One day Miss J came home from pre-school with a project. The teacher asked her to tell the class what her Mommy does for “a living”. I smiled and said…"Well, Mommy's job is called 'an attorney'...", and started to tell her about my job so she would be prepared to inform her class.
A few months passed and I never heard about the project again. At the end of the school year they had a Mother’s Day Luau and J’s teacher approached me. In her hand, she had a picture, a crayon drawing of some stick figures. The teacher smiled and said “I thought you would like to see this”. My eyes filled up with tears as I looked at the paper. When they asked J the question “What does your Mommy do for a living?”…she responded: “She’s my Mom”.
That night as I was tucking her in I said to her, “I thought you were going to tell the class I was an attorney?”. She looked at me dumbfounded by my question and said “But, that’s your JOB”.
I don’t think J will ever fully appreciate how much she touched my heart that day, with a wisdom way beyond her then-3 years. She was right on with how I view myself; My job may be an attorney, but my “living” is being a Mom.
I have the stick figure drawing in my office and I look at it often to remind me that this is my goal as I raise my kids. I want them to know that my life is being their Mom, and the rest are mere details.
This of course is not an easy task to achieve and so I have had to establish certain rules to live by. First, I do not (unless there is an emergency) ever work in front of my kids. This means that I have to often stay up late and work long after they go to bed. Second, my kids “social lives” can’t suffer because I am forced to work. This means that if my daughter wants to do dance, soccer, and ice skating then so be it…I have to make it work with my schedule. Third, my kids “work” with me. When I travel for work (which I do a great deal), I often take them with me. This way a business trip for me becomes a fun family getaway. Finally, I never let them “see me sweat” i.e. know the stress I hold in my life caused by Mommy/Attorney balance. I may have 2 summary judgments due, a jury trial, and an oral argument in front of the Iowa Supreme Court all crammed into one week….but they will never know it.
Will I succeed at this goal as my kids grow?? Well, that remains to be seen. But I will do everything in my power so that when J, H, and L are grown and are asked the typical “What does your Mom do for a living?” question, they will each smile and say “She’s my Mom”.