Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Lady In The Street And A Mom In The Office

  • I have Bandaids in my wallet and stray toddler socks in my purse.  It’s hard being professional and ladylike when old fruit pouches fall out of your purse as you’re reaching for your legal memo.  The double burden of women.
  • If I call the nanny and don’t hear back within 5 minutes, my imagination runs wild and nothing in the office matters.  I will not respond to emails, will not continue my work, and will not pick up my office phone.  I will eat chips, harass my husband, and redial my house until I hear that everything’s fine and that [latest horrible thing I heard/read on the mainstream/weird news] did not happen.  More than the absentmindedness, the half zipped dresses and the cell phones in the fridge, this ability to conjure up worst case scenarios and fully convince yourself of their likelihood (as in, 100% likelihood) until the very moment that the grave injury turns out to be a splinter and the missed phone call turns out to be a missed phone call, is what defines “mommy brain.”
  • I wear flats and change into heels for meetings.  I get tired just thinking about the ladies who wear heels all day long and who also attend after-work happy hours.  When I see them in the elevator, I resolve to wear makeup and contacts more often…or at least shower.
  • My phone has no storage left because of all the baby pictures on it from only about 10 different occasions, each with endless variations of the same photo that I can’t get myself to delete because it seems wrong.  When my phone will no longer place calls because of lack of storage, I hesitantly delete the indecipherable blurry pictures of what is probably the floor.
  • I have learned to keep a nice looking outfit or two in the office for the inevitable days that I come in wearing an old t-shirt under my suit jacket, or have failed to coordinate colors getting dressed in the dark.  I learned the hard way, frantically running to a nearby store for a plain black dress after an email giving 30 minutes notice before a big meeting.  I didn’t want to wear the baggy skirt that I thought was something else (something not embarrassing) when I put it on.  Why do I have obese grandmother clothes in my closet?  A question for another day.
  • I make lists of recipes, notes for the nanny (i.e., passive aggressive instructions), and miscellaneous tasks on unsaved documents at work.  I never remember to close them before calling the help desk, and cringe when they remote in to my computer and get a solid glimpse of my legal work.  (“Buy toddler underwear, figure out what size” “Peel carrots” “For nanny: don’t share a fork with my kid; do get all food off washed dishes, I’ll take over 90%” “stop being a B to nannies” “buy summer shoes, measure her feet” “why do you not know any sizes”).
  • I gauge the productivity of my day in terms of both accomplishments in the office, and time spent with my daughter.  Cuddle time only counts for one of those.  Reading a lot may work for either, depending on content.  Productivity is off the charts when there is more food in the fridge than on the floor (breakfast ice cream facilitates my growth, but I guess that’s not toddler-appropriate growth), and when the entire family looks presentable for a reasonable amount of time (intentionally vague standard).
  • I find time to summarize how my life differs from almost all the female associates in my office, but have not completed my legal research or resolved my child's shoelessness (and, if you were reading carefully, underwearlessness -- but that's an awkward and uncomfortable word ... and state of being).