Happy new year readers!
Looking back at my last post, it has been about 5 months. Some of you have emailed to check in and make sure I was coming back. I’m still here 🙂
M is now a busy walking and talking 17 month old toddler. Around the time she turned one, I distinctly remember realizing that she now understands everything we say! It was quite an amazing leap to witness! It’s hard to describe the feeling, but the analogy that comes to mind is putting in money into a savings account over time, and then all of a sudden realizing that there is a ton of interest on it! We spent the whole year talking to her without much of a response, and then all of a sudden, she gets it! It was more gradual than I am describing, but there really was such a huge and awe-inspiring leap at the one year mark. Five months later, we continue to be amazed every day by the new things she picks up.
On my end, I have been busy with some big changes. Some of you know that while I was on maternity leave, I started up my own business (as if I didn’t have enough going on, eh?). Leading up to the end of my maternity leave and Maddie turning one (in Canada we have a one year long maternity leave), I decided to push forward with my business on a part time basis, which would allow me to continue to be home with Maddie for most of the time. At the time, it just seemed like a continuation of what I was doing since I was already home with her and working a little, but looking back, it has been a huge change and transition.
I went from working full time outside of the home, to being home full time with my daughter and doing some side work projects, to now juggling lawyering and mommying with boundaries between these two vocations that are a little less clear then the typical 9-5 divide. I’ve consciously and intentionally traded in these clear boundaries for the benefits of flexibility. Nonetheless, still a huge transition which has required a little bit of soul searching in the process. On the surface, I lead the life of a stay at home mom. But if you look a little deeper, you’ll also find that I am a practicing lawyer/entrepreneur/teacher. I have heard that the return to work for most moms after maternity leave is a huge transition, so I do not pretend that my experience is unique. However, what I do think is a little different is that each day, I wear two hats. In fact, I am often taking off and putting on these two hats throughout the same day. And that has been a blessing. But a challenge as well. I am still embracing the identity of a stay-at-home mom, and figuring out the skills that go along with that. At the same time, I am growing in my outside-the-home skill set. I like to call myself a “lawyer-mama”.
It has been an adventure so far. A few months ago, I had a court hearing scheduled one morning. I had arranged to have someone come take care of M for the day. Half an hour before I needed to leave, the person who was going to be taking care of M called in sick. What a panic! I had no one to call, it was too last minute, and I needed to leave. Fortunately, J has some flexibility in his work hours, so he was able to help me out. The three of us piled into the car, and drove off to court together! I spent the time that I was going to spend rehearsing figuring out who would take care of M. All went well, and I succeeded on what I was in court for, but that was a little too close for comfort! Nonetheless, a story I will always remember.The first of many ‘lawyer mama’ stories, I’m sure. Needless to say, I now always make sure I have one or two back up babysitters when I have something important going on. Here is my best attempt of capturing the moment on that day. Hey, at least it’s documented:
On the home front, M has been a delight. As I said, what a joy to see her develop. But also, I read that this stage of her life is known as ‘early adolescence’. It’s so true. My little girl now has a strong will and a huge desire to be independent. She wants to do everything herself. So, we’ve been trying to encourage that as much as possible, within reason. We try to feed her foods that facilitate her feeding herself, and try to teach her skills that will quench that desire to be independent. Today, while giving her lunch, she was taking the sippy cup cover on and off. She wanted to drink straight out of the cup without the cover, but also wanted to show me that she new how to put the cover back on the cup (which she didn’t, by the way). I said to her “can mommy help you?”, and she just looked back at me with her big brown eyes. She seemed to be open to the idea. So I continued talking, “I know you want to be independent, but you’re still Mommy’s baby, and you need to let me help you sometimes”. Quite literally as I said the words, something clicked. From now on, she will want to be more and more independent of me. There was a time, when she was born, where she could do nothing without help. And now, she is learning new skills every day, and already showing a sense of autonomy. It is a strange realization to see the being you once carried in your womb, want to be independent of you. I feel so connected to her, and yet I now see that she is becoming her own person. I’m still not too sure how I feel about this, but it has become apparent to me that it’s happening, and that I’m gonna need to embrace it.
So there you have it. A little sampling of what my life has started to look like as a lawyer mama. More tales to come.