I've been a practicing attorney for almost eight years. How and why I wound up a lawyer is another blog for another day. Regardless of the events that got me where I am today, here I am. And here is looking a little shady. Since I had my first child I've struggled with balancing my career and my home life. Meeting the obligations of my job and the obligations of my children is like trying to get panties on Paris Hilton...next to impossible. However, I've managed to not completely neglect my children and keep my firm's partners somewhat satisfied. Lawyers are never really satisfied unless you're making them tons of money and I haven't made anyone tons of money since I blew that first kid out. Sadly for my employers, birthing another human being out of your body will create a slight priority shift. At least it did for me.
I've often wished I could quit working all together and explore what I really wanted to do with my life. I doubt I would discover I want to be something crazy like a Chinese acrobat (I'd look terrible in spandex), but I want a moment to figure it out. However, when I mention to my husband that I might, maybe, possibly like to quit working he says I should have thought about that before I took out "all those student loans." He always shuts me down with this rude reminder of my student loans. Becoming a lawyer is very expensive and I chose the "In Debt for Eternity" package. How was I supposed to know that a few short years later I'd want to quit work to be with my not yet born children and to pursue a different kind of dream? I'm not a mind reader! I know my own mind less than anybody's.
But, working at my firm may not be my choice for much longer. I practice a very specific type of litigation and our work is changing. My particular position is no longer really needed. I'm set to return to work on September 20 after a lovely three months of maternity leave and for the first time in 8 years I won't have much of anything to do. They will have work to offer me, but it involves traveling around the country and I can hardly do that with two small children.
But what about my husband, you ask? Well, he has a big job of his own as a lawyer and we already struggle with whose job is more important. Recent arguments go like this:
Big Important Husband: "I have to get to work Early tomorrow. You have to take Sam to to pre-school."
Put Upon Wife: "I can't. I have to be at work early, too!"
Big Important Husband: "I"m a partner. I have responsibilities."
Put Upon Wife: "I'm never going to be a partner because I can't get where I need to be on time! What about my responsibilities?"
Big Important Husband: "There are things I have to do as a partner. It's a bigger obligation."
I am defeated. What can I say to that? My job is important enough to keep b/c we need the additional income, but not important enough for me to be a success at it. Hmmm. When you add together my not quite meeting my obligations as a mother and my not quite meeting my obligations as a lawyer you get an existence of constant mediocrity. Just what I always wanted, to achieve the status of barely average.
Another confession I must make is that I've never wanted to be a true stay-at-home mom. Once a kid starts talking I need someone else to help teach her things. I'd be a horrible stay-at-home mom b/c I'm too lazy. My kids would be well versed in Oprah, but not much else. I get bored playing trains within thirty seconds and I don't like to go outside because I'm a vampire.
So, ideally, I'd keep the baby at home till he needs to learn colors and shapes, but my tot would stay in pre-school. I'd spend my days writing, playing with my baby, and keeping our lives together. Is that so unreasonable?
Big Important Husband is freaking out. And he should be. Our family is on the brink of a new horizon and it is terrifying. I want to let go of where I am to find where I belong, but I can't seem to loosen the death grip I have on my present place in the world. I suspect God is about to pry my fingers loose one way or another. Anybody want to pay me to write witty commentary on your life? Just a thought.