Monday, April 1, 2013

Pay No Attention to the Kids in the Van....

As a JD Mom there are two inalienable truths: (1) I have to work and (2) I have to be a Mom. Trying to balance these two together is something I have attempted to master for years.

I'm an attorney licensed in two states, and so there is a lot of traveling that comes along with my job. Traveling 5 hours one way for a 1 hour deposition is par for the course in my job.

Work trips are never fun, especially the over night ones where I know I am leaving my kids. So, one of the small ways I try to cope with this is by "packing" three very important things with me when I travel for business.....

Yep, I certainly do not travel light.

I'm a JD Mom, so why not bring both of my worlds together when I can! I love taking my kids along with me on work trips. It's the perfect "kill two birds with one stone" kind of thing. I travel for work, and my kids get to come along for a "vacation". Lucky for me a vacation for the 7 and under crowd is defined as anywhere you go where you stay in a hotel. It doesn't matter how far away that hotel is.

When my kids were younger the three amigos went almost everywhere with me. I remember the doctor's deposition where my Mom and J came along and my Mom had to walk to the nearby hospital with 8 month old J to change her diaper. Or the trip to Sioux City where I watched out the window as my Mom and J walked the sidewalks with the stroller. People sometimes ask me why my kids are so good in the car...the answer is simple - they were pretty much raised in one!

But unfortunately, my kids are out of the strollers now and into the classrooms. School has put a huge damper on my travel as the kids often can't come with me anymore.

So a few weeks back J was on spring break, and I talked my husband into traveling with the kids along with me a couple hours away where I was to have a mediation. The mediation started very early in the morning, so I had to stay in a hotel...

and remember hotel = vacation!

We drove that evening to our destination, had dinner at our favorite restaurant and went back to the hotel to relax. And although the trip had me crossing off items of my bill to turn into my client (I'm pretty sure they don't reimburse me for Twizzlers and M & Ms) it was the perfect time.  I could be Mommy at night and attorney by day, just like I like it.

So the next morning I went to my mediation. My client had flown in from Colorado for the occasion. I stepped out of my minivan a Mom with kids yelling "Have fun Mom" and walked into the law firm as an attorney. My suit was on, my laptop ready to be fired up in the conference room. Mommy hat off, professional hat on.

As we spent the morning trying to settle the large lawsuit, my husband sent me pictures on my phone of the exciting and riveting places my kids the mall play zone and ooh the Chick Fil-A!!! I love how easily entertained my kids are! You would have thought you took them thousands of miles away to an all inclusive resort!

As we neared the end of our mediation and I was ready to once again put my Mom hat on, my client suddenly turned to me..."Would you mind giving me a ride back to my hotel?"

It was almost like I could hear screeching brakes in the background. On one hand, I didn't want my client to have to see that their all business, professional attorney traveled in a messy minivan with an entourage. On the other hand, I couldn't very well tell my client she was on her own back to the hotel.

I could have probably thought of some excuse, but I decided that I have spent way too many years  apologizing for my working Mom status. I simply smiled and said "Sure, I'd be happy to, if you don't mind riding with my little travel companions!"

Even though I was proud that I owned my JD Mom-ness, as we rode down that elevator and walked out to my minivan I could almost hear the Jaws theme song. Would the doors open to my screaming two year old? Would my son find it the perfect time to practice burping in the back seat? Would there even be room for us to sit with all the junk my kids carry with them? As we neared the van, I sort of fake laughed and said "Please don't mind the kids in the van...ignore them!"

The door opened and we stepped in. I introduced my kids to my client and sat nervously in the back seat praying that my kids would act like kids on the pages of a Parenting Magazine for the 10 minute ride to the hotel. My hands seriously were sweating.

You know, I don't really know why I was nervous. I mean, I'm a working Mom, there are millions like me. But still somehow I felt like someone from my professional life seeing me in my personal life was...well wrong.

But it wasn't wrong. I am who I am, and that is not going to change anytime soon. I dropped my client off and even smiled when my three yelled in unison "BYE" as she stepped out of the car.

Just another day in the life of a JD Mom.


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