Friday, July 23, 2010

Spinning Wildly Out Of Control

I'm generally a happy person. People always comment on how much I smile (in fact, one of the partners at my firm recently called me "Smiley"). I'm very adaptable and, therefore, it takes a lot to make me upset. I like to think I have a high tolerance for stress, inconvenience, stupid people and for things generally not going my way. Well, this week, that threshold has been met.

It started last week with a bunch of assignments at work being thrust on me at the last minute and coming due all at the same time. Then it continued with more and more assignments. I would just come out from under my pile of work when I'd be hit with a mountain of more *urgent* things. From there, all areas of my life have snowballed into a big pile of shit. And it stinks. Like all my debts to the gods of Karma are coming due at the same time.

The thing is I still LOVE all the work I do. Each of my assignments is interesting and challenging and exciting in itself. The problem is with the AMOUNT of it that I have to do and the seemingly impossible deadlines that I have to meet.

Every day, it seems, for the past two weeks people have burst into my office with urgent, life-and-death pleadings that needed to be written and filed THAT DAY. In one day alone I helped to write and file four oppositions to motions in limine. Note to self: never, ever again hope that one of your cases goes to trial. I have so much on my plate that I feel like I'm dropping the ball all over the place.

On top of that, I got an email from management warning me that I did not meet my billable hours last month (or any month before that), telling me that I'm behind by 70 hours total and asking my to justify this. The thing is, I KNOW I met my billables last month so this is really frustrating. Another associate told me not to take it personally, but I can't help it. I was close to tears for the rest of the day.

Also, I'm working on an assignment for someone who literally stands behind me while I type. I just can't concentrate like this. When I can't concentrate,, I feel stupid and like a failure. I was forced to hold back more tears.

This week, I've worked three 11 hour days and two 9 hour days. Overall, I'm exhausted. I'm also mentally and physically drained.

Then there's the shit going on (or not going on) in my domestice life. For one, my house is a freaking mess. But I have no energy to do anything about it. My laundry is piled up into multiple out-of-control piles.

Because my house is a mess, my husband is pissed off at me. He blew up at me last night for not cleaning. Seriously? When was I supposed to clean, between my 11 hour work days and 4 hours of commuting?!

Then there's the fact that I haven't spent quality time with my son all week. I miss him so much. I feel like he's changing so fast and I'm missing it all. He just gets more and more sweet each day and it kills me to neglect him for work.

My student loan payment has increased by $300 dollars starting this motn. It's almost as much as our mortgage now. Forking this money over each month tears a tiny little hole in my soul.

Finally, I really, REALLY want another baby. And another one is still in the plans. But with all the things happening at work I'm really worried that I won't be able to balance the two. Will adding another person on top of this shit pile really be a good idea?

The cumulation of everything above is just really tearing me down. I've been on the verge of tears all day. I feel like everything is spinning wildly out of control and I can't get a grip on all my obligations and responsibilities. The work stress by itself, I can handle but the home stress, my feelings of inadequacy and the lack of sleep on top of that are really getting to me.

I think it's time to get lost in one of my cowboy western romance books... if only I had the time.


EH said...

**Hugs**! You are one tough, multi-tasking mama, and your husband needs to seriously cut you some slack about the house. Maybe he could clean? Hire someone? Having a housekeeper made my life infinitely better when I was working.

The billable hour thing is BS. It sounds like you've more than met it!

Here's hoping you get a nice, relaxing, peaceful weekend. With some quality alone time!

legally certifiable said...

Oh sweetie, I hope it gets better for you soon. I was right where you are a little over a year ago--giving all I had to give with Big Boss always demanding more. After I broke down crying in the bathroom on two occasions, I knew something had to change. I, too, loved the work I was doing, but the environment had become toxic and there was a limit to how many 12+ hour days I could work without a day off. Changing firms is the absolute best decision I have ever made (although that is easier said than done in the current economy.)

BTW, why can't your hubby clean if it's so darn important to him? I highly recommend getting a housekeeper if you can work it into your budget. It is my luxury, and I justify it because otherwise cleaning house would take more time away from my kids. Even as a law student, I cut every corner possible so I could afford to have someone to come in once a month.

Anonymous said...

Tell your husband to clean. If he has time to be irritated by it, then he has time to DO something about it.

Anonymous said...

Can't even imagine what going through your schedule must be like. You're not alone, though (in terms of real life people, not just your blogging support crew, though we are here too!).

I can only hope that this type of multi-tasking becomes easier as time goes on. Stay strong until then.

je said...

Aw, man. Sounds like this shit has hit the fan this week! Just remember... this too SHALL pass. Hang in, cowgirl.

JD-Maybe said...

Oh god i hear you. My boss gives me projects that need to be filed same day, signed by the client and proof read twice by legal secretaries that dont give a rats ass about my deadlines. I work about 9-10 hours a day and Im in my second year of law school. (no days off for finals either) My house is filthy. UGH!

And I don't ever wish our cases would go to trial, I hate trial, I love settlements.

hang in there!

Butterflyfish said...

* * * H U G S * * *

I am so sorry -- it sounds like you're in a really rough spot. I know the idea of hiring a housekeeper on top of your other expenses seems like a luxury that maybe you should skip. But if it takes away one stressor, it might be worth it. Maybe get someone temporary to help you get out from under and then schedule even bimonthly visits. It doesn't have to be that expensive.

Otherwise, I hope you have a good weekend with minimum billables and maximum wine.

Mama said...

I think your husband is probably feeling the effects of your stress, too. That argument was about more than just cleaning, I'm sure. He probably misses your company as much as you miss his and your boy's.

I agree that putting a little money into something to reduce your pressures - be it more meals out or a housekeeper or something - would be worthwhile if you can squeeze it.

Good luck. I hope it slows down soon.

Amanda said...

I know that spinning out of control feeling well. I hope you're able to snag some time this weekend, even if in small increments to take a minute to catch your breath. Sometimes in these periods I just take 5 minutes to leave the room, stand in a quiet place, and breathe in and out. Sounds kooky, and it doesn't deal with problems which will be waiting for my return, but it slows that internal chatter down to a dull roar and gives me a chance to catch my footing again.

Proto Attorney said...

I hear you on the housework stuff. Things have gotten insane for me over the past two weeks, I haven't even had the chance to blog about it. Had huge blowout over housework yesterday, and totally lost my shit over it. That was my position; if it bothers him so much, then he can effing clean it himself. I was doing work until 1am the night before we had the fight; yeah, I didn't have time to clean. :P

The question is why, if there's so much urgent work at your office, aren't they adding another associate? That's the problem with the insurance defense sweatshops; they work the associates to death for no reason. The partners are living in million dollar houses, while you bill 2000+ hours a year and definitely aren't pulling in a big law salary.

Anonymous said...

welcome to the world of litigation. sadly, this is just the way it is.

FSD said...

I agree with "Mama". I'm sure your hubby is just frustrated about a lot of things, but he's packaging it as frustration over the condition of your home. I think it's really tough for a husband to stand by while his wife works so hard and is away from the home for so many hours. I honestly believe there's a little part of every man that's "traditional". One of the captains my husband flew with in the past gave him a nice marriage nugget...."never fight over what you can hire someone to do for you." That was liberating. We hired a housekeeper and started ordering in frozen meals from a company called Super Suppers. It's hard to admit that you simply cannot do it all, but you can't. Not as a working mom who happens to be an attorney. Bad combo. Hiring a housekeeper, although an added expense, will make your down time with your family much more enjoyable.

It seems like everything at a law firm is rush rush rush. It's actually quite annoying. I wonder if the partners are piling on your work because of you hours deficit. Whatever the reason, try to hang in there. It will get better soon and then it will be crappy again....that's just the way it goes at a law firm.