Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Perfectly Imperfect: Guilt

My sweet (and genius) friend H hosts a weekly "link-up" for bloggers to share the "Picture Me {Im}Perfectly" moments of their lives.

Here's the thing -- I am constantly (we all are probably) reading blog posts and facebook status updates that describe friends'/acquaintances'/blog land strangers' lives in such an idealistic way that it makes me stop and wonder why is it so easy for her/him/them?  Why do they have it all figured out when I'm struggling? Case-in-point:  I read a blog post today from a blogger who said (essentially):  "I've never understood when people talk about 'guilt' associated with mothering; I do the best I can . . . ."  I remember another post from the same blogger saying "I've never understood why people say marriage is hard."

So yeah . . . obviously, some people have it all figured out.

I can tell you, hands down, however, that I do not, and I celebrate my friend H for encouraging women to share their "imperfect" moments, to encourage and inspire and remind other women that NONE of us have it all together all the time.

With that background, let me tell you this:

Lately, I am held together by a string.  A very, very fragile string.  I am working a lot.  On cases that I love and I am getting great opportunities and really, really growing as a professional.  I've argued (and won!) multiple motions in court in the last few weeks, I'm taking and defending depositions, I'm really, really lawyering.  In a fun, and amazing way that makes me feel good about myself . . . most of the time.  The pressure is also intense.  That feeling of worrying that I'm going to screw something up, of knowing the partners' exceedingly high expectations.  And then there's the issue of my reduced schedule which has NOT been reduced as of late (but I know this is cyclical).

While I'm almost always able to leave work and make it home for bath and bedtime and to spend some time with the girls, there's been not-so-infrequent travel (though I do a lot of red-eyes to avoid to much time away even if that means sheer exhaustion for me), and some late nights.   While B is handling this all like a champ, and I KNOW that the girls are fine, fine, fine (better than fine), there are moments when I just feel stretched so, so thin.

And moments that I really, really hate that during bath or bed time, I'm watching B play and have fun with the girls in a much more easy, breezy way than I do, because I'm fretting over the work that awaits me while the rest of the world is sleeping.


There is nothing - nothing - in this world more important to me than being mama, and I want my girls to always know that.  I also hope that they understand someday that in the moments when I say things like "hold on sweetie, mama has to just take this one work call," that they will someday understand.  That they will know it wasn't me choosing work over them.  That they will know that it was just part of my attempt to "do it all. . . . " to manage to still be a great mama while working, and that they will respect me for it.  I hope so.

The constant "bleed" of my work/life balance is exhausting.  While I'm lucky to have a job as flexible as it is (that allows me to work from home pretty much whenever I need to, which in turn allows me to be at doctor's appointments, school events, etc., which B's less flexible job -- while having the benefit of less hours and more regular hours -- doesn't allow), the thing that has me just feeling beat up lately is that . . . it isn't like I'm taking time "off" to do these things. It just means that I'm sitting in the neuro-ophthamologist's office at Sammie B's pre-op appointment, trying to keep her entertained while listening to the doctor explain how he's going to be cutting into her eye muscles on Monday and trying not to have a complete mama-meltdown over that (Sammie B is, unfortunately, having to have repeat strabismus surgery next week, which we've known was a possibility for a long time), while getting emails asking me if I can defend a deposition next week in another country instead of getting on my flight that very night for that other country as scheduled and freaking out about how that is not going to work because I am going to be home next week with my sweet girl as she recovers.  

That moment pretty much sums up the "work/life" bleed in my life and the guilt that I feel lately.

Because in those moments, I do not not not feel like a mom that is "doing it all" or balancing anything.  I feel like a big, fat, failure as a mother.


And there's more.

When I'm alone with both girls, I always feel like at every given moment, I should be giving each of them 100% of me.   Which is (obviously) impossible.  But, I feel like they each deserve that and even though I KNOW it is impossible, it doesn't stop me from trying, or feeling guilty when I can't do it.  When there's only 100% total of me to give.


And feeling like at the end of all of this -- at the end of a day where I bill 15 hours, spend as much time as possible loving my girls, and way too little time sleeping  -- that I also have a husband who I should be celebrating more -- for all the things he IS doing to make this balance work.  And, it is not just that I "should" be, I want to be.  (So to B, thank you for all you do.  Really.  Thank you for keeping this ship afloat!).

More guilt.

I forgot to get my own mother a mother's day gift (but I wrote her a lovely blog post).   And I'm dog-tired.


And guilty.

I just feel stretched.  So thin.  And so guilty.   Like there's not enough of me to do everything.  (and let's not even talk about the things that I'd "like" to get done . . . e.g.., finishing unpacking).

I HAVE managed to get most of the "living space" in the house unpacked.  Because I hate boxes.  But, the living room, which we don't use . . . . well, it looks like this.   
The thing is, I know, in my heart of hearts, that I'm doing a good job at all of this.  I know that work ebbs and flows and after these cases are over, I'll take time off and it will be fabulous and my work/life balance will sway back the other way.  And I know, in my heart of hearts, that I am giving enough (more than enough even, I hope) to each of my girls.

But my desire for perfection at everything I do -- no doubt fueled by that feeling that somehow everyone else has it all figured out -- leads to some pretty intense guilt at times.  And, truly, I just love my girls with such intensity that I want to give them perfection all the time.  They deserve that.  But I can't.  It isn't possible, and I know that.

So there you have it.

Picture me (and my house) {im}perfectly.  But celebrate me just the same.

1 comment:

Kate Sherwood said...

Good luck with little Sammie B's eye surgery and making it to the next ebb in the flow of work life!

Kate @ BJJ, Law, and Living