That Kind Of Mother

When my daughter was born and I was presented with an opportunity to go back to work, I knew there was no way I could turn it down.  I was suddenly compelled to set an example for my daughter as a successful working mother in a way I had not been while I was home with my son for two years.  I wanted to be “that kind of mother” who gives her the freedom to make her own choices, while continuing to break glass ceilings and forge work-life balance to make her path just a little bit easier (as previous generations have done for me).

I’ve since realized that “successful working mother” is a loaded goal.  I am successful at work, yes.  I am a professional, working at a reputable national law firm.  I have a salary that allows me to take home six-figures even after egregious federal, state and New York City taxes.  I have awesome family health insurance paid for by my employer — and it even includes dental.  The “successful working” part rings true.

As does the “working mother” part.  I am grateful to have a job that respects my priorities as a mother.  I have not missed a phase-in session, orientation or smallest event at my children’s school and none of the partners I work for have blinked an eye.  They trust that I have a handle on the work that needs to get done and they leave me to do just that (my associate co-workers are another story, but I’m ignoring them).

But “successful working mother” implies that I’ve got it all under control.  That, while I wish I spent more time with my kids, I have negotiated drop-offs and pick-ups around conference calls and late night loan document distribution.  But this simply isn’t the case.  Every single day is a negotiation.  If I have deals closing, Ian needs to do more at home.  If he has an important client meeting, I offer to take the kids on the morning he’s supposed to do it.  For the most part our schedule is utter chaos. Continue reading

In The Catfish Era And Lack-Of-Fact-Check Era, I No Longer Believe Anything I See On Facebook

This morning I received a message from a friend alerting me that her words had been lifted by a well-known site.  I read her piece about rage and the dark side of yoga weeks ago and it was so personal and intimate, yet universal and powerful that it stayed with me for days.  Then there it was today — so many of her original ideas — but this time with someone else’s byline.  Plagiarism is not a new concept, but with information as accessible as it is online, opportunity is greater than ever. Continue reading

This Is How We Do It

It’s Friday, of course, but this post has little in common with the upbeat infectious anthem of the same name, sung (is that the right word?) by Montell Jordan.  It’s also lacking the introspection of the NYT Motherlode’s How We Do It series.  This is just my real life without a filter, an editor or even a Timbaland-esque producer.  For those things I apologize. Continue reading

On Baked Goods, Gardening, And Cultivating Career

Lately I’ve been struggling.  I’ve also been succeeding.  I’ve been picking and choosing and placing and planning.  Through this process I’ve been visualizing what’s really important in my life.  I imagined myself as a pie with three thick slices*.  Fill it with whatever pleases you (mine is peach cream) but picture it.

(*Note: there are other slices of my identity such as wife, yogi, dysfunctional twitter user, but those are firmly established.  The three slices below are the ones I’ve been struggling with over the past few years.) Continue reading

My Son’s Broken Arm Changed Me More Than It Did Him

Almost two weeks after the incident I’m still trying to make sense of my son’s broken arm. Before this I thought broken arms were no big deal.  Even though I had never had one, nor did either of my brothers, I thought they were a normal part of life.

I don’t know if it’s just me or just this experience, but it has been anything but normal.  Our 4-year-old needed surgery, and for days after we struggled with the appropriate pain management.  He would alternately writhe in pain or glaze over in a sort-of catatonic state.  Thankfully after a few more days than the doctors considered “normal” he dropped the pain meds and our little boy is back to his usual self.  But it’s been a scary ride.

I’m sure he won’t remember the night we spent in the hospital or how terrifying the operating room looked as we walked in to the sterile space.  I know he won’t remember that I carried him and his sister the two avenues to the hospital as we all cried for different reasons.  In fact, he probably won’t have any recollection of the recent events around this broken elbow, but it may have changed my ways as a mother forever.

I’m featured at Mommyish today talking about my arc from free-range parent to helicopter mom.

Of course I know that kids break their arms no matter if they have free-range or helicopter moms, but maybe I’ll feel better — at least for now — hovering over them at every turn.