Monday, April 2, 2012

Line Jumping Lives - Part Two

A couple of weeks ago I introduced you to my “line jumping lives”. If you missed that post, I like every working Mom am trying to find balance between my two lives of attorney v. Mommy. Although I try to keep my lives separate, parallel, and peaceful…often my lives do not want to cooperate. My personal life and professional life often find it very hard to co-exist peacefully leading them to infringe upon each other all the time, “line jumping” sort to speak.

When I last wrote about this topic, it was my professional life trying to butt in on my personal life. Well, apparently my personal life has been harboring a vendetta….

This week I have a federal two day trial. My partner asked me a few weeks back to 2nd chair a trial with her. I love litigation so any chance I get to be a part of it is like Christmas morning for my professional life. So, yes I was thrilled and excited about the prospect of this trial. If I have to work (which thanks to my husband’s recent loss of the Mega Millions jackpot, looks like something I will be doing for many years to come) then I want to litigate. And now my professional life was giving this opportunity.

So, my professional life was at its happiest, busy sure, but excited. And that’s when it was blind-sided as my personal life decided to butt in and try to rain on its parade. Oh no "butt in" is a little too kind, my personal life lodged a multi-faceted attack upon my professional life.

It started with the infamous note from backpack. I have come to find out that the backpack of a child very rarely holds good news. It either holds a note asking for money, or telling you at midnight that your child needs to wear red polka dot socks the next day. So I have learned my lesson to open it each night, preferrably before Target closes. As my daughter and I emptied her Hello Kitty backpack I saw the usuals: old homework, Market day brochures, pictures from art class, a library book. But then from the bottom J pulled out something she was very excited to show me. She pulled out a note…not just a note the hand drawn, colored with crayon kind of note. The kind of note you know is important…

I opened up the note. In my daughter’s precious Kindergarten-Crayola blue handwriting I read

“You are invited to my concert April 3rd at 1:00 p.m.”

Ka-Boom, first attack. April 3rd is the first day of my trial. The attack was major as this was not an invitation this was a handwritten invitation. Even though on the outside I was smiling ear to ear for my daughter’s sake a ton of emotions were festering. At first I got mad, really mad. I mean was there seriously no voices of reason in the “Let’s set a memory-saving scrapbook moment, pull out the video tape, adorable concert, during the work day, and give parents less than a week’s notice” meeting. Next came guilt as my daughter followed her invite with “You are going to love it Mommy, I’m singing about lunch!”. Then I felt defensive. Should I try and explain to my daughter that 99% of the time I am at school functions when most Moms aren’t there?? Nah, I doubt kindergartners are swayed by percentages.

I had to think fast, especially when faced with the big hazel eyes of a daughter who very rarely has to deal with her Mommy not being in the crowd. So I pulled out my big weapon…my best weapon, the big gun. “Hey, you know who can come….NANA. Nana is on spring break so I bet she can come!” I knew once I said Nana, I could slip in a “I can’t come J” and she wouldn’t even hear it. Mom is great, but Nana, Nana is AWESOME. Picture if you will, a crowd of parrotheads at a small county fair expecting a cover band but suddenly are surprised with Jimmy Buffet himself. That is Nana. Nana is idolized by my kids, so I knew if Nana was there, J would never even remember if I wasn’t there. Sure enough it worked, J smiled from ear to ear. Crisis averted.

Or was it? As I turned away, I heard J “Here Mommy, there’s this too”. J pulled yet another pink paper from her backpack. Could it be???? No, not after the last attack.

Yep, sneak attack.
Well played, personal life. I certainly didn’t see that coming.

Eat with your child week”. Yes, the week where you can bring in McDonalds and surprise your kids by eating lunch with them. I never miss this week as the thought of my daughter watching her classmates chomp on fries while she eats corn dog nuggets on a lunch tray is too much for me to handle.

Okay, don’t panic Mandi. It says it’s the WHOLE week…there is no way it will be on a day I can’t go.

But there it was, in bold Times New Roman, “Kindergarten: Monday”. Of course it's on Monday…the day of the rescheduled-one-to-many-times deposition that I can’t cancel. I had already used my top Nana weapon, so what on earth do I do now? But then a beacon of hope as I noticed the small print of “Make up day: Friday” on my calendar. Friday I can do. I explained to my daughter that I would come on FRIDAY, the best day of the week! She smiled. Whew…dodged another bullet.

Two attacks in one day, I’m sure even the most seasoned war soldier would have a hard time dealing with that.  

But it seems like my personal life wanted to hit me while I was down as the next day brought yet more bad news. This time it was delivered by messenger as my husband light-heardly said on the phone one afternoon while I was typing a motion at my desk “Oh by the way, the boys Easter Egg Hunt is next week”. Sure personal life, it’s not enough to use my daughter against me, you are going to throw in a toddler’s easter egg hunt. Ok I know you aren’t supposed to shoot the messenger, but I think when it’s your husband there is a an exception so I let out my frustration with a loud “REALLY? Let me guess, it’s Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday?? Right!!?? RIGHT???????”.

I think Todd was afraid to answer, as he said “No, it’s Thursday” with a “please don’t bite off my head” type of tone. Okay, so this wasn’t an attack, just sort of a “don’t make me do it” reminder from my personal life that my working life was getting a little hectic and it could attack at any time so I better watch it.

I survived the attacks with some guilt and wiggling around of my schedule. I know I’m lucky, as I am blessed with a job that allows these type of attack weeks to be few and far between. I am grateful that to date I have yet to miss any big event, a job that allows me to be one of the only Moms climbing the bus on a field trip. I know I could have a job where that is not possible. But still, I can’t help but complain. It’s a war that working Moms face all the time, but there is no other way to say it other than just saying it…IT SUCKS.  

So here’s to hoping that all of you reading this are not engulfed in your own line jumping battle and having one of those weeks of peaceful co-existence! And if you’re not, hang in there, and perhaps wear a helmet…the attacks are swift and often painful!


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