Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Not-So-Stoic ER Visit

When my oldest son was a baby, I was pretty trigger happy with the ER.  I remember taking him to the ER at six months old for a high fever.  And then once when he fell and busted his lip.  Both maladies have occurred another 100 times or so, and each time I laugh at my once naive first time momness.  I've gotten a much thicker skin now - with two boys, one has to.  Blood, bruises, and the biweekly fever and/or cold are all par for the course.

That being said, we are still ER frequenters.  Three months ago for a skin infection (on a holiday weekend).  Two months ago for a severe tongue laceration (aka, Braden bit through his entire tongue - gross).  One month ago for an x-ray for a sprained ankle.  I no longer approach the ER with anxiety; I do so rather with quiet resolution - Okay, here we go again.  Please let this be as painless as possible.  

But yesterday - yesterday rocked me a little.

We were visiting family in New York, and my husband and I were literally almost out the door (coats on, car packed) to have a night away in Manhattan, just the two of us.  We bid farewell to the kids, and just as we were headed towards the door, I looked back at Casey and watched as he fell backwards, slow motion, out of a barstool.  It was quite a bang and I knew right away it wasn't going to be good.  My husband ran towards him, and immediately we both saw blood.  A lot of it. Coming from a huge gash in his cheek.

Instead of heading to Manhattan, we headed to the local ER.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Crossing off the Days

I've always been a calendar person.  Even with outlook and i-phones and google apps and God knows what else is out there, I still have an old fashioned hard copy calendar.

For as long as I remember, I was a crosser offer of days.  With each day's end, I would proudly put a big fat "X" through the calendar box.  Typically I would do this because I was counting down to something.  In high school, it was usually a countdown to some school break.  In college, it was getting to the end of a semester, or taking a trip with friends.  When I lived in London, it was a countdown to get through the workweek so I could head out to whatever European destination it was I was traveling to that weekend.  For a long time, I was consistently looking forward, and I was anxious to get there.  An "X" on the calendar just meant I was one day closer.

As I got older, and progressed through my career, the X's took a slightly darker turn.  Instead of using them to mark the progress towards something exciting, they started representing the proximity of an escape from something I didn't necessarily like.  X number of days left in discovery hell, X number of weeks left until a filing deadline, X number of days until the end of a billable hours cycle, or X number of months until I could take a few days off.  I began wishing the days away towards a goal of something ending, rather than beginning.  I did this for years.

But the last time I really obsessed over the calendar was in 2008, when I was pregnant with Braden, my first son.  At 24 weeks, I was put on bed rest, which is its own form of subtle torture. Not only was I yearning to move around like a normal person, but I was also petrified about pregnancy complications.  I wanted to hibernate for 16 weeks and wake up, at 40 weeks pregnant, with a healthy baby.  During this time I obsessed over the calendar to an unhealthy degree, and put in each X carefully and boldly as the days passed.  In the end, I didn't hibernate, but I did end up with a perfect little boy.

It's the last time I have ever put X's on a calendar.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Denied, Rejected, Rebuffed, We Don't Want YOU!

I had a job interview last month.  I didn't write about it, or really even tell anyone about it, because it was kind of out of the blue and I didn't really know what to make of it.

It all started at the beginning of January.  Every once in a while I will peruse the part time job listings for local universities in my area.  I don't know why, I have this glorified view of academia and think it would be so cool if I could teach and be surrounded by students and be all "collegial" like and get my summers off.  It seems like a great career for a mom, and it also would allow me to continue freelancing through my gig with Montage.  Reality or not, I found a job listing at a nearby university that seemed perfect for me - part time faculty (20 hours a week), and working mostly from home.

Ah yes!  I thought.  This is where all roads have led!  This is what is meant to be!

True, I have no teaching experience.  But it was in a legalesque field, so I figured I had a shot at it. I applied online one night, weeks passed, and I almost forgot about it.  Then, at the beginning of February I received word that they wanted to conduct a phone interview.  I did.  Then I received word that they wanted me to come in for the next round of interviews.

Do you know how long it has been since I have done a formal interview?  Long enough that my suit (which I had to retrieve from the attic) was so ill fitting that the waste fell about six inches above my belly button (I like to think it is just my childbearing hips, but really, it's the ever increasing muffin top).  Long enough that when I fished my interview binder out of storage, the piece of paper that fell out of it was my interview schedule at Dickstein,  circa 2007.  Long enough that I actually found myself googling "interview etiquette."

I'm not going to lie - I felt a bit out of my element.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Reaching Out

I'm reaching out today.    

A few things:  

1) I finally bit the bullet and made a Facebook page for my blog.  I still am not entirely sure how it works (I can't seem to "like" anybody or "friend" anybody myself, but maybe I just can't. I'll get the hang of it eventually).  But if you want to "like" my page, there's a link on the top right sidebar, or you can click here.  

2) Hey remember, my Your Turn series (see the top right header above)?  Basically, it's a series of posts where readers share their stories of parenthood, work, the struggle for a balance, or just life generally (yes, I did cut and paste that from a previous post, if it sounds familiar).  It's been ages since I've had a guest poster - anyone up for it?  I love hearing other people's stories and sharing them on the blog.  

3) This one is the real "reach out."  One of my colleagues at Montage Legal Group told me about a program they have out in California called Mommy Esquire.  It's a group of lawyers, who also happen to be moms, who meet regularly to discuss "a variety of issues facing lawyers with children, including career choices, work-life balance and raising children."  

There are a lot of us mom lawyers in DC (whether we work out of the house or stay at home), and I thought it might be fun to do our own version of "Mommy Esquire" here.   So how about a DC area lawyer mom happy hour meet up?

If you are interested, please send me an email (, and also do one of the following: 1) include a link to your business profile, 2) include a link to your LinkedIn account, or 3) like my page on Facebook. (I just need to make sure you are real and not some crazy internet stalker).  Also, if your firm or business is interested in sponsoring the event, let me know, and I can advertise it on here.  

Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, March 14, 2013


It's a modern day nightmare.

You are driving, or perhaps you are about to park.  Someone cuts you off, or steals your spot. You honk with fervor.  You gesture.  You yell an obscenity from the inside of your car.  And as you ultimately pass the other driver by, you go to give them a dirty look and....

You know them.

I should start by saying that this has never happened to me.  But I'm always scared it will.  I usually have a brief moment of panic right after the road rage incident where I think, Uh oh, I think I know that car.  I have been spared the humiliation (though I can't say the same for my husband, but that incident will remain in the vault).

It's a weird and universal phenomenon.

No matter people's natural inclination, if they are going to be rude, they tend to be rude to strangers.  It's not just with road rage, it's on an airplane.  On a telemarketing call.  Waiting in any long line.  Navigating a crowded grocery store.  (As an aside, I once had a postal worker yell at me (and I mean yell) when I carried my then puppy in with me to the post office in a carrier.  She made me cry, hard, for some odd reason.)

There are many opportunities for anonymous hostility, but I think the most highly populated avenue is the internet.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Working from Home, Leaning In, and Having it All

You can't avoid it if you want to.  The issue of women in the workplace is everywhere.

First there was Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's announcement that she is calling an end to telecommuting.   In the memo that changed it all, she wrote:

"To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side.  That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings.  Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home.  We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.  Beginning in June, we're asking all employees with work-from-home arrangements to work in Yahoo! offices." (Memo found here).

I'd venture to guess that this new policy will most predominantly affect women -  mothers in particular.  Ms. Mayer, a mother herself and a notorious workaholic, doesn't seem to mind.  In fact, she took her position at Yahoo when she was five months pregnant, and after having her first child, she was quickly back at work after a two week maternity leave.  (Yes, you read that right - A TWO WEEK MATERNITY LEAVE).  I suppose its not a surprise that her value system is being thrust upon the entire Yahoo workforce, but I, for one, am glad I don't work there.  (And so is Richard Branson, by the way).

Then there's Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook and mother of two, who is all over the news for her new book, Leaning In, where she argues that women are their own worst enemies - that we need to be more ambitious, more aggressive, more assertive.  That, in essence, we need to be more like men.  She's wants to start a movement, and perhaps she is the perfect person to do so - in a world where 96% of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are men, Ms. Sandberg has done pretty well for herself.

In an interview last night with 60 Minutes, she stated that in the business world women "start leaning back.  They say, 'Oh, I'm busy.  I want to have a child one day.  I couldn't possibly, you know, take on anymore.' . . . . I've never had a man say that stuff to me."  She has a point, I suppose.  Neither have I.  But is there something inherently wrong with that?  I did want children.  I didn't want to take on anymore.  I wanted some semblance of a work-life balance.  What does that make me?  A failure?  A thorn in the side of this new feminist movement?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Have a High Chair

I take the kids out to restaurants all of the time - probably more than the average person.  The reason is threefold:

1) I enjoy eating out and refuse to allow motherhood to take away this joy from my life.
2) It is an excuse to get out of the house and kills at least two hours.
3) It means that I don't have to cook for the kids at home, watch them not eat the food I cook for them at home, battle them when they continually refuse, and ultimately clean up all of their uneaten (and thrown) food.

I try not to take the kids to fine dining establishments, but I also don't only take them to kidcentric restaurants either.  My rule of thumb is if I show up at a restaurant before 6pm, it's all fair game.  If people want to ensure that they do not encounter screaming children while dining out, show up after 7:30pm.  These are the unwritten rules that I have decided to live by, and I am at peace with them.

My kids are generally well behaved at restaurants.  I come equipped with Ipads and LeapPads and arsenals of matchbox cars and cheerios and goldfish crackers.  I have perfected the art of bribery with ice cream and the staggering of juicy beverages.  I am a pro at this.  I have even had random strangers come up to me and tell me how well behaved my children are.  I smile with pride and graciously accept the compliment.

It isn't always so smooth, however.  There are missteps and low points.  There are thrown objects. Spilled drinks.  Breakdowns and tantrums and shrilling screams.  I have carried a perpendicular kicking child out of a restaurant more times than I'd care to share.  But it all comes with the territory.  If you're going to brave a restaurant with two kids under five, you're going to have your war stories.  I usually take it in stride.

But a restaurant rocked me yesterday.

Friday, March 1, 2013

I'm in Love with a Boy

Head over heels, actually.

And I'm not talking about my husband.

We shared a bed last night.  We held each other until he fell asleep.  I caressed his hair and stared at his face for as long as I could before succumbing to sleep myself.

He's absolutely gorgeous, you see.

But it's not just his looks that I have fallen for - it's absolutely everything about him.  He is funny, ambitious, intelligent, loyal, and kind.  All the qualities I've ever looked for in a boy.  His smile makes me glow.  His touch warms my heart.  His laugh tickles me inside.

I tell him I love him all the time, but words fail me.  Words don't seem to express it quite adequately. Sometimes I love him so much, it almost hurts.  Almost like I've lived my whole life just to meet him, and now that he's here, and he's mine, I don't know what to do with all the happiness he brings.

He's in love with me too.  Perhaps more in love with me than anyone has ever been.

He misses me more than anything.  When he knows we have to part, even for a short time, he cries.  He never wants to be away from me.

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