Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mind v. Heart

Ahh…the holidays. The best time of year. And for me this has nothing to do with Christmas and New Years. I love this time of year simply because I get huge blocks of time home with my family due my office being closed. I love these blocks because it gives me a chance to do my dream job…the one job I secretly wish in my heart I could have…Stay at home Mom.

Yes its true, in my heart, this “J.D. Mom” longs to be just “Mom”.

I actually envy the women whose hearts want both the working life and mother life. You know the ones that say that even though they love being with their kids, they would work if they had the choice. They say it gives them a sense of identity, or that their kids would drive them crazy if they stayed home. I have tried to feel this way, but I don’t. I never get sick of my kids. And I don’t have much of an identity separate of being a Mom. I bet if you polled 100 people that knew me and asked them to tell you just one thing about me…all 100 people would mention my kids in some fashion. I highly doubt any of them would say “She’s a lawyer”. I actually laugh when people that know me only in my Mom role, such as the dance Moms at J’s dance class, are shocked that I’m an attorney. In fact shortly after I started at my firm, I heard a rumor that some of the legal assistants were talking about me behind my back. Know what they we’re saying? “She’s such a MOM”. Yep, that’s probably the only time that my feelings weren’t hurt from behind-the-back conversations.

So why do I work, when in my heart I want to solely be just a Mom?? Well, like so many people, I struggle with the inner battle of mind v. heart. I work because my mind tells me to…my mind tells me this is the right path…PERIOD. In my mind I know the reality that my family can’t live on my husband’s salary alone and have the life I want my children to have. And so I found myself in a conflict between my mind and heart when my first child was born…and I chose to follow my mind.

So because of my longing for the stay at home Mom job (and it truly is a job, no matter what society may say), a strange thing happens when I’m home for a block of time. It’s almost like I feel like I’m on an audition, a job interview for the job my heart wants. I try to be the best “stay-at-home Mom” I can. I clean and organize my house, cook multi-course and elaborate meals, take the kids on fun adventures, spend lots of time with my husband. And my heart secretly longs to hear my husband say after these auditions “You are way too good at this to work, quit your job tomorrow”.

In the world my heart wants, I get to do everything I want with my kids, my house is spotless, my kids eat delicious and healthy meals, and I’m not too tired at night to spend a little time with my husband. In my reality, or the world my mind chose, my house is NEVER clean (well except when company comes over), my kids stay up later than most so that I can have some time with them, Mac and Cheese and Pizza are frequent visitors to our menu, and I find myself falling asleep when my husband and I try to watch a movie together. So I must admit it is SO tempting to throw caution to the wind and walk away from my job.

But my mind stops me and puts me back to reality.

I know what you may be thinking. Didn’t I blog before that I have no working Mom guilt because of all the benefits my kids and I receive from me working? Yes, you got me. That blog was written from my “mind”. My mind knows that my kids are actually better off because I work, no matter how hard it is on me. My mind even knows that I myself am better in many respects because I work.

And yes I am also the woman that loves my job. I truly love being an attorney. I love getting in front a jury. I love working up a case. I love being a litigator. So how can I love my job but not want to do it in my heart? Doesn’t make a lot of sense does it? I look at my job as the means to live my life. It gives me the power to live the life I want…and so I love it. And obviously if I have to work I want to do something I love. I’m not going to be away from my kids for something I’m not passionate about in some way. So, I chose to be an attorney.

These internal conflicts are all par for the course in the typical, age old battle of mind v. heart. Should we follow our minds or our hearts when a conflict between the two arise?

Even though we all secretly wish to follow our hearts…I think most people if they really thought about it would agree that in this battle its best to side with your mind if there is a conflict. I know people say to “follow your heart” but should we jump into something our mind tells us not to? In my life, when I jumped into something against what my mind said…well let’s just say my early 20’s were not pleasant because of that. In fact, ignoring my mind led to the darkest days of my 32 years.

So fellow working Moms its okay to struggle with the mind v. heart battle. And its okay if you don’t. It’s okay if you are a working Mom whose mind and heart are in harmony with your life. But I wrote this blog for the Moms out there who don’t have it so easy. The ones who deal with the mind v. heart battle everyday.

Although I often say I don’t have a “choice” to work, I guess I did have a choice. I had to choose whether to follow my mind or my heart. For me I chose my mind, probably because my heart loves my children more than myself and so what’s best for them has to come first, no matter what my heart says. So I’m going to buck the fairy tales and say “Follow your Mind”. I think if you actually think about it…in the battles between the mind and heart, when we follow the mind we may complain about it under our breath, and it is often harder, but in the long run we are much happier for following the path our mind navigated.


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