For me the worst part of being a lawyer is being a mom and the worst part of being a mom is also being a lawyer. The last couple of weeks work has been crazy. I've been leaving my home each morning before my children are awake and coming home once they're asleep. It's depressing.
Nights when I have made it home before bed time were even worse because I continued to work and, as I may have mentioned, my three year old is always up my butt, so while I'm working on my laptop she's trying to "help" me by whacking on the keyboard. After pushing her little irritating hands away for the 400th time I finally yelled at her to "let me work!" She then tried to get my attention by climbing all over me, knocking over my Diet Coke in the process. I totally lost it. Sam apologized ten times, saying she just wanted to help me work. I responded like any insane person, "Don't you think I want to spend time with you! Don't you think I'd rather play with you! But I have to work!! (somewhere in there I started crying) I have got to get this work done!" Her little face crumpled, big fat tears slid down her cheeks, and she retreated into her own room leaving me feeling like the worst mom in the world. Worse even than Courtney Love.
As if this wasn't train wreck enough, my seven month old comes down with another respiratory virus meaning no day care. It's terrible when your first reaction to your baby being sick is "oh, crap. What are we gonna do with him?" Bad mommy! Then the debate with my husband over who's ditching work begins and this time around I had to dump it all on him.
These moments where my job and my children need me at the same exact moment make me feel trapped like a rat. On more than one occasion this week I sat in my office paralyzed by emotion, unable to type another word or answer an e-mail. I just sat with my head in my hands wondering what the hell am I doing? Where is this ride taking me? A low point was when I started singing "Cat's in the cradle with the silver spoon, little boy blue and the man in the moon, when you coming home dad I don't know when, but we'll get together then son, you'll know we'll have a good time then..." Pitiful.
When my job starts to get in the way of what is part-time parenting to begin with, I start begging my husband to let me quit and do something else like write my book. Although, if he ever agreed to let me quit I'm not sure what I'd say. Truth is, I can't imagine not working and I'm almost as scared as my husband to think of going down to one salary.
The reality is my job isn't that demanding all of the time, but when it's busy it is really busy and I routinely struggle with meeting my obligations to my firm and being there for my children.
I realize most mothers face this same dilemma everyday. My own mother worked two, sometimes three, jobs when I was growing up and she never seemed to complain. I don't know why I seem more challenged by the grind of my life than a whole world of working moms who seem to take it in stride. Perhaps I'm just weak? Maybe the difference is I know I could get away with making less money because I have a husband making pretty good coin (thank you Lord)so I feel extra guilty for continuing to work full time. Maybe this is all just part of my mid-life crisis. Maybe I just like to bitch about stuff.
So what's a working mom to do? Just keep on working? Keep on feeling guilty? Keep on singing depressing 70s tunes to rub salt in the wound?
Well, I don't have any answers tonight, but I'm comforted by the fact my baby seems to still recognize me, while my daughter has pronounced me "best mommy in the world" (after I let her have the fourth Popsicle of the day). However, I'm determined to figure out a better plan and I'll share it with you as soon as I know what it is.