And that one would be stayed.So I ended up with a list of 6 or 7 cases that I was on.On about Christmas time, all stays were lifted.I’m now the world’s most busy-est woman.  [oh, i guess i know that’s not true.]I don’t really mind.I just wish my husband was home.I miss his adorable face, and his apple-cheeks, and his overall presence.

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9:24 p.m.

That is what time I called my husband to say “I’m coming home, now.”

Definitely a record.

My first LATE night.

I felt I owed it to the girls to explain that I wasn’t going to make it home, so I spoke with each of them on the phone.  E said, “okay, bye” (really not caring.)  J turned the screws pretty hard.  She was not happy with me.

So what happened?

3 things have converged at once.  Each one deserving my full time attention, and each one getting 1/2 my attention instead.

That’s 3 halves.

That’s a long day.

Especially when you factor in the fact that I was sitting at my desk before 7:30 a.m.

This week will stay tough.  Next week will see two of the three matters over and one with, and the other on hold.

The timing actually could be a hell of a lot worse.

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And now, my life – my work load – my frantic-ness – actually matches that fact.

What happened?

I worked a LOT during the week between Christmas and New Years.  I was pretty much the only one in the office, because most people had taken the week off.

But working a lot worked.  We had no kids.  Beloved worked as well.  It was FINE.

But yesterday I got slammed.  A lot of dormant issues became live issues and “narrow research questions” became very, very broad.

I also decided back in September that I would take on a certain kid-related extra curricular role.

That started today.  I had a meeting in my town at 8 a.m., which ended at 9:30.  I then RAN to the office, where I worked for just over 9 hours before rushing home to pick back up on the duties for the new school-thing.

In the meantime, I had to coordinate my book group’s next meeting and take care of some details for another kid-related meeting.

Did I mention I have a lot of work to do?   I have a deposition transcript sitting on my lap right now.  (ha!)

Did I mention that my life rocks?   I mean  – Obama’s speech on t.v., my kids dreaming of their first opportunity to vote, exciting and engaging work on my lap, in my office, a vibrant community role that allows me to be reaching out and stretching and meeting new people, a fantastic husband, and the world’s best cat.

What more could I ask for?

[a house]  [shut up!]

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J had a dentist appointment today.

For once, it was good news.

Amen.

The braces have moved her crooked tooth out of the way, and so the orthodontist thought it was time for a surgery consult, to see if we can talk about that next step.

I keep trying to slow them down about surgery.  The orthodontists seem to think that once an adult tooth is inhibited from coming down, it no longer has the power/energy/wherewith-all to come out of the gums anymore.

But ha!!! on them!

Since the braces moved the one tooth out of the way (three weeks ago), her “trapped” tooth has moved at least 2 millimeters!

The oral surgeon said he doesn’t think he’ll be seeing us again.  He thinks the gum may be broken by  Christmas.

J was so happy.  Before he came in and went over the x-rays with us, she was teary in the chair, so unhappy about the prospect of another surgery.

We celebrated.  We had nutella wraps and spent $30 on yarn so she can continue to knit my nephew’s blanket.  (Which is so gorgeous that it’s hard to believe that it is spewing forth from the hands of a 9 year old.)

________________________ 

In order to have an at least partially productive day, I worked from home today.  It felt a little daring – making this decision so early on.  However, it was really the only thing that made sense, in my mind.  It saved me 2 hours of work which would have otherwise been spent in transit.

I think it went well, and as far as I can tell, I was not missed.

I’m not a huge fan of working at home, though, so  there’s no danger of me abusing the freedom to do so when necessary.  I am more focused at work.  I like the social interaction.

Today, though, it was a good thing.

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And I suppose he is right.

But when did we see Wicked? Early October, right?

ONE MONTH LATER

J is in the shower.

E is in her room, huddled with a black witch’s hat on and the soundtrack insert in her hand.

“Defying Gravity” is coming from both mouths, at high volume, in very different parts of the song.

What have we done?

E is begging to go see it in New York.

It’s like she’s 2.

“Again! Again!”

(which for her, at 10 months, was “Ah Dah! Ah Dah!”)

I wish my kids would stop singing.

Beloved tells me there are people who wish their kids would stop playing video games, and others who wish their kids didn’t watch so much t.v., and others who wish their kids would stop drinking and running away from home.

That perhaps my kids constantly singing songs from soundtracks isn’t so bad.

But … I think they’re (or at least E) bordering on obsessed.

___________________________

Today, I was productive. I did unbelievable (for me) amounts of work. Wanna know what I did?

  • Cleaned out my medicine cabinet. It’s now 60% empty.
  • Purged summer clothes from the girls’ drawers (pulled the winter clothes from storage yesterday, while J had a friend over – a friend who could take the items which have since been out grown, so it worked out well. They were also both eager participants in the process, which also helped. E appreciated having the whole thing taken care of while she was out of town).
  • Did 9 loads of laundry. Which was exhausting.
  • Scrubbed the bathroom with bleach. We usually use natural cleaners, and I often assign the sink and the toilet and the sweeping to the girls. But every now and then (in my mind, in my plans – once a month; in reality – twice a year), I do it myself with the powerful cleaners. Today was that day. I last did it the DAY before the bar exam. Maybe two days before. Which is only 4 months … even a little less. Maybe I’m getting better.)
  • Cleaned out the coat closet floor. This entailed much throwing away. Much space-finding for bags (I’m addicted) which have not been used in some time. It was hard.
  • Sorted through our “extras” – which for us is hats, gloves and scarves. I got rid of singles, of those things which were too stained to salvage, of gloves that no longer fit the growing hands in the family. I washed the fleece which seems to be a cat-fur magnet. After they were washed, I went over the more stubborn items with a lint brush. This took at least 2 hours (the lint brush stage). I am so determined that our things WILL NOT have cat fur on them. WILL NOT.
  • Cleaned out under the bathroom sink. It was gross. I filled an entire garbage bag with almost-empty shampoo bottles that I felt, while a student, were too precious to throw away – that I may need them during those days where the loan money had run out and so had the shampoo.  It’s nice to feel that I can now confidently say that when next we run out of shampoo, I can buy some.
  • Took J shopping at the Gap, and bought her jeans that fit; even without the sea levels rising (she’s a 10 Slim, for the most part) and a super-cute dress. I bought Beloved some socks. I bought me black gloves to go with my work-coat, and a grey hat. I bought me funky blue and green striped gloves and a matching scarf to go with my not-work-coat. I bought E nothing. She was in NY.
  • Took J out to lunch at a new place in town. We had a good time.
  • Before the store and lunch, I dragged J to Starbucks with me. I got her a hot cocoa so she didn’t feel like I was a selfish bitch of a mom (I also tricked her BFF and her yesterday into thinking that I was the nicest mom in the world for taking them for hot cocoa after a frigid soccer game, when in reality — it all comes down to my addictions). I later felt a bit conspicuous, walking through the Gap with my Starbucks cup, and my 9 year old child following behind me with her own 9 year old sized Starbucks cup. Hmmm.

I think I will next read Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, because I am a MILF.

But in the meantime, the family is going to eat brownies – in acknowledgment of E’s excellent progress report 3 weeks ago (oops, we lost track of time) and watch Star Trek … after I vacuum.

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I am home from my first business trip.

E started to pout (oh-so-dramatically) prior to my departure on Sunday.

I think that my reaction was 90% a bucking of the mommy-wars and its stereotypes.

When she said, “why do you have to go?”   I felt a twinge.  A twinge of guilt.

And I said:  No!!

And I thought my reaction through, and called her into the room, and I said:

E, I’ve worked hard for this job, and I’ve worked hard for this opportunity.  I don’t feel like I have to go.  I feel like I get to go.  This is a short trip, and it’s one that allows me to do what I’ve worked hard to do!  It is fun for me.  I wish it was here, at home, instead of [in the Middle of the Country], and that I didn’t have to spend time away, but I’m glad it’s a short time I have to spend away.  We aren’t dealing with a week, or two weeks, or a month – we’re dealing with one night.  I am missing one dinner with the family.  ONE!  I missed two per week when I was in school, and it was fine.  Please do not make this a bigger deal than it is.

She later said that a friend of hers had to do without her father for months on end, and that she felt bad for her friend, and would feel bad for herself, if I had to be gone for a long time, but that she understood that this trip was not a long time.

My trip was quick.  It was good.  Beloved and the girls saw a movie, and the girls went to school, and then they watched some old Star Trek episodes, and he made them their favorite meal … and I saw them out the door this morning.

This eve, I mentioned to E – when she was bragging about HER trip this weekend – that we would survive in her absence, and that we all had fun plans as well.  She retorted with,

Ha!  it’s not like we had any trouble surviving YOUR absence, MOM!

I sort of think they may want me to leave again.

I’m trying to decide if it was wrong of me to want this trip.  I was asked on Weds. whether I “wanted” to go.  As if it were my life flashing before my eyes, I considered the pros and cons.

  • My family is prepared
  • I shouldn’t want to leave
  • This is a good experience
  • It would be comfortable to stay home.
  • It would be stupid to stay home.
  • It would be nice to stay home.
  • I would regret staying home. 

“Yes, I want to go.”   

And I am glad I did.

It was a fortunate version of a trip.

Out of town, back in town, all in just over 24 hours.

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