Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Send More Coffee To Office No. 14

My week just went from:

Me: "Hey, I'm low on work. Anyone got a project I can help with?"

to:

Partner1: "Cee, review and analyze these six binders worth of opposing counsel's invoices for our motion in opposition to attorney's fees."

Partner 2: "Cee, I need you to draft a Motion to Compel with a bagillion attachments. It needs to be filed tomorrow."

Partner 3: "Hey Cee. Here's a new case. Review the case file and draft a status report for our client. Get it done ASAP."

GULP! HELP?

This Is How I Do It

So many people have asked me about my schedule and what I do for child care. This post is for them.

First off, the running theme here is "family." Without them, I just couldn't handle it. I couldn't do what I do. I rely on my family for so much.

I am very amazingly fortunate. Both my mom and my mother-in-law are available to watch my son during the week and they live near(ish) to us. I KNOW. I'm very lucky. Most people I know would give their foot to have one parent living nearby for childcare. I have two sets of parents willing to help me out! Honestly, my law degree is part theirs. I could never have completed law school as a long distance commuter and as a new mom without them. I also feel like my paycheck is part theirs because they save me about $1000 to 1500 a month in child care!

I live across the water from Seattle. My commute to work is about 1 hour and 40 minutes. My husband's commute can be from 10 minutes to 40 minutes long, depending upon which city he has to work in for the day. My in-laws live about 25 minutes away and my parents live about 35 minutes away. Our home, my parent's home, my in-law's home, my work and my husband's work is each in a different city. See how complicated this is getting?

But we worked out a pretty good system.

5:50am: I wake up and get ready for work. Sometime shortly after my shower, my husband and Jacob wake up. One of us will give him a morning bottle and we laugh as he runs around the house opening and closing doors saying "bye bye" either to us or to other random things in the house.

7:00am: I head out the door and walk a mile to catch my ferry. On Mondays and Wednesdays and on every other Friday, my sister-in-law picks up Jacob and drives him 35 minutes to my mom's house. In the car, Jacob gets to play with his two young cousins, one is just a couple months older than him. My sister-in-law manages to get three car seats into the back of my Subaru wagon and they are off- sharing graham crackers and pointing out all the buses and trucks they see along the way.

On Tuesday and Thursdays and every other Friday, my husband drives Jacob to his mom's house. Jacob will point out every truck, tractor, car, bus, and "big" truck along the way. When he sees a semi or a bulldozer, my husband has to brace himself for shrieking! Jacob LOVES machines. He's 100% boy (when I'm not dressing him in a bra).

7:20: My ferry leaves. During the ferry ride, I either sleep (if no one is talking too loudly on their cell phone or clipping their nails- EW!) or I do some work on my laptop.

8:30: My ferry arrives in Seattle. From the ferry terminal, I walk about a mile to my office, picking up a skinny vanilla latte along the way.

8:40: I walk into the firm office, say "hi" to my favorite co-workers and duck into my own office to crank out some billable hours.

5:00pm:I leave the office at 5:00pm every night (at least I have so far) and walk another mile to the ferry.

5:30: My ferry leaves Seattle. I will either sleep some more or do more work.

6:30: My ferry arrives in my city. From the ferry terminal, I walk another mile to my home (unless my husband picks me up).

7:00pm: I arrive home. On Mondays and Wednesdays when Jacob is at my mom's, my sister-in-law will pick him up and bring him home. The other days, my husband will do it. But always by the time I get home, Jacob is there waiting for my with big smiles and hugs. For 2.5 seconds his eyes light up and he screams "mama, mama." Then the novelty of me being home wears off and he is back to pushing his toy fire truck around the house.

We eat dinner as soon as I get home. Usually dinner is a frozen meal I prepared ahead of time the Sunday before, or it is leftovers. I've found some awesome casseroles that I can make on Sunday and freeze or refrigerate. My husband pops them into the oven when he gets home and then it's almost ready by the time I get home. I also make a lot of make-ahead meals that taste just as great when they are leftovers: meatballs and sauce from scratch with garlic bread, chicken parmesan, chicken cordon bleu casserole (amazing!) or dumplings with sauerkraut and ham have been what I've mostly made so far. I only have to make one or two meals ahead of time and we eat the leftovers for the rest of the week.

8:30pm is Jacob's bed time. We read him stories and tuck him in with his two stuffed dogs (named "Oof" and "More oof").

9:00pm: I will usually try to trek to the gym to work out. I've been training for a half marathon but lately my knee has been hurting. So we'll see how that goes.

10:00pm: When I get home from the gym, I usually will watch some TV with my husband or play on my computer or catch up on work. We hit they hay sometime between 11:00pm to 12:00am. Somehow, I function on 6 hours of sleep at night.

My secret for getting through crazy weekdays: lots of coffee, chocolate, amazing family, the best co-workers ever and a great job!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Photo Speaks For Itself


Saturday, March 27, 2010

My Most Significant Realization As An "Adult"

I remember when I was just starting out on my own. When I was off attending college 3/4 of a continent away from home and family or when I had moved back to Seattle but was living in an apartment, I suffered from repressed separation anxiety. In college, I tried to surround myself with busy-ness, crowds and loud friends. I didn't want to think about how I was managing away from the security of my home and away from the comfort and love of a family.

At home, my family knew when I wasn't feeling right. They knew when something was bothering me or when I was sick and they tried to make it all better. They actively cared about how I was doing. At a far away city, on my own, most people wouldn't even notice if I didn't show up to class, or if I was feeling down, let alone take the time to care. It was a daunting feeling, being physically and emotionally isolated from home. I knew I had to forge my own place and my own home, but the task left me feeling anxious and a little scared. So I repressed it. I tried to forget. I was mostly successful except for those quiet lonely times at night. Right before my head would hit the pillow. The emptiness and loneliness and lack of guidance would threaten to eat me up. What was I to do with my weekend, let alone my LIFE?

I felt this way in law school a little bit too. I even felt this way when I got married. When I got married and I moved in with my husband, it hit me like a brick wall that there was no going back to the comfort of my childhood. The comfort of always having my parents there to guide me and console me. I had officially shut that door. I was a married woman. My parents were only a telephone call away, of course, but I still felt isolated once again. I was no longer a part of my childhood "household." I had grown away from the person I used to be. It was me versus the world. My relationship with my parents had officially changed. While my mom would always be my mom, I didn't see her as the same mom that rocked me to sleep and read me stories and made sure the kids at school were playing nice. She was suddenly the mom of a grown up (me) and I could no longer run to her to hide from the harshness of the world.

The first week in our first home, I felt a little out of sorts. Really? I'm a grown up now? But I still feel vulnerable and I still feel like I need the wings of my parents to warn me about staying out to late, eating right and to leave the front porch lights on for me. Overnight my "family" had turned from a big, loud, nosy and caring family into a quite family of two married adults. It was a great adventure but I felt homesick.

When Jacob was born I struggled a third time. It was hard to accept the fact that I was someone's mother now. I was responsible for another human. Just like my mom had all the answers and the power to make me feel safe, now I was expected to be able to do the same. But I didn't have any answers. Life, the world and the unknown was just as scary to me then as it was back before I became a mom. Now that I was officially someone's mom, I had to fill my mom's shoes. The hardest realization for me was that just as I was living by the seat of my pants and making things up as I went, so had my mom all those years! All the times when I thought she knew everything (obviously not my teen years) and when I thought she could protect me from everything, she actually couldn't.

The realization that my mom was just as human as I was and that becoming a mom DOESN'T automatically give you divine, supernatural powers was both unsettling and comforting. All those years I had been relying on just another human, capable of making mistakes. My childhood "rock" was not infallible. On the flip side, that meant that while my mom likely made mistakes everyday, just like anyone else, that didn't detract from how I felt about her. So, as a mom, I don't need to be perfect in order to make my kid feel loved and safe. It's not about the reality of your capabilities or perfection as a parent at all, it's all about how you make your kid FEEL. How you show them you love them. How you let them know you always will care.

Wow. Parenthood is nothing short of amazing and complicated.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Answers

I HATE HATE HATE answering complaints.

You would think that answering a complaint wouldn't be too difficult and that it might even be fun. I mean, the only possible responses are some variation of: "Admit," "Deny" or "lacks information sufficient to form a belief." But seriously, each little paragraph that I have to provide an answer to causes me physically painful ethical anguish. That was a mouthful- did you get all that?

The last Answer I prepared was for a automobile collision. Liability was pretty straightforward. Our client => bad => crash. Simple, right? But in law, nothing can be that simple.

The complaint stated an allegation similar to this:
"Defendant did X and struck Plaintiff's vehicle."

Considering the fact that there exists a statement made by our client suggesting that he was totally at fault, I want to answer by saying: "Admit that our client did X and was a total douche bag."

Considering that I represent the Defendant's interests (when you are not a partner, you take your clients as they are in all their douchebaggery), I have to answer something like this: "Deny."

I feel a little unsettled about this. I feel like it's a violation of CR 11. However, everyone assures me that there has never been a case where a lawyer got into trouble for denying something he maybe should have admitted in an answer. In fact, trouble usually only arises when a lawyer admits something he probably should have denied. This is what They tell me anyway. Since They are lawyers, well experienced in litigation, I will believe Them.

But just to be on the overly ethical side, I have elected to answer something like this:
"Admit that client did X but deny any and all inferences of liability."

Sounds like an oxymoron right? So I can admit that Defendant did something which he states that he did, but the other side cannot use this omission at trial to prove liability. They told me this little tip. I LOVE it.

And so does my conscience.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Insurance & Healthcare Costs: Effective Birth Control?

Today an insurance rep came to the firm to talk to any interested associates and staff about supplemental insurance programs. Our firm, like most businesses with less than 50 employees in our state, does not have to offer insurance to employees(at least for now, we'll see what the new healthcare reform brings). When you don't belong to an insurance risk pool such as an employee group, it can be pretty expensive to find affordable insurance.

The good thing about healthcare through employers is that businesses, even small businesses, can join employee risk pools. More people in the risk pool means that health risks are spread out among more people (basically healthy people are subsidizing the medical costs of sick people- doesn't that sound like public healthcare already?). Also the bigger the risk pool, the more consumer power that group has to negotiate competative premiums with insurance companies. So you can see why it's a benefit to have insurance through your employer. I just love insurance. I'm freakishly enamored by it. It is so so fascinating to me, but sorry for my digression.

I get my insurance coverage through my husband's employer. But like most insurance plans, it doesn't cover 100% of expenses. The total cost of my son's birth in 2008 was about 30K dollars including c-section, delivery, newborn wellness and five days in the hospital. Of that cost, I had to fork over about 3,700 out of my own pocket (ahem, federal student loans!). Since we are thinking about having baby #2 soon, I decided it might be a good idea to get some supplemental insurance to cover the riduluosly overpriced procedures and care related to child birth. (Don't even get me started on how US insurance practices contribute to the high costs of US healthcare! I won't go there).

The insurance rep gave her little talk about the different programs they offer. I am pretty sure, with all the questions I was asking about maternity and delivery, every single person in my office now knows that I'm thinking of having another baby- a little embarasssing. During the talk I also learned that in my state, if someone dies with student loan debt, that debt GOES AWAY. It's a personal debt that doesn't carry over to spouses or family. SERIOUSLY? All I have to do is fake my own death to be rid of my $1400+ a month student loan payments for the next ten years? Quick, get me an unidentifiable dead body, a ticket to the farthest reachest of the galaxy and find me someone to frame!

By the end of the day, I had successfuly signed up for supplemental health care. Under my new supplemental plan, the insurance company will pay $1000 for the first 24 hours I have to stay in a hospital (duh, childbirth!). After the first 24 hours, they will continue to pay about 100 per day. This isn't a lot but it IS only to supplement my current health care. It also covers surgeries and other treatments as well. All in all, I feel confident that we can afford to have a second child. It feels good to be responsible!

Oh but there IS one catch. This new plan doesn't kick in for about three months (kinda sucks, if you think about it, I'm paying premiums for three months for NOTHING in return- SCAM!). So I absolutely CANNOT get pregnant until some time after July 1st. I'm starting to think the risk of high healthcare costs is one of the most effective forms of birth control. I should go speak to 9th grade health classes. Maybe I can impart my love for insurance law on them while I'm at it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder: How Working Makes My Home Life Better

When I started work two weeks ago, it was really hard to leave Jacob in the mornings. It was hard knowing we both had full days ahead of us and those days didn't include the other person. Jacob was going to have a day full of play and fun with his grandma and I would have a day full of reading case files, hunching over a desk and multiple tall skinny vanilla lattes.

Two weeks in and I think now that what we have going is as perfect as it can get. Sure, I only see him a couple hours each day and the weekends, but our time together is 100 times better than it was before. Before I started work, it was easy to forget how precious my time with him was. I'd have a whole EXHAUSTING day with him and, yet, my most frequent thought was "how can I get him to nap so I can do X or Y." When you have a child, your "to-do" list and your personal time goes out the window entirely.

So, I'd spend the whole day with Jacob but I was more focused on the big picture of taking care of him and making sure he got what he needed rather than living in the moment. Moments with Jacob were constant and sometimes they even seemed never-ending. It was hard to not take my moments with him for granted. Now that I work all day, I am constantly reminded how special my time with him is. The result is that when we're together, he has my constant attention. I am able to put the other parts of my life on hold and take a time out just for Jacob. Our time together is so much more meaningful and memorable.

Spending less time each day with Jacob also makes me realize just how quickly he is growing. I really want to remember how sweet he is right now, because down the road he'll be a teenager and our time together, while it will still be special, it just won't be the same. Right now we have such a special bond. He looks to me as if I can solve every problem in the world. I am his "go-to" problem solver. When he gets hurt, he wants "ma ma" and no one else will do. When something makes him laugh, he wants to share it with me. When he is sad, I can make everything right again. He has so much faith and confidence in me, even during the time when I think I've "failed" him. Right now, it doesn't take much to make him happy and I can make sure his world is full of happiness and love and peace. But I know there will be darker times, times where his needs and his world will be much more complicated, times when he won't look to me for answers. Times when I won't even HAVE answers. Times when he will push me away and doubt the things I say.

But now, oh my God. NOW, things are incredible. And my Jacob is the light of my life. And we have a bond that is unlike anything I've ever experienced.

The last two weekends have been just amazing and so full of life. Today for example, I took him running in the baby jogger. We jogged on a new scenic trail (new for me anyway) and then towards the end when we were nearing the parking lot, I unstrapped him from the jogger and let him play. We threw rocks in the creek. We stomped on leaves. I chased him up and down the trails, catching him and throwing him in the air. When he pretended to take a nap in the grass, I pretended I was a bunny and kept hopping over him. Jacob erupted into a fit of giggles then he wanted a turn to hop over me. I laid down in the grass too and braced myself as he landed right on top of me. Then I gave him the world's bounciest piggy back ride.

Afterward, I stopped by a craft store and picked up some supplies. As I pushed him around in the cart, he kept making funny faces as me. So I made them back and the two of us giggled up and down the aisles for half an hour. Jacob decided to pick out some of his own supplies and snuck them in the cart when I wasn't looking. Our craft turned out great too. Jacob loves to color so I bought some wooden eggs and we painted them- I found these great paint pens and he did an awesome job coloring his eggs. They are going to be gifts for his grandparents. He LOVED it and I loved showing him how to do it.

Finally, he helped me make dinner. I let him stir and pour the contents of the measuring cups into the bowls and sauce pans. By the time dinner was done, so was Jacob. He grabbed his special blankie, tugged on my pants and said, "Night night. Ba ba (bottle). Book!"

Yesterday was just as full of fun Jacob memories. And last week was pretty much the same. I'm so thankful for this new outlook on being a working mom. I'm so thankful it is working out so far. Not only do I get to go to work and feel like a contributing and productive member of the law firm, but when I do come home I really appreciate it and really focus on being with the people I love.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

With Dog As My Witness

Today I reviewed interrogatory responses from a Plaintiff in one of our commercial truck/vehicle collision cases. The interrogatory asked for a list of witnesses to the incident.

Plaintiff's response looked something like this:

Witnesses to the collision:
1. John Smith, pedestrian at the scene
2. John Doe, driver of the vehicle directly behind me
3. Scruffy, my dog was sitting in the passenger seat.

Wouldn't it be awesome if we could note a deposition for Scruffy? Maybe we'd have to hire a dog whisperer as a translator. Wouldn't it be even more awesome if Scruffy spoke english and answered our deposition questions?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Couch: Only Meant To Be Used For A Certain Type of "Work"

I've just discovered that I really cannot work from home. EVER. Every one hour of billable work from home is the equivalent of three real time hours. I am just not productive on my couch.

REproductive maybe. *cough* last weekend during Jacob's nap time *end cough*

But not productive, productive :)

A Full Plate, Sort Of

This week is much better than last, busywise. But it seems that I have the magic touch of killing litigation. Originally on my plate this week were two motions to dismiss, one motion to publish, one motion for continuance of a trial, and two sets of responses to interrogatories. To experienced litigators, this probably seems like nothing much. But at this point in my career, this feels like A LOT OF WORK!

Before yesterday, I hadn't even HEARD of a motion to publish. Apparently if a court doesn't decide to publish an opinion on its own, you can make a motion requesting the court to do so. You just need a good argument citing how the opinion is important to the public or how it clarifies new or established law. Cool huh? Me likey.

So yesterday I drafted my first motion to dismiss. This one was based on the running of the Statute of Limitations. Easy enough right? Well, 3/4 of the way through my draft, I was told by the associate to STOP. Apparently, opposing counsel decided to voluntarily withdraw. There goes all my work. Oh well.

Then I was just about to start on my second motion to dismiss when I decided to ask the partner on the case a clarifying question. Good thing I did because when I stopped by to talk to the partner, he told me to hold my work on the motion because there was a small chance opposing counsel would also voluntarily withdraw their claim. WHAT? RRG. What are the odds? This was so frustrating to me because (1) I need to bill hours and (2) I love writing motions! Really! I was so anxious to roll up my sleeves and dive right into these motions.

Oh, but I just got assigned to a Ca-Razy construction defect case, so I might be super busy even after all this.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Macho Gift

My husband recently turned 28 (wow, that seems wrongly old to me- I know in perspective, it's quite young, but still). For his birthday, I bought him a remote control (yeah, I know- lame). My husband is practical and he hates non-practical gifts so I thought it would be perfect since Jacob broke our old remote. And I didn't just buy ANY remote, I bought him a "Flick." It's like a wii remote. The motion of your hand does all the good stuff: change channels, adjust volume, play, pause and stop. It might have been an ok gift, if it worked for our tv...

My in-laws totally surpassed me this year though. They got my husband the ultimate manly gift- a weed wacker. It has a motor. It's loud. And it's practical. My husband was freakishly over-joyed. I just had to hang my head in shame for being outdone by so much. The best part of this gift, however, is not the fact that it will lead to the destruction of all the weeds in our yard. The best part of this particular weed wacker is it's incredibly unfortunate name:



Sorry, not a great picture.

Embarassingly, I was the only one in the room who thought the name was hilarious. As I pointed and laughed hysterically, everyone else looked at me with disgusted expressions as if to say, "how old are you? 12?!" So, of course...I had to share this with the blogging world.

A weed wacker named "shaft trimmer?" Who comes up with this stuff?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Billable Hours (Not) On My Mind

My billable hours for this week are HORRIBLE. To meet my yearly requirement I have to bill about 155 hours a month. This week I only billed about 22. Sigh. For my first week there was so much administrative stuff to do and then everyone wanted to take me out for lunches and coffees. Then there was the day my 7:20am boat was cancelled because it had a hole in it and the next ferry didn't leave until 8:45 (which got me to work after 10am).

I was planning on working hard this weekend to catch up. My biggest fear OF ALL TIME is not meeting my billable hours. But the Motion to Dismiss I was assigned to work on got put on "pause." I met with a partner Friday evening to get more work. He promised me that my own cases are coming my way, it's just that the other partners have to make time to go over them with me. So a lot more work is on the horizon, it's just not in my hands yet. The bad part is that my billable hours will suffer for my first two weeks. The good part is that I don't have to work this weekend!

I'm pretty confident that I'll be able to catch up soon since there seems to be a ton of work for me looming over the horizon. And the partner assured me that they will take the lack of work and the slow start of my first week into consideration when they do time reviews. I've noticed that it is very common for associates to come into the office on the weekend so I'm just going to try to enjoy my slow start. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the most adorable 18 month I know!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thank You Anonymous

For helping me realize why I am doing this and why I need to do this.

When you posted your first comment a couple posts ago, my first thoughts were: (1) she obviously has no kids and (2) or she does have kids but she never had to choose between staying home with them and deciding to pursue a career. I guess it was the first.

Part of the reason I need to continue to pursue my career even though I am a mom is the fact that, unlike non-moms and men, working moms still have so much to prove in the workplace. Although it's not fair, it seems like we come to work with a strike against us simply because we choose to work and leave our babies in the capable hands of others. It's hard, both physically and emotionally even without the added pressures of society and co-workers. I happen to work in an environment that is tolerant and understanding so this helps a lot.

It's the people like Anonymous who show us we have to much to prove. It's ridiculous to me that people like Anonymous, who have no idea what it's like to be a parent can judge so harshly. I wonder what Anonymous would do if he/she ever had children. Would YOU give up YOUR career to stay home? I won't delete Anonymous's comments because I feel like, however unfair they may be, they are legitimate in the fact that many people think like this and working moms need to know that people still think like this.

Welcome to the 21st Century where women are just as capable of men as having successful careers. Where the home is not just the "woman's domain." Where men and women can jointly share domestic roles and responsibilities. Where the woman does not have to sacrifice her education, her goals, her drives, and her need to be a productive member of socitety to sit at home all day while her children are in school just so she can be there with a batch of freshly baked cookies when they get home from school.

Don't get me wrong, being a stay at home mom is a tough and demanding job and I admire those who decide to stay home. I'd decide to stay home if I knew it was best for my family. Women who CHOOSE to stay at home have my full admiration and respect. At this point in my life, it just isn't for me and I don't even think it is necessarily best for my family.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My New Life

Now I finally understand what people mean when they say that formerly foreign phrase, "I don't have time for facebook!" It used to shock me to my core that PEOPLE just didn't have time for FACEBOOK. I mean, Facebook soaked up like hours of my day at a time. It was the only way a lawstudent like myself could socialize- from afar and not in real time.

Well, NOW I know.

This has been a hard, busy and tiring week. And you get to hear all about it.

In some ways coming back feels just like I never left. I get my old office from the summer back. I'm still not quite a lawyer because I'm waiting on bar results so I get to do the same things I did as a summer associate. I know most of the people already so there aren't too many "getting to know the co-workers with small talk" awkward moments. In fact, the social part of work is AWESOME. My first summer I was so nervous and shy. Last summer I was more confident and didn't spend all my time hiding in my office. This year, I feel like quite the social butterflies and am very comfortable in my environment, it feels like an old shoe (except for remembering how to use the dang printer/copier/fax machine). Even annoying guy from the summer is already asking me to buy him coffee and calling me Pooky.

My first day was a little frustrating because my only project was to review and analyze invoices from co-counsel. UGH. It was horrible. The second day was pretty much the same. But today I was assigned three different discovery status reports to go out to our clients. I was also assigned a research project and the task of contacting another client and answering interrogatories. Oh and a Motion to Dismiss! This is more like it! I love working on tangible client deliverables and drafting pleadings! It was great to see the face of the associate who assigned me a status report when just 5 hours later I handed him my first draft- he was shocked and impressed that I had actually completed it the same day! That felt pretty darn good.

I love the partners. They are so friendly, personable, and approachable. I feel like they genuinely care about how I'm doing at the firm. They all have small children at home and they totally understand where the mommy in me is coming from when I show up to work. It feels great to have partners come into my office to give me assignments and end up staying fifteen minutes longer than expected because we are chatting it up about our kids (!).

There are only two frustrating things about work. (1) The famous BILLABLE HOUR. Sheesh. I'm so nervous about meeting my hours. I never had a problem working there over the summer but now that I'm salary I'm worried about slacking on meeting my daily requirements. (2) Learning how to practice law. I mean I feel heads above most first year associates that I know just because I know the very basics of business of insurance law practice already and I have two summers of experience. But there is still a steep learning curve when it comes to learning how to handle a case from start to finish- in that regards, I have MUCH to learn.

Finally, with the return to work comes the return of the Mommy Guilt. I leave the house at 7am and return at 7pm five days a week. That means I have about 1.5 hours each weekday to spend with my fast growing toddler. With Jacob, I'm so conflicted. I enjoy working and using my law degree but I feel guilty for not always being there. I feel like everyone but me is raising him. I worry that I am going to miss out on so much of his life. A heavy weight of guilt hits me each time I walk out the door in the morning. Why is working away from home so hard for mommies and not so hard for daddies (my husband never feels this guilty and conflicted, why do I have to? It's just so unfair)!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cee, The Pretender

So the Real World begins for me this week as I start the first day of the rest of my career. I am pretty much 79% a walking ball of anxiety and 21% excited out of my mind.

I've interned for the past two summers at this firm but when I start on Monday things are likely to be very different. Instead of assigning me a research project or a single pleading to draft, they will hand me over a whole case list of my very own. I usually hate first days because they are so awkward and unproductive and full of paperwork, meetings and introductions. This time around it wont be so bad because I aready know most of the people and they are giving me my old office back (I LOVE my old office! It even has a view of Lake Union and if I croon my neck I can kinda see the ferry boats coming and going from downtown Seattle-not to mention that guy who likes to lay out on his veranda in his birthday suit!).

There are some great associates there who will be excellent sources of advice and I know I can go to them when I need some help or assurance. I had a great "mentor" there from last summer who was really smart and friendly and his opinion held some weight with the partners.

I feel all kinds of jitters. It's almost like the feeling you get the night before the first day of school- except after 6 years of being a student, first days of school are very familiar territory while first days as a "pretend" lawyer are still extremely daunting (I still haven't gotten my bar results or been sworn in- so what am I? A pretend lawyer?).

I just hope I picked out an appropriate outfit for my first day. I hope my alarm goes off. I hope it doesn't down pour during my walk to the office. I hope I can remember how to function at 8am in the morning. And I hope all the kids are nice to me.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mommy 'Tude

I have days like yesterday and then I have days like today where I think nothing can prepare you for how awesome it is to be a parent. I was thinking just that today- I have always loved kids and babies growing up. I babysat throughout my 1L year for FUN. But nothing can prepare you for just how awesome it is to watch your own child grow, call you mama, give you kisses, and run into your arms with a big smile.


Today Jacob had his 18 month appointment. His head is still measuring 97th percentile, while his height and weight are still at 50 and 25-50 respectively. In our patient room Jacob watched a tractor outside the window doing some landscaping. He sat there for 15 minutes just watching that darn thing! We played with some trucks and he learned to rearend one with another and say "crash!" It broke my heart when he clung to me, pain in his eyes as he got his two shots. Then when the nurse went away, holding me was the only thing in the world that would make him feel better.


On the way to the car he pushed the elevator buttons and we threw pennies into the fountain. Then we stopped by my husband's office to say "hi" and husband blew up a balloon for Jacob. We watched Jacob try to pick up the balloon but each time he got near it, as he bent down, his foot would kick it either into his face making him giggle or straight out in front of him. Then he'd try again but accidentally kick the ball further. It was a riot!


He fell asleep before I got to do my grocery shopping so I carried all 25 pounds of that kid around the store while trying to pick out food and put it in the basket in my other hand. We were quite a sight and my arms were killing me by the time we went through checkout. Then we came home and did his animal puzzle (each animal puzzle piece makes a sound when you put it in the right spot) five times in a row before he was ready to move onto something new. We ended the day running around the park.

Today was clearly much better than yesterday. But I need to remind myself when things get tough that it really is all in my attitude. When I feel like Jacob is being especially difficult it is usually because I need to just let go and see things from a new perspective not because he is being "bad." I also need to relax and stop trying to keep us on a particular schedule. And I need to remember that it isn't vital to always have a perfectly clean house (although my husband would disagree with that one).

I guess they key to being a happy stay at home mom is maintaining a positive attitude. It's all about the outlook. The right attitude can turn a glass of spilled milk into a fun cleaning game. Attitude seems to set you up for success or failure and is truly half the battle.

Um, I'm still glad that I start work on Monday though.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Why I Can't Be A Stay At Home Mom

Occassionally I'll entertain this crazy fantasy of wishing I were a stay at home mom. Fantasy goes as follows: I'll spend my days making cookies with my son, enjoying sunny days at the park, we'll quietly read some books, spend an afternoon with our coloring books and have play dates with friends.

Then I spend a week (ok, it's only Tuesday but it's already been a long week!) at home with my son. And I quickly snap out of such foolishness thinking.

While he can be sweet, entertaining and hilarious, the other 75% of the time he is a wild little adventurous boy with a mind of his own. He has his own little personality, he knows exactly what he wants and he is very vocal about expressing them. While I absolutely love this about him, it results in the fact that we often (very often) disagree. For instance he thinks he can have cookie dough for breakfast, he doesn't need naps, the coffee grinder is a toy, cat food should be recycled, and that he can watch Elmo 14 hours out of the day. When I try to tell him otherwise, we have plenty of tantrums.

The hard part is that he wants to play with everything and try everything we do. He is very independent and wants to be a big boy. He loves to explore and learn about the world around him. I want him to do this but I'll only let him explore the taste of cat food so many times. I'll let him play with the water in the sink until I've cleaned up one too many messes in one day. It's great he wants to learn but how do I tell him to ease up on the messes?

Some days it seems like all I do is follow Jacob around and clean up everything in his aftermath: cat food, water and juice on the floor, crackers ground into the carpet, an over turned box of oatmeal, every toy known to man strewn about our floor, the contents of my wallet (typically three times in one day). It's enough to make me scream sometimes!

But there are little rewards along the way that seem to come at just the right time. Like when the oven timer goes off and Jacob looks at me, giggles and yells "beeep!" Or when he points at an object and says it's name for thr first time. And just when I think I've had enough and I'm just about fed up for the day, he climbs up on the table, comes over to me and gives me three big mouth kisses.