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Posts Tagged ‘working mom’

[This post has been sitting in draft-form since mid-December … largely because of the things explained here – I was too busy to finish it.  I find myself coming back to continue the theme, but realized I hadn’t followed through on starting the theme.]

I’ve read on several blogs that us lawyer moms are too close-to-the-chest with the reality of our work-life balance issues.  I have always hesitated to say much in that regard because my job is important to me, and I’m not willing to have a bitch-fest in a public forum.  Not that I’ve had much to bitch about, really, for the most part.  I also don’t think “oh, things are going so well!  I come home at 5:30 every day!” sounds all that genuine.  Even though for almost my entire first year, it was true.

Now, however, I am willing to share my recent challenges.  I am challenged because the case I am working on is in the throes of a discovery deadline.  I am challenged because this is what I went to school to do.  It is no fault of my firm or the partners and senior associates that I am working with that the opposing party filed a motion to compel that required our response the Monday after Thanksgiving.  Everybody on my team (a small one) is working as hard as I am – likely harder.  The senior people are certainly juggling more cases than I am, and they are adding in a ton of travel on top of the things we’re doing together that have me running ragged.

The past few weeks (or so) have been hectic, chaotic, harried, stressful and generally insane.  I feel like the first year of easy-breezy first year associate life came to an abrupt end somewhere in October.  Or so.  Or maybe before – I’m not really sure, because it’s all a blur.  

A big reason for the all-out chaos, however, is because I refuse to put certain things aside.  E was in a play during this madness, and I prioritized that.  Not only attending the play (all 4 performances), but fulfilling my commitments and responsibilities  to pitch in to the parent-run event.  I was completely unwilling to let her – or my community – down.  I informed the partner and the associate that I work with early in the week, and assured them that I was willing to work late nights (at home, after the play) and early mornings in order to make up for the lost time.  

In retrospect, I could have worked during the play, late nights, and early mornings, and done a better job.  But I don’t for a second regret that I kept that time sacred.  

I have been exhausted.  Before the holidays, I had been functioning on very little sleep during the weeks.  I was setting my alarm for 5 and 6 a.m. on the weekends, and parking myself and my research at our dining room table for the entire day.  Or at least until the latest possible moment before stopping to cook dinner for dinner guests, or to dress for a holiday party.  

During the holidays, despite making very early announcements that I planned to take the week of Christmas off (because my sister was coming to town), I ended up working almost every day that wasn’t a real “holiday.”  The stress levels were high, and there was a lot going on.  

So I guess now I know what it really means to be a lawyer.  To juggle at a frantic pace, to see 7:30 or 8 p.m. as a perfectly reasonable dinner time for a family of four …  and a couple of times, to miss dinner time (as many times in the past month or two as I had in the entire last year).  And now, to top it all off, travel is starting to creep in as a possibility on a regular basis.  

It’s been tough.  But I knew that going in, and I enjoy having work that keeps me mentally engaged.  I also am more than aware of the fact that layoffs in law firms are becoming almost routine, and I’m grateful to have this job.  I do not think it’s irrational to work my ass off right now in exchange for a feeling of security and stability.  I hold onto the reality of peaks and valleys.  Once we hit our deadline on January 30th, I may find myself twiddling my thumbs.*

And, as always, I can’t really talk about my comfort level with the situation without talking about Beloved, and his daily presence.  The girls are not alone – they are not knocking around an empty house.  If that were the case, I would be much less comfortable.  But instead, they have help with their homework, they are helping him and learning to cook, they are working on projects.  

Anyway.  These are my balance struggles.  Which I should likely keep dumping onto this forum, rather than whining to everybody in my day-to-day life about how busy I am.

* which could also be read as: putting all my time and attention to the school play that I am PRODUCING.  What the heck?

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I had a delicious time off.  It was absolutely rejuvinating, and a great time for the girls and I.  We had a lot of together time, including conversations, games of Monopoly, Frisbee sessions, walks, frappucinos, smoothies, races, long drives to Connecticut, a day in New York City, time with the grandparents and with the baby cousin, etc.

Now they’re singing, and it’s giving me a headache.  They’re bickering, and it’s like fingernails down the chalkboard.

Tomorrow, I head back to work ….

WOO HOO!!!!

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This is the first year that the girls have been home during a school vacation week.  My higher income gave me a bit of a bargaining chip in the child support/visitation department.  He pays less, I get to play with the kids more.  We were going to go to D.C., but instead choose to syphon funds into the new apartment and furniture therefore.  I think it’s for the best, because the girls often complained about traveling for the vacations, preferring to STAY AT HOME.  D.C. is not home.  I think if we planned a week long trip, they would have been upset.  They also really needed the week of downtime, after the play last weekend having sucked all of their energy for the past 3 months.

This means it was also their first time seeing the Boston Marathon.  Beloved and I saw it in 2005, and had a great time wandering down Beacon Street, watching the “elite” runners, and even having one front runner woman collapse at our feet – seconds after we scrambled to move our sandwiches as she hovered above us looking peaked.

Today, I took the girls.

They were enthralled.

We had a great time.  We just wandered around our town, cheering the runners on, feeling first bewildered at the “elite” and their absolute lack of fat (and seemingly a lack of muscle – some of them looked like refugees!), then enjoying checking the “normal people” runners for those that we know.  I must also admit to a wee bit of mockery toward those who were still jogging/sweating/puffing 6 hours later.  Just a wee bit, because I know that would be me, if I were doing the marathon.  I mean, I could do a 1/2 marathon, and certainly a 1/4 … but not a 26 mile run.  But I also DID NOT do it.  I would rather put in the time and train and then run it in 3 or 4 hours than spend 6 or 7 hours miserably trying to keep up.  What a FULL DAY of huffing and puffing.  Ick!!!

It was a great day, though.  Beautiful weather, fun kids, relaxation.  I had one 25 minute phone call with work about some stuff that I have most knowledge about, but I don’t think it interfered too much with our day.  I knew it was probable that it would come up, because some big stuff is happening in my absence.  Considering everything – my interruption was tiny.

I just had to call it quits on a game of Yahtzee because the kids were going NUTS – so very hyper and looney.  I kicked them to the park, and am trying to take deep breaths in the quiet.

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