Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hey everyone!

Just a quick note to let you know that I'm not going to be blogging at this site anymore...the interfacey stuff is driving me nuts, and so I've found a new home at:

I hope it's not a huge pain in the ass for those of you who have been so kind to "follow" me, and for those who just keep up from time to time. Would love to see you at my new place! ;)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Rejoining the world of the (barely) living

I've survived my first week of work post-maternity leave, although I do feel like I'm cheating a leetle by saying that since my "weeks" are four days long now. Wussy weeks! I'm pretty damned thankful though. Because oh yes, guess what? I've decided a need a new career altogether. But let's not get ahead of ourselves yet.

First, on the professional front. I had a lovely time fielding phone calls and e-mails from colleagues welcoming me back...really nice for the ego, I must say. And frankly I'm very glad for the distraction, because I had little by way of actual work to do this week! Seriously, I billed like six client hours total - the rest was pro bono and "administrative." Eek! Not good, especially since now that I'm on flex-time I actually have a minimum hours requirement (note, however, that full-time associates don't...dur). This being through no fault of my own, since I did my best to throw myself at the assigning partner and get some work. There may be some briefing to do in one of my old cases, in which case, done and done, I'm their girl. Sort of awesome in the sense that I love, love, love drafting, especially with the partner and senior associate in question, but kind of scary in that there are some tortured legal issues involved that I've been super thankful to avoid until now. But it's good for people to have to do things they don't like. In moderation. 

On the baby front, she's been in daycare from about 9am-5pm every day with lots of mommy visits. Those mommy visits are probably going to have to be curtailed, for good reason. First, I am getting NOTHING done by running down every time she's hungry. It's impossible to guess when she's hungry, too, as she's still in that stage where some days she'll eat everything in sight and on others, she couldn't be bothered with food. Also, her napping is all over the place, so sometimes it takes 3-4 calls between the daycare and me to coordinate a feeding. And second, I've had the good fortune to be given a child who is a little advanced for five months. She is already experiencing separation anxiety, and so it's significantly tougher to leave her 5+ times a day than it would be to leave her just once or twice. So I think that once I have a space in which to pump at the office (a WHOLE dramatic side-post in and of itself), I will be feeding her just in the mornings when I drop her off, at lunchtime, and then maybe once before we leave for the day. 

So. Things brings us to my larger feelings about the whole endeavor and why I am getting the slightly sinking, but yet exhilarating, sense that maaaaybe I'm in the wrong field altogether. 

Flex-time is fahreaking me out. On the one hand I feel like I'm making out like a bandit. I'm at home on a Friday morning in my pajamas while the baby is napping sweetly in her own crib. I have ambitious plans to tidy up before Josh gets home and even take the baby to her doctor's appointment. This whole week I was able to walk out of my office at 5, and only yesterday did I have to field some e-mails at night. 

But ah, here's the rub. I haven't had any freaking work to do! And I still felt some sickening guilt leaving at what is essentially the middle of the day! Four days in and I'm tweaking about my career already...because the time will come, and will come soon, when I'm on a busy matter and I'll have work to do in the evenings. Good lord, how will I swing that? Evenings are packed with getting the baby to sleep, fixing dinner, and prepping for the next day. I could go to bed later, but with a baby who still wakes 2-3 times a night, that's heartily unappealing. Weekends are the next in line to be sacrificed, which I always knew was part of the "deal," but it is a little sad to think of giving up our only family time too.

I had some master plan about ramping back up to full time once Piglet's three months at the daycare are up, but I don't think that's super realistic right now. As much as I do think the daycare will be good for her, my heart does break a little at the thought of her in there all day every day. She's been crying a lot, which isn't the biggest issue since she's still a baby. Hell, she cries at home...but it's a different beast for some reason when I think of her crying inconsolably in a strange place with strange people. Obv, this will be rectified in time, but I still can't help but think maybe five days is a bit much to expect. But this is also coming from the perspective of my already being back at work - how quickly we romanticize our previous lives! I'm more protective about "our" time now that I know it's (comparatively) limited.

You might be asking the plainly obvious question: why the hell am I stressing myself out about "big" decisions at the end of the first week? My emotions are clearly out of whack, I'm discombobulated and stoopit, and really tired. True. But the bigger issue here is, what the hell am I doing even contemplating working 60+ hours as essentially a corporate mercenary? Is this what I wanted to do with the rest of my life? Because there was a time when I had promised myself I'd only be doing this type of work to make some quick cash and get out. Now I'm totally meandering because it's "safe" and "easy." And paying for it dearly, because the longer I stay here, the more I'm giving up in terms of finding out what I really want to do with the rest of my life. It's not even the hours anymore. It's that my hours have to be worth something more...I have to be able to justify my time away from my family with something worthwhile. I'm not running the country or curing cancer or even making the world a tiny bit better by what I do. I'm just collecting mad money, which don't get me wrong, is awesome, but...good enough? I don't know. I can't even begin to formulate answers to all the questions swirling around in my head, but I think maybe it's enough to just be asking them at this point.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Letter to Piglet at Five Months - on my last day of maternity leave!

What a curious journey. In five short months I've gone from the woman who would be pregnant forever to a real mother...and you've been my trusty sidekick all along. Unthinkable in some ways, really, because often it feels like you've always been here. Was there ever a time I had long, idle days that I spend lounging around and watching Food Network reruns? Did I ever fix dinner without you perched on the counter in your Bumbo, watchful eyes taking everything in? You've put your slobbery little hand-stamp on every last inch of my life and far from it feeling oppressive, it's actually pretty wonderful.

I have to tell you that the last month has felt not unlike emerging from a thick, hormonal and sometimes pretty desperate fog. The change in you, now that you can sit up, interact, laugh and SLEEP!!! is nothing short of farking remarkable. Not that you were a particularly challenging baby before, except for your heinous sleep issues. We truly count ourselves to be incredibly fortunate, because you are beyond perfect, but like any wee bairn you threw our household and heretofore relatively uncomplicated lives for a loop. Thinking on the first three months does have me squirming in my chair a little - but you know what's funny? Not once during your even most trying moments did I ever reconsider my intention to give you lots and lots of siblings! And from what I'm told, this is a rare conviction on the part of new mothers. So I would take that as a compliment! Even in our darkest moments, there was never any question that you had enriched our lives beyond anything we could ever have contemplated and we would do it a hundred times over. I used to wonder at how parents could so unequivocally state that they would give up anything, up to and including their lives, for their children, and I wondered if I would ever feel that sort of all-encompassing, totally consuming love. The short answer is yes. It happens to the best of us, I guess! But it's true...there is no doubt in my mind about the lengths I would go to to keep you safe and happy. It doesn't even come from an emotional place. It's just something I know for sure, and forever.

This is especially important for me to get out on paper for you today because today is officially my last day of maternity leave. On Monday, you, me and daddy are going to strap you into the carrier and tootle on down to my office, where your care will be entrusted to the wonderful teachers in the infant room at Bright Horizons. Your new world for the next three months. As convinced as I am that this is the best thing for our family, it would be a bald fib to claim that I'm not nervous about the transition. How on earth will I get everything I do now done and work forty hours a week (this being on a reduced schedule!)? I've dutifully made up a meal and chore plan that are stuck up on the fridge, but how long until the "systems" collapse under the weight of daddy and my respective workloads?? How will you adjust? You're a smart little thing and already detect and shun most strangers! You've only just gotten into a good sleeping routine. You're humorous and sweet but also demand lots of attention. But at the same time, my more logical self knows that everything is really unfolding as it should.

I want you to know that while I never seriously contemplated not returning to work, our choice to be a "working family" is not one that was made without deep, critical and continuous thought. This may be a particular issue for you because we aren't the "typical" working family, either. There will likely be many days that your father or I will walk in the door much later than 6, or when you'll encounter us working late into the night from home or on weekends. I hope that you'll understand why it's so important for us to work hard and achieve things for the family that we never had growing up, and also that we would never pursue these things to the detriment of you or your future siblings. All of our decisions are subject to being switched up if for one second we feel that we're not doing the best we can by you...who knows, by the time you're reading this, we could be living completely different lives!

There's not a day that goes by when I'm not completely grateful for this time we've been able to spend together, even when it's been hairy and I've longingly thought of my office and a skinny tall latte that I could drink HOT in SILENCE. For all my anxieties and tendency to question every little decision along the way, I can't look at you and not think that we can't be totally botching the operation. You look happy enough and frankly you're just unreasonably cute sometimes! You seem to love the silly faces and songs and dances I do for your sole entertainment. Your favorite activity, which I'm happy to tolerate for now, is grabbing fistfuls of my face while standing on my lap...ouch! In fact, you find the greatest delight in some pretty insane stuff...and so if I'm destined to mess you up somehow hopefully the ship hasn't sailed yet!

Mad love for you, Miss Piglet, even though you're currently screaming the apartment down. Time to stop waxing philosophical about parenting and instead perform!

xoxoxo Ma

Monday, March 09, 2009

My last week on mat leave!

Wow, did that sneak up on me. Although to be honest, I do feel like I've been off forever and ever. In the legal word, six months may as well be forever anyway. Waaah! Hold me! 

Seriously, though...I actually am looking forward to most aspects of being back at work, but also apprehensive. Most significantly, the landscape of the world has changed immeasurably. Our biggest clients are investment banks, which I'm told no longer exist. Whoops. And on a more micro level, I really wonder how long it's going to take to dust off my atrophied legal skills. What if they never come back at all? What if I spend my days staring at my computer with Jumperoo music playing a continuous loop in my head? What if I open my mouth to speak at a meeting but accidentally end up blowing a raspberry?

Okay, okay, and lest you throw up your hands in despair and write me off as the worst mother who ever existed, I am a little apprehensive about daycare for Piglet too. Not so much because I worry about how she'll be treated or anything, because I have every confidence in the facility she's going to, but just about how the change will be for her. If she's anything like her ma, she'll love the stimulation and new faces. But of course, in the last couple of weeks I've started to notice her acting a little more like a mama suck, even to the point where she'll wail when left alone with daddy. Luckily, this tends to only happen when she's crabby to begin with. And hell, who knows, maybe daycare will send her back all fresh and improved. Hah! Maybe she'll sleep and eat beautifully for them and never scream and always share! Maybe they can teach her to load the dishwasher and mop the floors too! :whistle:

My biggest fear is that this change will hit me like a ton of bricks in terms of trying to balance everything. I mean, realistically, now I'll have to do everything I do now, PLUS a full time job. (And yes, I'm going back flex-time for the first few months, but that's still pretty much a full time job since I have to bill 38 hours a week!) The flex-time schedule will probably help in the ramping up to full speed aspect of the transition, but it also means less money, which means less flexibility in spending on things like takeout, house cleaning, and outsourced laundry. It was tough to know whether it was the right decision to, should I take this massive paycut if it just means that I have to devote more time to domestic drudgery? We shall see how it all shakes out!