Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Leave Your Baggage at the Door.

            Right now, I have a case that is taking over my life.  I have trial in two months, terrible facts and a client who is looking at many, many years in prison. Anyone who knows me personally has to wonder about the truthfulness of this next statement, but I am a meticulous (almost OCD) attorney.  I need to know everything and be prepared for every possibility– no winging it for me. (I see eyebrows raising...) It is true, though. I am constantly seeking confirmation from my partner that I'm doing the right thing. No matter how much hand holding or back patting I get, I still feel like I’ve got to be missing something.  This sometimes consumes me. While I don't necessarily adore the idea of somebody getting a new trial because I haven't done my job right, I am still somewhat comforted by the fact that at least they have an Ineffective Assistance of Counsel argument to fall back on.  If I am ineffective, I want to know about it – preferably beforehand!
            To say that I am stressed about this case is an understatement. This is one of those cases that wake me up in the middle of the night, literally wondering “what should I do? have I done everything right? Is there something I’m missing?” Needless to say, this anxiety I have is not always left at the office at the end of the day. When I'm stressed about work, my kids notice. What can I tell them?  “Mommy is trying to make sure that someone doesn't get extremely hurt by mistake and is feeling completely inadequate”?   They know what I do and that I'm trying to help people. They don’t understand or even comprehend the possibility of many of the situations I deal with – which is fine by me – but it makes it difficult to explain time commitment and the level of anxiety that I have. 
            To some extent, that’s okay.  When I’m not home, they know I’m at work.  Funny story: A few years ago, when B was 5 and H was 3, we were at my mother-in-law’s house for the weekend.  Steve had gone fishing very early in the morning, and when I got up at 7ish, I was the first one awake.  The kids were still asleep when I woke up. I thought my mother in law was still in bed, and I ran out to get coffee and to pick up something at WalMart.  I remember thinking, as I left the house, that it was nice that my mother-in-law finally got to sleep in.  Usually, she’s up and about pretty early.  When I got back to the house everyone was awake.  My mother- in-law then advised me that she spent the night at my nephew’s house watching him!  She wasn’t there at all when I left.  When she got home, B and H were playing quietly in the living room. When she asked “Where’s your Mom?”  B piped up “She’s at work!”  Simple, when I’m not at home, I am at work.    
            But when I am home they want me available to them, which means no working on the computer, no client phone calls, no document review.  No work at home.  Period.  Lack of sleep and increased anxiety sure make my job as a mom more difficult. But truly, there is nothing better than the happy shout of “Mommy’s home!” and a giant hug from a pretty girl, along with a very cool “Hey, Mom” from a big kid, to take your mind off things - at least until bed time!


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