Posted on | October 26, 2011 | 12 Comments

Yesterday was a long day. 

I got to work at 7:30 and worked straight through lunch.  I have two clients in particular who keep me up at night and both of them got bad news yesterday.  I do not like giving my clients bad news. Around 5:30 I left the office and drove straight to daycare.

When I got there, the kids were sitting on the floor reading and J was sitting by himself in a chair.  I looked at J and then at his teacher “Is J in time out?” She nodded.  About that time J grinned from ear to ear and started to run towards me like he does every afternoon.  I stopped him with a gesture and said “J, you’re in time out.  You need to wait for your teacher to tell you it’s okay to get up.”

I thought it was the right thing to do.  I still think that technically it was the right thing to do.  But my son’s face crumpled and he curled up into himself and sobbed like I’ve never seen him sob before.  In about two seconds flat, everything about the rest of my day disappeared and the only concern I had was pasting a smile back on my sweet, sad little boy’s face.  I drove home concerned that I was letting down not only my boss and my job, but that now I was letting down my son as well.  I felt like a failure.  I felt like I was failing at everything.

Being a lawyer is a tough job.  It’s hard to pack it all into a neat little 7:30 -5:30 bag and not bring it home to taint your evenings.  It’s hard to say “this work is for after bed time” and actually mean that you will not look at it or think about it while your child is awake and needing your attention.   And when you have a really long day and you get really bad news on two of your files, it’s easy to say “Here, J, watch Nick Jr. and Mommy is going to do some work until it’s time for bed.” It’s easy to motion to the stacks of toys and say “Go play with all your toys” or “build me a tower.” (And no, I’m not pointing fingers… these are things I’ve actually said after a long day.)

And yesterday was a long day.

But when we got home, I made a choice… I wasn’t going to be a part time mom.  I worked a long day.  I came home and sure, yeah, I could have said I deserved some “me” time.  I could have done a lot of things with the two hours between arriving at home and bed time.  There was laundry that needed washing and a dishwasher that needed to be unloaded.  There was the trash to take out and the floor to vacuum. 

But I made a choice.  I put all that away and had dinner with my son rather than feeding him while I did fifteen other things. And when dinner was over, we piled into our pajamas and I made “hot” chocolate, J’s with lots of cream, mine with lots of peppermint schnapps.  We snuggled close under a soft blue blanket and watched 3/4 of The Princess and the Frog.  And for the first time in a long time, I didn’t think about whether my boss intended to fire me or whether all my clients were happy.  For the first time in a long time, I focused all of my attention on J.  There was no computer side tracking my thoughts (because J spilled water on my MacBook and it still won’t turn on and ohmigod I can’t even think about that without wanting to break out in hives), there were no text messages or phone calls or iPhone games to play.

There was just me and J, a Disney movie, a warm blanket, and hot chocolate.

I woke up this morning and the trash still needed to go out and the dishwasher still needed to be unloaded and the laundry still had to be washed.  And my clients are still calling and they still need help.  And my boss is still probably intending to fire me at any minute.  And absolutely nothing I could have done from 6:30 to 8:30 would have changed much of that.  I could have maybe finished the dishes and maybe ran a load of clothes that, let’s face it, would still be wet and in the washer for several more days until I remembered they were there.  I could have stressed and worried about how to explain things to my 9:00 appointment this morning.  But I made a choice.

And it was the perfect way to spend my Tuesday night.


12 Responses to “Choices”

  1. Suniverse
    October 26th, 2011 @ 8:58 am

    Sometimes you just have to let it go. You absolutely made the right choice. Wishing you luck at work, life, in general.

  2. Anonymous
    October 26th, 2011 @ 9:06 am

    Sounds like a pretty good night to me. Sometimes all we can do is let go.

  3. Mrs MidAtlantic
    October 26th, 2011 @ 9:34 am

    Those nights when you make that choice to screw all and have fun with the kiddo? Those wind up being the best nights. I’m trying to choose more of those. Dishes be damned!

  4. Krista
    October 26th, 2011 @ 9:39 am

    Good for you. It’s so hard to make that decision sometimes when everything seems so! important! (and it is). But you’re right… everything would have still been the exact same this morning. That’s some good perspective you have! 😉
    PS. I really hope your boss backs off. That frustrates me for you.

  5. Heather Davies Bernard
    October 26th, 2011 @ 9:56 am

    You are a wonderful mom. That was the right choice. And you know what? Those choices are like a muscle. Once you make them, they get easier and easier. Yay!

  6. Jana Anthoine
    October 26th, 2011 @ 9:56 am


  7. Kate
    October 26th, 2011 @ 10:22 am

    As a former pre-school teacher I can tell you that reminding him he needed to stay in time-out was the right thing to do and as a mom I completely understand how much it hurts your heart when you correct them and their little faces crumple like that. I’m glad you were able to turn things around and have such a nice snuggly evening; it sounds like you both needed it!

  8. MaconMom
    October 26th, 2011 @ 10:24 am

    It sounds like it was just what Mommy needed too!
    Hoping Wednesday is a better day at work and you and J have a great evening!

  9. Amanda
    October 26th, 2011 @ 10:46 am

    Good for you! I try to make this choice more often than not but it can be very hard. I think that your little guy will see this and that in itself is a huge parenting lesson for HIM to learn. To see you put your family first. Enjoy the little moments 😉

  10. Taming Insanity
    October 26th, 2011 @ 11:53 am

    I want you to be my mom.

  11. Maija @ Maija's Mommy Moments
    October 26th, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

    You made a great choice Momma and reminded me that I need to make the exact same one tonight despite the day I’ve had. Thank you!

  12. beachmum
    October 26th, 2011 @ 7:11 pm

    I feel your pain (re: the working mother gig). Try being a teacher. I have 71 parent conferences to hold, which can only be held on Tuesdays, Thursdays and some Mondays due to other ‘teacher’ obligations. I sit after school (unpaid, of course) and wait for other parents to remember to show up. I sit after school (unpaid) and get stood up hour after hour by parents who are “too busy” to call and cancel or “too busy” to be concerned about their child. I do all this while my own child sits in a daycare with strangers. I sit after school (unpaid of course) to conference with parents who have lost their homes, whose kids are hungry, dirty and tired all because they have problems in their own lives. I sit and conference with parents who are desperate for me to “fix” their kid, all while my own child is in a daycare with strangers. I spent all of 35 minutes with my child on Tuesday due to meetings afterschool. I am not the only teacher on earth who brings work home with them or has extra stuff to do. I am grateful I have a job. However, I too don’t have a job that is left at the office. A hungry, tired kid who shows up late to school in his pjs is still on my mind. What bothers me even more is that his mother told him there was no gas to drive to school to bring him a change of clothes. What bothers me and comes home with me is the mother who told me that she and her son are technically homeless and she is desperately looking for work, and can I watch out for her son at school who needs extra reading help? What comes home with me is the kid who needs a backpack of food from the school to take home every Friday so her family can eat. This is the same kid who doesn’t know her phone number because she lives in a shelter… this week. This stuff comes home with me and at home waiting for me is a little boy who I’ve missed all day long. A little boy who my bones literally ache for all day long. And while his little face stares up at me, thoughts of ‘work’ swirl in my head. I spent 35 minutes with my kid on Tuesday all because I was tending to other people’s children. And for this I get no thanks, no extra pay and only told everything that I’m doing wrong or could do better by the Dept of Public Instruction whose goal in life is to test kids to death. So why stay in this job? I need a job to help pay for MY kid. There is no other job option at this point. But I hear you. It’s hard to turn off work when you come home. It really is.

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    Spilled Milk (and Other Atrocities) by Law Momma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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