Tag Archives: law

The Old Me

15 Jan

Bob Porter: “Looks like you’ve been missing a lot of work lately.”

Peter Gibbons: “I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing it, Bob.”  

– Office Space 

A few months before Lucy was born, at the prodding of my law firm’s marketing director, I joined a formal networking group.  It meets in Westwood the third Tuesday of every month at 7:30 a.m., and is comprised of lawyers, CPAs, real estate agents, insurance brokers…basically anyone who provides a service.  The point of the group is to build relationships with the other members for the purpose of eventually referring business.

When I was first approached by my marketing director, I was reluctant, to say the least, to check this group out.  It’s part of a larger networking organization of which many partners in my firm are members, and it just seemed overly formal, overly blatant about getting business referrals, and just generally not my cup of tea.  (I love people, but I hate when it feels like schmoozing.)  So for many months, through the spring and summer, I put off attending a meeting.

Finally, in late summer, I sucked it up and drove out to Westwood in the early morning.  I was happily surprised that not only does the group include other young people and several other women, but everyone was extremely warm and welcoming.  Then I faced a quandary — did it make sense to join a group knowing that in a few months I’d be having Lucy and begin a 6-month maternity leave?  But I figured (not knowing whether this was overly optimistic) that this would be a good way to retain some small connection to the working world during my leave.

Understandably, I missed the November and December meetings.  The November meeting was just three days after Lucy was born, and even by the December meeting (at about the 1-month mark) I just wasn’t in the frame of mind to be donning business attire and leaving the house in the morning.  I wasn’t sure I was going to attend this month’s meeting either, but when I received an email from the group leader that attendance at this particular meeting was “strongly encouraged,” I decided to bite the bullet.  I arranged for my mom to come over at 8 am to be with Lucy when Hubs went to work.

Then this morning, I almost bailed.  Last night was not the easiest with the little bean, and I woke up exhausted.  I had planned to hop in the shower no later than 5:45, but I ended up feeding Lucy at 5:30 (Hubs had handled the 2:30 a.m. feeding and I didn’t want to break his deep sleep), so I ran out of time.  The best I could do was comb my hair into a bun, and I looked and felt like a disaster.  Still, I put on a black pantsuit (yay for being able to button the jacket again!), some black heels that I haven’t worn in months, and hit the road.  On the way I thought to myself, “It’s not too late to go home and try to get some more sleep…”

But as it turns out, going to this meeting was the best thing I could have done for myself today.  I wouldn’t have expected this since I don’t even know the people in the group that well, but today I felt more like “myself” than I have since Lucy was born.  I have become so hyper-focused on Lucy and on mamahood that I really needed that reminder that I have a career and a life outside of Lucy, too.  I studied and worked hard to become a lawyer and I get satisfaction from it.  So while there are certain things about my job I don’t love (billable hours…) there are things I do love (the intellectual challenge, the camaraderie, the problem solving).

Before Lucy I always thought I would want to continue working outside the home, even if I had a choice not to.  Then Lucy came along and I fell so in love with her that I thought maybe I would really want to be a SAHM if I could.  But now I’m realizing my first instinct was right.  I love Lucy, and I love being a mom, but I’m not cut out for staying at home full-time.  Along with my feeling of relaxation, I’ve also been feeling a bit like my brain is turning to mush, and today helped!  Of course, attending one morning meeting is quite different than a full-time job, and I know I will have a tough adjustment once I do return to work.  But it is nice to have a way to gradually ease back into that world before I have to jump back into all the deadlines and stresses that go along with it.

When I came home, I shared my thoughts with my mom, who agreed that it’s important for me to maintain my career.  Always wise, she said the following:

It may be very hard to think about, but although Lucy is the most important person in your life, you won’t be the most important person in her life.  And that’s how it should be.”

I apparently taught my mom that lesson early on.  At the tender age of 8, as she loves to recount, I wrote her a Mother’s Day card with the sentimental note, “Just think — only 10 more years.”  In other words, I was envisioning my departure from the house before I had even left elementary school!  It’s so hard to imagine when she is just a baby, but Lucy may very well be the same way, and I need to be able to laugh about it.  I think that will be much easier to do if I hold on, to some degree, to the “old me.”