My husband told me yesterday that he liked life better before I quit the law firm. What?!? What is that you said? But law firm life is terrible! I don't have to bill every 6 minutes! I get to pick our son up from school every day and take him to each and every one of his activities! We have more playdates! I get to be his life teacher! I am the one to hear all the funny things he has to say!
To be fair, the house is more messy (the me from 6 months ago would be horrified by the state of my house today), the laundry pile is so big that I shut my eyes when I walk past it (how does that saying go: Good moms have dirty dishes, piles of laundry, sticky floors, and happy children), I am in a near-constant state of frazzled, I am slightly more impatient (perhaps more than slightly) with my 3 1/2 year old, and I am often back on the computer working the second my son goes to bed, which means less time relaxing with my husband and/or relaxing in general. Because I did not become a stay-at-home mom; I became a work-from-home mom. I have read a lot about the unfortunate battle between stay-at-home moms and working moms (shouldn't we all just be supportive of each other?). But there is little written about work-from-home moms whose "desks" generally consist of a computer, slew of papers, and this morning's breakfast (and sometimes last night's dinner) caked on the surface. (Yes, I'm talking about the dining table.) (Six - now seven - parentheticals in one paragraph is overdoing it, no?)
Somehow, I left law school ten years ago (!) feeling like it was a career-killer to say no to assignments. And so when I started in biglaw, I never said no and all-nighters became commonplace. The question I most hated from partners was this: do you have some time to help me with a project? Well, sir (there was only one ma'am at the time and I didn't work with her all too much), that depends on your concept of time. Technically, there are 24 hours in the day, and I currently have 15 hours of work to do today so I suppose I have an additional 9 hours of "free" time that I can spend working on your project. Sure, bring it on. Needless to say, I burned out quickly. But the point of this is that I never lost that "yes-person" mentality. So even now, when I'm technically free to dictate my workload, I don't say no. I am taking on too many things at once for fear of a work drought.
I realized last night when I was pondering what my husband told me, that all this work I took on is to my detriment. Not only do I have absolutely no me-time, but I don't have a heck of a lot of "quality" time with my son, which, oddly, I feel we had more of when I was working outside of home. Before my life change, I insisted on being the one to do bedtime every night (i.e., read three (four, five, six) books, sing songs, tell stories). Now, I give my son a bath and say to my husband: "your turn." I was trying to figure out why, and realized it's because technically, I'm always in my office. Even when we are playing (around the dining table), eating (around the dining table), entertaining (around the dining table), and watching TV (in close proximity to the dining table), I find myself thinking about all the work I have to do. I need a shut-off switch.
Doesn't this all seem like common sense? Some of us (I mean, me) need a blog to come to an obvious conclusion.
Anyways, so cheers to finding my shut-off switch this week.
**I want to be clear that the point of this post is not to be all "woe is me," but to simply vent - hey, it's my blog and I can do what I want to - and point out that being a mom is hard work any way you slice it.
And just because I feel like a picture is an always fun way to end a blog, here, for your viewing pleasure, is a picture of the current state of my dining table/desk (it's not so bad today) and a recent picture of my cuteness.