They’re Not All Gems, But Sometimes They Are

I write a lot.  Empirically it’s true.  For the past few weeks, I have been writing 1000 words a day for Mommyish (Monday through Friday — and if you’ve missed any, check out the WTTM Facebook page, I post them all there).  I also write a fictional story (1200 words) a month for my beloved writing group.  I scribble my crazy thoughts down in my journal almost every day. I am slowly working back to my novel in my mind (I will get there soon, I just know it!).  And yes, I am still a full-time lawyer (more on that soon I hope).  But the point is, I write a lot.  It keeps me sane.

Most of the time, my writing is just in the ordinary course of my life.  Meaning, I spout my opinion about one thing or another, fill in all the SEO requirements, add an appropriately credited picture, hit publish and submit an invoice at the end of the month.  But sometimes I write something that makes me stop and say, “yes!  This is good stuff!”  Sometimes I look at my finished product and I think, “Wow, I really had something to say here.”  Because when I start writing, I never know how it will turn out.  Some pieces I love more than others.  Some just flow almost like an out-of-body experience.  Others I feel so strongly about, but the passion I feel doesn’t come across on the page.  Some things I care less about and just need content.  But I never really know until it’s done.  In the words of one of my favorite funny bloggers, Wendi Aarons, “they’re not all gems.”  And they’re not.

But sometimes they are. Continue reading

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

Death By Full-Time Employment

I grew up Catholic and believed there were two stages of existence — life and death. Death was the end of your time in this realm. There was no reincarnation, no second chances, no in-between. The rest, I deduced, was life. Life was good. It meant more time, more opportunity, more growth. So anything short of bodily death in my book deserves a smile. Nothing can be that bad! I’m still alive, right?  Well I can’t pretend that alive and dead are the only two modes we have in this one body.

To say I’ve been having a hard time with this transition back into full-time employment is like saying The Real Housewives are neither real nor housewives (duh!).  At times I manage to get though the day.  I even have moments where I feel inspired.  But mostly I feel like I’m dying.  I won’t ever be able to explain what that means or how it feels to your exact liking, because trust me I’ve just spent the past five weeks trying to explain it to Ian.  He’s no closer to understanding my overdramatic thinking than I am getting better at explaining it.  You either get it or you don’t.

Either way, today I decided to try something new.  Today I accept death.  I’ve spent 5 weeks feeling terrified that I’m going to die, and today I’m just going to assume it’s true.  I am dead.  Now what Carinn?  Now what?

Now, I tell you how it all happened.  This is not a story about a car accident or a battle with cancer, this is just me going back to work. Where I died. A lot. 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