Friday, February 4, 2011

Melancholy

It's quiet. It's Friday at 1040pm and everyone is sleeping except for me.

J has the flu. Neither of the boys do. I have laryngitis still.

But it's quiet in my head too. Not peaceful, but quiet. Tired.

This was my first week back to work. Eight weeks old and Liam is at daycare all day. He doesn't seem to mind, he smiles all the time, but I mind.

I don't know if it's because I turned 40 in December, I just gave birth, it's winter, or something else, but...I'm down. What's that word? Anti climactic. Life is anticlimactic these days. I don't know why I'm surprised by this, because you can't really beat "free trip to France" and "miracle baby" in a calendar year. And I didn't expect to. But something is definitely not.... right with me.

It's like everything is exactly the same, but absolutely everything is different.

Work is a powder keg ready to explode. But I'll tell you what, I am blessed there too. With coworkers, if not bosses, who believe in me, stand by me, and pull me up when I'm down. That's one thing about trial lawyers, that us vs. them mentality can really circle around you and make you feel better.

But .... 20 years from now will I care that I went to work? Do I EVER look back on a case and think, yeah, that was worth my time. By the time I arrive on scene, my clients are already getting sued, and they are stressed out, angry, and worried. At the end of the case, even if everything goes well and in my clients' favor, they all think, and many say, "No offense, but I hope I never have to work with you again."

Where's the fun in that?

My mom says to remember that my job is not just to argue, but to fight for justice. Meh.

I am burned out. And I think I realized that just before maternity leave, and I really embraced it during leave. I got a taste of NOT working. I got a taste of being .... just me.

But then everyone hates working, right? No one really adores their job, right?

When I went back to work with Brody, it was almost a relief. I could talk to adults, and think just about myself for a few hours. With Liam... so much is different. With  Brody he was so small (3lbs) and so our focus was on growing him, making him bigger, as fast as we can. The smallness of him was not really a blessing. With Liam, the smallness of him is one of my favorite things about him. And I think he's huge, until you sit him next to the giant Addison, age 4 months, at daycare. But I want to soak his smallness into me a little while longer. I want to submerge myself in my boys and our home. I do not want to rush in the mornings, and rush at night, and wish I had more arms to carry the dirty clothes, car seat, blankies, and coats back and forth from home to daycare. I just don't. And I never felt that way until now.

It doesn't help of course that at my job, you are only as valuable as your last mistake, regardless of the hundreds of thousands - millions? - you have saved the clients. The universe could not underline the question better: I'm giving up this for that?

But of course, there are bills to pay. And I make a pretty good living. Not as much as a lawyer working in private practice, but then, I see my kids much more than lawyers in private practice.

The only way I've managed to survive this week is to think to myself, this is temporary. This job, this frantic pace, this failure to stop moving.

Liam smiles with his whole body, just like Brody. They smile at each other for no reason other than they are there, in the same space, usually both on my lap. Brody told me "Me and Liam are the best brothers ever." Liam sleeps a lot and eats even more. Usually, most nights, he gets up once at an obscene hour, then again after 530am. He's getting enormous rolls in his thighs, and a big belly, and cheeks that hang off his face. He smiles in his sleep all the time and when you give him a pacifier, his fists and arms and legs all jump, like they are trying to leap into the pacifier.  He nuzzles my neck with his face, and I think I will die of his cuteness when he roots for milk with his mouth.

And it seems kind of wrong that I give that up 10 hours a day to go earn... money. Is that the price I put on Liam and Brody? Is that what they are worth? Or my experience of them is worth?

It's quiet. It's Friday at 11:00pm and everyone is sleeping except for me.




4 comments:

Michele said...

Ah, you've been bitten by the mother-guilt bug my friend! Join the club! Seriously, there's not a day that goes by that I don't fight with all of those same doubts. When my husband was laid off in 2009, I told him that it was a good thing that it was he, and not me, that was out of a job. He immediately started job hunting. I don't know if I would have been so quick to throw myself back into the hunt. But I too work because it's necessary. We've grown accustomed to things such as food, clothing, shelter, and insurance. I know I have to work. But still, if I were able, I'd be a SAHM so fast, your head would spin. Every day I have doubts and regrets. It gets even more fun when school starts and you can't make it to all the little programs. But you, too, will learn to treasure those quiet times, baths, bedtimes, and even the endless car rides as not so much chores, but precious nuggets of togetherness. For now, it's the best that we can do. Peace, my friend.

Robyn said...

I know it's hard. So hard. I know that most parents (including a lot of dads) wish they didn't have to go off to work everyday. It helps me to remember that the vast majority of parents have ALWAYS worked, since the beginning of time, and will continue to work, until the end. Even 200 years ago when most people worked "at home" tending to their fields and shops, the kids were mostly left to their own devices if they weren't working too. I know what you mean, though. I mind it more this time around, for some reason. And I know I am going to have a really hard time when I go back to full time in July.

At the very least, rest assured that it is much more difficult for you than it is for him. And in all likelihood, he won't even remember. My mom worked 12 hour days before I started school, and I don't remember a bit. AND I think she is the best mom ever.

SaRaH said...

You wanna know who's going to continue to be awesome? Brody and Liam. You wanna know why? Because you're their mother.

However, I would pay attention to yourself and your opening to a new direction. Is there anyway you could earn less for a while?

Mishka said...

I know those feelings, and I have so many friends with those feelings. And at 8 weeks, with hormones still coursing through you, they are so strong. I'm sorry you are going through that.

I was there 7 years ago. I did stay at home for a brief time - until the numbers were just crazy in the bank account. My new facebook profile pic is from that time.

Honestly, I'm still there many days. I wish I could be the one at the bus stop, and the one packing the book bag. If it helps - you still love them just the same. Even though you are gone for a big chunk of the day, the love is no less. And I know the love is no less from him either. We have eliminated all the "taking each other for granted" stuff. We both look forward to Friday, and spend every weekend with a lot of hugging.

Is work worth it? Work is food, clothing, house. I work with a lot of guys who climb 45 poles in 8* during a snow storm - I'm not sure they love their jobs either, but they do it for the food, clothing, house thing.

You are working for the boys. You are taking care of them both when you are home and you are at work. And you are darned good at both of those jobs.