Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tipping the Work-Life Balance Scale in my Favor

After five months of working full-time and attempting a frustrating and tiring balancing act, I'm happy to say the scale is tipping in my favor. Effective January 1, I will be a part-time attorney at my firm! I feel so fortunate to work for a progressive firm that makes it possible for women to practice law while working part-time. Mostly, I thank the Lord for directing my steps and softening the hearts of all the decision makers.

I know the debate over being a SAHM and a working mom is a very real one and emotions (and tempers) can run high. I believe that the decision is a personal one, and I think it is very disrespectful for someone to impose their opinion on the matter on another person. Each mother and each family has to do what works best for them, but none of it should be to the detriment of the child(ren). I know many women who work full-time and lead very successful and happy lives and their children thrive. I know other women that aren't that great at striking the balance and/or are miserable doing it. To each her own.

For me....I have not enjoyed the non-stop treadmill I've been on the past five months. And the scary thing is I haven't been working as hard as I would otherwise have to due to the economy slowing down legal work. Even still, my days since returning to work in August have increasingly become more challenging. I have hit a point of feeling inadequate in every area of my life. Again, I'm speaking for myself. I feel inadequate as a wife, as a mother and as an attorney. I feel like I give each role in my life "just enough" to get by. If I'm honest, my role as a mother is probably where I succeed the most, but it's still not as much as I want to give. And I feel like I have absolutely nothing left over for myself. No time to exercise (but that's a different story altogether), no time for adequate personal maintenance (I really miss having time to pamper), no time for personal quiet time with the Lord (where is my Bible by the way???), no time to spend with friends or keep up with them by phone, no time for blogging (hence the huge time gaps on this blog), and no time to just do, well, nothing.

In my new role as a part-time attorney, I will only be working Tuesday through Thursday. I'm excited to have two more days at home with Zoe completely focused and engaged with her. I think she needs this right now. And I know I need it because she's growing so fast. Trevor has been home with Zoe Tuesday through Thursday, so this arrangement eliminates the need for any form of child care. For that we are both extremely thankful. I used to think I was okay with the thought of child care, but after holding Zoe for the first time something inside of me changed. I just couldn't (and still can't) imagine someone else caring for her. No one will ever care for Zoe better than Trevor and I will, so why even go there?! I know we are very blessed to have the ability to arrange for Zoe's care in the manner that we have. Perhaps that's why I'm so resolved about not putting Zoe in daycare or hiring a nanny....because we have a choice and we don't have to use those options. I recognize not everyone has this choice.

This arrangement is not without its sacrifices. The most obvious sacrifice is financial as I'll take a cut in pay, but it's absolutely worth it. The most significant sacrifice, however, is the sacrifice of time as a family since Trevor is now working weekends. It's tough accepting the fact that we can't live our lives as most families. No weekend birthday parties as a family. No church as a family. No Sunday dinners as a family. In fact, most of what we do as a family is crammed into three weekdays that are also filled with work for me. But it's all worth it. For now. Eventually, as Zoe grows, we may feel differently. But for now the scales are tipping in my (our) favor and I couldn't be happier! I hope this change will help me feel a little more adequate as a wife, mother, and attorney. I'm not so confident that it will help my personal well-being as it's only two additional days and I'll be alone most of this time with Zoe, but we'll see. One day at a time. Here's to a new (more effective?) balancing act.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Zoe's First....

....pigtail! After giving Zoe a bath recently, I was combing her hair and realized how long it's gotten on top. The hair on the sides and back are still trying to catch up. I thought it would be fun to see how a lone pigtail looked on Zoe. I think she looks darling. See for yourself: