Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Balancing Act

I suspect we all struggle with striking the right balance amongst those things in life that pull us in many directions. I believe there are people who have achieved the perfect blend of balance and harmony and after some thought, I've decided that the attainment of a balanced life is not accidental. We have to work for it.

I try to keep that thought in mind each morning as I sit in bed with my first cup of tea (Lipton, splash of skim milk, thank you) mulling over what the day has in store for me. I find that I am best able to fill my many roles if I start each day with some quiet time before the household wakes up and the day begins.

This is particularly important on days that I stay home from the office. On those days, I am both Attorney and Stay At Home Mom. On those days, quiet time involves writing a physical To Do list blending the requirements of running a law firm with the requirements of being a stay at home mom: work on firm newsletter, get advertising quotes, bank deposit, put kids' winter coats in dryer, grocery store, change bed linens, etc.

Regardless of whether I am headed to the office or not, my children wake up at 6:30 a.m. and thus begins The Crazy Hour, the hour in which they are all fed, watered, dressed, brushed, groomed and out the door for school. Well, not all of them - the younger two stay behind with me on non-office days (have I mentioned that I have four girls?).

Two days a week one of the younger girls has preschool - which means The Nearly Crazy Hour follows close on the heels of The Crazy Hour. The Nearly Crazy Hour involves me chasing the two stay-behinds around the house, encouraging the wearing of clothing as an alternative to spending the day (again) in Tinkerbell jammies, packing yet another backpack, and finding time to get myself out of my pajamas and the three of us in the car and off to preschool.

Then I return home with the littlest one, put a Scooby Doo dvd in (What? Like you haven't?), make another cup of tea and focus on the lawyerly tasks on my list. Don't need to pick up the preschooler for 2 hours, so this is my work-at-home time. The time that I can balance out the Morning Crazy with the Attorney Work that needs to be satisfied. I spend the afternoons blending Mom-ish tasks with random texts and emails in an attempt to accomplish something of lawyerly substance before the day is done.

At the end of the day, I find myself with a cup of tea (Celestial Seasonings, Sleepytime Tea, thank you) and go over my morning list. Was I more of an attorney than a Mom today? Did my Mom-ness get in the way of managing my law firm?

For me, it is not about balancing all things at all times, at the same time. It is about finding the time - creating the time - in each day to acknowledge, nourish, fulfill, accomplish, and complete those things that life requires of me. I look again at my list and mentally shuffle anything leftover till tomorrow, taking no small measure of joy in appreciating the balance of my life.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Day

Woke up this morning to snow-covered trees and school cancellations. It's going to be a good day!

The Mom part of me looks forward to snowsuits, snowmen and hot chocolate. Gloves and hats drying by the kitchen fireplace, red cheeked children planning snow forts, snowball wars and snow angels. The smell of chocolate chip cookies in the oven, the crackle of a fire.

And then there's the attorney part of me that understands the realities that a snowstorm such as this brings. Slippery roads, icy conditions, idiot drivers trying to outwit Mother Nature. Unshoveled sidewalks, wet walkways, dangerous conditions.
I think of these things and a smile spreads across my thoughts. People getting injured, people getting hurt, people needing the assistance of a certain counselor at law who focuses on protecting the rights of injured people . . .

I no longer attempt to reconcile these two distinct parts of me - mother, lawyer. I understand that the two are not mutually exclusive and that together, they make me the person I am.

It is going to be a good day.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Did you ever see that movie? Early '90's, Richard Gere. Facets of life, past and present intersecting. (Unfortunately for Richard, things didn't work out so well for him. He died at the end of the movie - thus never having to deal with the intersection of these events. But I digress.)

The theme of 'intersection' describes 2010 for me. Lawyer, mother, daughter, wife, friend, student, novice, blank slate. A carnival of thoughts and emotions initiated by specific events - pneumonia and much time on my hands within which to ruminate, the rekindling and reworking and redefinition of old friendships, the buying of a new building into which we will move our office. It is curious, the ability of the past to thrust into the reality of the present. Past and present intersecting.

How do we become who it is we find ourselves today? When did our conscious choices take on a life of their own, leading us to places we did not consciously choose to go?

I've been mashing these thoughts, truths, realities around in my head for weeks now. I'm optimistic that I will come to a place where the sense of it all no longer eludes me. Till then, I am enjoying the surprises, the depth and understanding of myself and the remarkable sense of calm I feel.