Sugarlaws: Living Sweetly.

Entries Tagged as 'life'

on being a working mom

September 11th, 2014 · 11 Comments

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You may have noticed, in the six or so years since I started this blog, that I write very little about my job.

In fact, for many years, I didn’t write about it at all.  I worked for a big, very prestigious, very conservative, white-shoe law firm in Manhattan, and I decided early on that the best policy for balancing my work life with my blog was to keep them completely separate.  If you met me in person during those years, I would happily have told you that I was a lawyer — but on the internet, I barely mentioned it at all.

But, as you guys know, about a year ago I quit working at a big law firm and started my own practice here in Houston.  And with that change, I’ve slowly, tentatively, become more comfortable sharing little bits about my life as a lawyer with you guys.

So I’ll start by saying: building a new business is a wild ride.  Really, really hard, but also incredibly rewarding and exciting.  It’s like moving from a leisurely drive to a roller coaster, if that makes any sense.  For the past year, building my law practice has been the focus of nearly every waking minute.  It’s the biggest professional challenge that I’ve ever taken on, and not a single day passes without me analyzing how I’m doing and how I could be doing better.  There are days when it feels like too much, when I miss the steady salary and support staff that my big firm job provided.  And there are days when it feels like the best thing I’ve ever done, when I am so damn proud of myself for taking on this challenge and making it work. 

But for the last few months, there’s been a new thought that pops up every single day. 

Balancing work and the baby.

Being a working mom.

I had this idea that starting my own practice would make it easier to have a baby, and in a lot of ways, I was right.  Obviously, I have deadlines and meetings, but for the most part, I can manage my own schedule, and that’s no small thing.  Even when I’m very busy at work, I can still spend a good portion of the day with our son, and I’m so incredibly grateful for that: it’s a luxury that many (most) working moms don’t have.

And yet — the fundamental problem is that I want to do both. 

I want to take care of our baby boy. 

And I also want to give 100% to my job.

What I need is 48 hours every day, to spend time with our amazing, wonderful baby, and to be able to build a business with focus and care. 

What I have, instead, is what most moms have: a balancing act that never ends; concerns that I would love to give more in both areas.

And yet… it’s been almost five months now, and I’m doing it.  There are tough days and easy ones, but nothing has slipped through the cracks.  I am so excited for the time I spend with our baby boy, but also so excited for the professional successes that I’m building toward. 

And there was the moment that I captured in the photograph above.  When Bear was not quite 3 months old, I had an oral argument for one of my cases in New York.  And after a lot of debate, I decided to bring him with me for the trip. 

A few minutes before I went into the courthouse, my mom snapped this photo.  And since then, I’ve loved looking back at it — it’s a reminder that even when the balancing is hard, that I am doing it.  That I have not had to give up my job for being a mom (or vice versa), and that, sometimes, every once in a while, it feels like it’s working pretty well. 

A long time ago, the idea of being a working mom seemed to me a little bit impossible.  Would I be able to work once our child arrived?  Would I “pick” my job over this tiny life that I had worked so hard to create? 

But it’s not impossible.  It’s being done every day, in households everywhere, and just like me, moms are making it happen.  Despite the fact that it’s hard, despite the fact that the odds are stacked against us, we are balancing professional demands and family and figuring out how to make it work.  And with every generation that does it, it gets a little easier for the next one.

So from now on, here’s what I’m going to do. 

Rather than hide my job on this blog, I’m going to embrace it. 

I’m a working mom. 

And that makes me pretty darn proud.

Tags: baby · life

nyfw: this season

September 5th, 2014 · 3 Comments

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So, New York Fashion Week started yesterday.

And where am I?

Not there.

Yup.  I’m skipping this September.

I’ve attended eight straight seasons over the past four years, and it’s become a big part of my life — the planning, the anticipating, and then attending (and recovering from…) the shows each season.

But this season?  I’m staying home.

On one hand, I’m bummed.  I love Fashion Week and I miss being there so much.

On the other hand… I’ve had to face the fact that my life is a little (a lot) different right now than it was a year ago, and this season, the idea of packing up a four-month-old and heading to New York just seemed…

Insane.

Truthfully, that’s the best word for it — the idea that I would attend NYFW this season was one of those decisions that I made when I was pregnant and thinking about the idea of a baby, and not the actual, living, breathing, crying, screaming, non-sleeping, messy little real baby who showed up a few months later.  I imagined myself strolling up to the tents in heels, a sweet little newborn cradled in my arms.

(Yes, you read that right: In my imagination, not only was he coming to New York with me, but he was actually attending fashion shows in my arms.  Oh my god, you guys.)

Basically, I thought that I was Victoria Beckham.

And it turns out that no, without a staff of nannies and drivers and someone to hold your bag and phone and burp cloths… heading to Lincoln Center with a four-month-old is sort of out of the question.

I had still planned to go until a few weeks ago, when I was sitting in Bear’s room, putting him to bed, and I realized that the reality probably wouldn’t look the way that I imagined it.

Instead, I realized that I was most likely going to miss half my shows because the baby would (1) spit up on every outfit I’d  packed, (2) insist on breastfeeding until twenty minutes after each show was scheduled to start, or (3) GET SICK because full-grown adults with healthy immune systems get sick during Fashion Week every year (myself included, without fail)!

And with that, I came to the realization that, just for this season, I was better off staying home.

Fashion Week will be there for me next season.  But right now?

We are better off staying home.

I’m planning to be back in February, and truthfully, I like February Fashion Week best of all — it’s a little smaller and less of a “scene,” a little less competitive and a little more fun.  I’ll miss the shows, and I’ll miss seeing all of my my many friends, but there is no question that this was the right choice for us, right now.

So I’ll be livestreaming the shows this year, and poring over Instagram as the models make their ways down the runways.  Because that breathless anticipation, that moment as the lights go dim, just before the music starts?

You can feel that no matter where you’re watching from.

Even three thousand miles away.

 

Tags: baby · life · new york fashion week

our calvin

September 2nd, 2014 · 18 Comments

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I’m sitting here trying to write the words, and I just can’t make them come. 

As many of you know, our beloved dog Calvin has been sick for quite some time.  Last fall, he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, a condition that we knew would eventually be fatal.  We kept him alive for almost a year with medication and very careful care, but ultimately, his sweet little body just couldn’t go on. 

He’s been with us since he was a puppy, for almost nine years.  Through law school, jobs, three apartments in Manhattan and two homes in Texas.  He held on long enough to meet our child, thankfully — I spent many nights while I was pregnant wondering if Calvin would get to meet the baby, and I’m so happy that they could spend even a few months together.

I know that time will heal this void that he left behind, but the Calvin-shaped hole in my heart is gaping and raw right now.  Even with two dogs and a baby, our house feels empty without him.

I am trying to be grateful for the many wonderful years that he spent with us — right now, my mind can’t get past this overwhelming grief, but I know that in time, I’ll be able to remember our wonderful, loyal, playful, kind, sweet little guy with love and peace and gratitude.  I wish I could come up with words to do justice to his memory, but I can’t. 

He was the most wonderful creature I’ve ever known, and I will miss him every day, for the rest of my life. 

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Tags: life