So many things I can’t really blog about, either because the overwhelm/upset me too much or because my only free time with work, law school and two kids is in the 15 mins I take to wolf down lunch and read the news or check social media (and, of course, don’t want to blog from work).
Do you know what a RIF is? As it applies to my work, it’s the second one on this list. 5% this month and 5% next. Globally. My boss was one of the first. Then they let us sit and wait for FOUR days before telling us who would be in charge. The person in charge is a somewhat known commodity but new boss seems to have been picked to promote us and get us “out there”. Unfortunately that means that my already overloaded department is getting no help or guidance and instead being “advertised” so we can take on even more work. For the first time in forever, I have brought my laptop home several nights in a row and on the weekend. (Whether I used it is another story). The 45-50-hour schedule I had negotiated during law school in exchange for my former 65-70-hour schedule is looking like a pipe dream. Great timing as I head into my 15th week of pregnancy and last year of law school.
On top of the RIF, I have finals this month. FIVE finals. And whereas former boss was willing to give me as much (paid) time off as I needed to study, I felt unsure about new boss so am now taking all except two of the finals from my desk at work. Argh. Of course this same new boss was present last year when I took a redeye to a foreign country, worked all day, took my ConLaw final from the hotel and then took a redeye back only to work the next day. So, yeah, high bar set already.
Of course when I get stressed, I get sick. This past week I came down with a stomach bug and was off Monday. I was fine-ish for three days and then lost it again. Can barely eat (no bueno for baby) but have managed to keep liquids down. I’ve pretty much been in bed (or the bathroom) since Friday and, yes, had to leave mid-day. New boss must think I am a total slacker AND that means a weekend of almost no studying for finals except the lectures I could listen to through my headphones and the supplement reading I could handle.
In the middle of all of the above, Baby J had nightly swim lessons at 7p that required me to leave at 5:30 for two straight weeks (yes, the same weeks as boss firing/new boss starting). Pumpkinhead also had Saturday therapist sessions cancelled TWICE by new therapist until she finally kept one this weekend. During that session, in which he refused to sit his butt down, he admitted that our planned induction date makes him nervous because the church thinks it is bad. UM, WHAT CHURCH?!?!?! Isn’t that the Pentacostals? We’re freaking Episcopalian, kid. Halloween is barely discussed, except perhaps in the context of planning a trunk-n-treat event, and certainly not as it pertains to devils and such. Geebus. I blame my fucking born-again nutcase brother for this.
As a cap to the hell-that-is-my-life-right-now, our car repair bill estimate of $3k soared to $4900 unexpectedly and a post-divorce credit card bill that Chapin was supposed to pay (but was joint) landed me in court facing summary judgment and, of course, the stupid/evil creditor law firm accepted my proposed $2500 settlement the day after the car bill hit. And they want it paid by the end of the month. FML, folks, FML!
(As a follow-up to crazy parents, I am reading some great books AAL recommended and trying to maintain distance. They finally came by to semi-apologize and set forth their position and we have established something of a truce. I can’t deal with the drama right now. Of course my father is going manic-nuts on Mr. V now and drama is sure to rear it’s head again any day now. Can I just get through finals?!?!)
The Weekly MILP (Moms In the Legal Profession) Roundup is hosted on a rotating basis at the Butterflyfish, Ptlawmom, Attorney Work Product, Attorney at Large, Today & Tomorrow, Magic Cookie, and Reluctant Grownup blogs and is usually posted no later than Monday.
I am RIGHT THERE with But I Do Have a Law Degree. Can I just say “ditto” and call it a post?
Butterflyfish has a case of the happy babbles.
Lag Liv is plagued with worry.
AAL has had *quite* the week!
LC reflects on her girls’ non-girly nature.
CP is figuring out what she really wants out of work and life.
Reluctant Grownup’s constellation is getting a whole lot brighter.
CM’s kid is turning their calming bedtime routine into comedy hour.
ProtoAttorney is one incredibly lucky mother (OMG, can’t remember the last time my kids slept that late!)
Momttorney is feeling guilty, stretched and overworked.
Daisy reflects on her relationship with her spouse.
If you would like to have your blog added to the MILP blogroll for weekly review or would like us to consider a specific post, drop the hostess(es) an email or leave a comment at their respective sites.
Thanks to everyone who gave me reassurance and feedback that I’m not a crazy psycho. After sending my overkill e-mail, I sent another one the next morning apologizing for being rude but stating that since they had come back to the U.S., all of our interactions have been very stressful. I then tried to be more straightforward and set forth some specifics for them to consider.
For example, when they give advice or express disappointment about how I’m raising Pumpkinhead, they seem to be forgetting that I have both Chapin and Mr. V’s parenting styles to contend with already, in addition to my own desires, and I don’t need another voice chiming in. Or that where they never said anything about my controlling, emotionally abusive ex-husband (and, indeed, stay in contact with him and have only sweet things to say about him), they somehow feel it is appropriate to make negative comments about my current husband. My suspicion is that this is because he is a more outspoken and, in addition to lots of my own post-divorce therapy, has helped me express my desires in a more healthy and less co-dependent manner. We talk constantly and make a lot of decisions together because I agree with him whereas with Chapin, I would do what he said, even if I hated it, because he scared me and dealing with his bullying was overwhelming. I’m in such a better place right now that it disappoints me that they don’t see this and understand that I am making choices, too, not just going along for the ride.
I also mentioned my father’s behavior. He is bipolar and he thinks he has aspergers. I think he’s just rude and inconsiderate. This has gotten much worse and I don’t know if it is the meds he is on or that he just doesn’t see it. After he cut off a saleswoman when she was responding to a question of mine with “no one cares. We just need to know ‘x’ and you need to do your job and tell us”, I exclaimed “DAD!” It was totally out of left field in the middle of a good day when he wasn’t agitated. Seems strange. I then followed up in an email expressing concern. He says it’s just his family who is down on him but he knows his colleagues would tell him if he was out of line. Hahaha. So in my email, I said that his colleagues most certainly would not tell him and, moreover, he’s treating mom badly with his curt, aggressive tone and I worry about the impact on her and on his work. He has been out of work a lot in the past 5-10 years, mostly triggered by his outbursts or depressive states, and I worry about having to support them in their old age (no, I did not say that last part).
Finally, I was straightforward about my mother bailing on her commitment to Baby J. I said that I was disappointed that she chose to lie and to blame my father. I told her that, even if my Dad would be angry or disappointed or her friend would have been upset, the decision to choose an elderly friend who she hadn’t seen for years over a commitment to her grandchild was ultimately hers and she needs to own that.
So they got my email and said nothing. Then today I get an email that says they read my concerns, are discussing them, but feel like we need a time out from each other. They said maybe they will meet with me and a counselor later in the summer. Guess I got the estrangement I was considering.
I responded fair enough. And asked them to let me know if the “time out” means that they will not continue taking the boys to church on Sundays while I study, particularly as I am heading into exam time. We’ll see. If they do that to their grandchildren, a line will be irrevocably crossed.
After bailing on Baby J and me and going gambling for a week, my mother returns with the following text “I’m going to need your help cleaning my house for two hours tomorrow. We’ll talk tonight.” Um…. Yeah, so they are trying to sell their house. It has been on the market a week and they have had HORRID reviews. Couldn’t figure out why until I went over there.
I had told her I would need her to watch Baby J while I cleaned (she can’t get down on her knees due to bone-on-bone osteoarthritis and one day’s notice wasn’t enough time for me to call/pay for a housecleaner, although that’s what I should have done in hindsight). I show up at 9a and she’s out running errands. Baby J is racing around the empty house like a mad nut on the incredibly hard concrete tile floors. I have bleach and other not-baby-friendly chemicals in tow. She finally shows up at 10:15 and decides to watch him by the pool. This is not reassuring since she can’t exactly jump in after him if he takes a dive. Then my father mentions that they won’t be taking the kids to church Sunday while I study but instead plan on having them at the house while they finish repairs before the open house that afternoon. Yeah, NOT! They were upset that I didn’t seem to think that was a good idea. But I digress…
So I go into the master bath and there is a cracked toilet, seat up and rim covered in hair and pee stains. I proceed to vomit, as is my current modis operandi around anything even slightly gross (thank you, 11 weeks of pregnancy hell). I then scrub it, gagging as I go, and proceed to the dust-caked ceiling fan, the yellow/soap-scummed tub and the dust-and-God-knows-what blinds. To be fair, my parents have been living overseas for three years and the house wasn’t this gross when they left. Their tenants were nasty pigs. But my parents had promised Mr. V (their realtor) that they would clean, put doorknobs on, etc., before it was listed and then pushed him to list it a week ago. Eleven people came through before I came to clean. Cause, of course, my mother was off gambling….
Anyway, this story is again getting way too detailed and long. I finished the scrubbing, rescued Baby J and drove an hour back across town to my house. Then Sunday came. My mother posted something nasty and passive/aggressive to my Facebook wall. I responded to note that my Dad had not done what he said he would do at the house and, as a result, X had happened. She freaks and asks why Mr. V isn’t telling them and then sends him a nasty text telling him not to discuss their house with me. Then today she texts me three times at work about stupid, random shit. I ignored her (was actually, gasp, WORKING!) until I got an e-mail. The e-mail reiterated the husband crap and I lost it.
And here is the overkill part. I went Pregzilla on them. Called her, fought, hung up on her, took call from my father, screamed at him and then sent super-pissed smackdown email in response to hers. And then proceeded, after 5 minutes of calming down, to feel horrible for being so bitchy. Now I am just bummed and upset with myself for my complete inability to set boundaries. Instead I wait until they are fully violated before freaking out and shoving them back to a point that makes no sense. Not sure why I do this but it is definitely a trend. Hormones are not helping. Between the daycare director, my husband/kids and now my parents, I am freaking out and going to hormone defcon 10 in a flash. I know I need to have a sitdown with my parents. And I know this post probably sounds silly and I haven’t explained the full story. But right now I’m shuffling between enraged and in-bed-in-fetal-position. I have no energy to fight or discuss except that caused by hormone-induced rage. Bah.
Pumpkinhead freaked me out last night. He was on restriction from electronics due to a bad conduct card but he could still read books or draw. We have a house rule of no locked doors (except Mom & Dad’s… hehe ) and no closed kids’ doors during the day. Our biggest house rule, however, is no lying.
Mr. V was home and found Pumpkinhead’s door both shut and locked. He asked him to open the door and Pumpkinhead stalled. Then he banged on the door and finally P opened it. Mr. V asked him what he was doing and he said “reading”, pointing to a random book upside down on the floor. Mr. V spied his iPad and realized he was not being truthful so he sent him downstairs to wait for me so that we could discuss his punishment. (Mr. V checked browser history. He was looking up a Siri-like robot thing on YouTube and had used the iPad three days in a row to look up info on the marathon bombing, the weather and hurricanes. The kid is obsessed with natural/unnatural disasters. )
When I got home, I noticed his arms looked weird. Upon further examination, I realized he had been scratching/gouging both his arms and legs. (I checked his whole body and it was just at that moment – no scars or anything.) Pumpkinhead has always been anxious and typically chews things (his fingers, his shirt, etc.) when anxious. But the scratching really, really scared me because, to me, it is way too close to cutting or other self-harm for my liking.
Our anger about his lying gave way to real concern about his wellbeing. We talked to him for quite a while about how his body is a treasure and he should not hurt it, how if he is angry or upset, he can take it out on a pillow, do some karate, write in a diary or use one of his chew objects (he has some bracelets) but that hurting himself is not the answer. He talked about feeling stressed and also about kids at school staring at him “weirdly” when he gets 100′s on his quizzes. He’s feeling very self-conscious about both his intelligence and his ADHD-related tendencies and isn’t sure how to handle them. We talked for a long time about how people make fun or do things to get a reaction and that, as hard as it is, if you can not react or have a different reaction than they expect, it tends to deflate their balloon. He then decided he wanted to re-read his two puberty books and got all little-kid-like and cuddly before bed, back to his “old” self. This puberty thing is no fun, folks.
This post doesn’t make a lot of sense. His behavior doesn’t make a lot of sense!! But I’m really worried about my kid. And simultaneously feeling like a shit Mom because I have two weeks of nightly swim lessons starting for Baby J and final exams all throughout May plus a bazillion doctor visits for both me and Baby J (who needs both his tonsils and adenoids out at 2 1/2!!) and I’m thinking “shit, now I have to find a therapist for him!” And of course Mom has to go because the therapist will think I’m a horrible asshole if I don’t take him. Which is all selfish and stupid and of course he should be my first concern. But surely one of you empathizes with the stress that comes with one of the 10,000 balls dropping.
In the interim as we figure out what to do, I went out today and purchased two books. Like his mother, Pumpkinhead takes great solace in reading and knowledge on things that worry him. So I got both “What to Do When You Worry Too Much – A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety” and “The Survival Guide for Kids with ADD or ADHD.” I am going to start with those, keep an eagle eye on him, call his psychiatrist for good therapist referrals and consider next steps.
David Mowry’s “Above the Law” column, House Rules, provides some direct and refreshing candor about work/life balance this week:
“Law students start out underwater, and only get pushed under once they begin their first year of practice. If you are entering this career hoping to work equally hard at being an attorney as well as a parent, don’t go to Biglaw. Try a smaller shop or a boutique, or do public service work. I recommend taking a job that will give you experience in the area that you want to practice and try like Hell to make it work; then go home and have (a late) dinner with your family.”
How do you make the decision to completely cut off your family? I have mentioned before that my parents recently moved back from overseas. Now my parents (and both sets of in-laws) live within spitting distance of us. This has been great as I try to finish school because they can all help with weekend child entertainment. My parents, for example, take both kids to church, lunch and the playground so I have several hours of concentrated study time. Now, headed into finals, is really not the time to rock that boat.
However, certain recent decisions they have made are pushing me over the edge. My family has always been the outcasts when it comes to the extended family (on both sides). We had a family gathering this past weekend and my family was specifically excluded from the before- and after- gatherings while EVERYONE else was included. My brother ended up being at the after-gathering (even though he is the most hated of our family) and was in the “whole family!” pictures. I, on the other hand, knew nothing about it and was really bummed to be excluded.
Then today my mother, who had committed weeks ago to do something at Baby J’s daycare for a special week the kids are having next week, backed out suddenly today. She says “I have to take an elderly family member to [neighboring state] for medical care.” Guess what? There are no elderly family members who leave their nursing homes much less go on road trips and we live in a town with some of the best medical care in the country. Nope, she really signed up to help the elderly mother of a friend she hasn’t seen in 20 years go gambling for a week. The daycare has promoted her coming to the kids and parents and they were all so excited. I was totally in tears.
This reminds me of when I applied for colleges and my parents told me at the last minute that they weren’t paying for anything (then paid full ride for my brother). Or when they said they’d buy me the laptop I needed for school … then just cosigned a loan application and made me pay for it. I am so fucking done with them. It’s one thing after another. I’m disappointed and sad that they can’t live up to their promises. Why do I keep letting them suck me in? I wrote about my mother’s going off the deep end back when I met Mr. V. And her other drama. And their wishy-washy nature. And their ridiculous choices. We’ve finally gotten back to a “good” point but then she keeps doing things like this.
Do I want Pumpkinhead and Baby J to know and enjoy their grandparents? Yes. Do I need them to help while I am in school? I need someone, that’s for sure! Can I keep letting them break me this way? No. I know some of you have experienced toxic family relationships. Did you find a way to put up boundaries and still maintain a relationship? I’d love some tips because today my heart is just broken at their lies and bad choices.
With the baby coming in late October and most of my classes going from late June through late March 2014 (followed by two months of capstone review), I am trying to decide whether to move 6 elective credits to spring semester to lighten up my fall load. The only scary part of that is that if for some reason I totally bomb one of those electives (or my core courses), I have to repeat THE ENTIRE YEAR. Thanks California!! Haven’t had it happen yet (knock on wood) but I made the mistake of taking the “easier” electives over the past two years. All that is left are hard core courses like Admin Law, Conflicts of Laws, Products Liability (apparently very hard thanks to professor who teaches it). There is a cool virtual law practice course for two credits that I definitely want to take in the fall.
I did read Kate’s 3L course selection advice post but I need some additional comments as my choices are different. My core required courses are community property, wills & trusts and remedies plus a capstone class. These make up 16 credits. I need to get a C+ or higher in 22 credits to take the bar. If I get less than that (haven’t yet – mostly As and Bs), I get 1/2 credit. So I typically take 24 credits to be safe.
I am concerned about taking fall classes that end in December because there’s no knowing what will happen with the baby (due Nov. 10 but inducing Halloween week due to medical issues). I’m thinking I will take 2 credits in fall and 6 in spring but that also means finishing electives while taking capstone and gearing up for bar prep. Thoughts?!?!
Fall: Virtual Law Practice – (2) credits
Conflict of Laws (4)
Products Liability (2)
Patent Law Fundamentals (2)
If I am crazy and DO decide to take fall classes (which are June – December for 4 credits or Sept – Dec for 2 credits), here are the other options that interest me:
Admin Law (4)
Business Planning (4)
The Weekly MILP (Moms In the Legal Profession) Roundup is hosted on a rotating basis at the Butterflyfish, Ptlawmom, Attorney Work Product, Attorney at Large, Today & Tomorrow, Magic Cookie, and Reluctant Grownup blogs and is usually posted no later than Monday. [NOTE - posting Saturday and may update Monday with any cute Easter posts]
First off, I am incredibly amazed by the fact that we are almost at MILP Roundup 300! Go MILPS!
Lag Liv’s life is settling down and stirring up simultaneously
Momttorney is riding the school choice (or lack thereof) rollercoaster
Butterflyfish tweets all the important stuff (I really need to make more time for twitter)
Full of the Dickens muses about the pay range for attorneys vs. non-attorneys (and the losing end of the stick for some attorneys)
Izzie starts her new job and looks forward to a new car
LC reminds attorneys to actually read (and properly cite the holding of) the cases they cite in their briefs.
Grace enjoys a snow day but ponders the adult-with-child downside of same
Reluctant Grownup is battling an enemy that won’t budge but looking to win the war
Attorney at Large makes an unexpected discovery and ponders Plan B
CM enjoys goofy toddler speech
BIDHLD visits the ER again and finds her mommy weak spot
Kate gets dealt a blow
Frenchie gears up for the bar exam
If you would like to have your blog added to the MILP blogroll for weekly review or would like us to consider a specific post, drop the hostess(es) an email or leave a comment at their respective sites.
I’m 20+ days without wine (except a couple glasses of the de-alcoholized FRE crap – much better taste to the Chardonnay than the Merlot!). Have lost 10lbs. This is good but my cranky level is off the charts. Thank you, PG hormones!
In addition to my fun hormones, Pumpkinhead was recently determined to have early-onset puberty at 9. Fortunately not the “bad” type that requires hormones to counteract overly rapid growth. But still…. He is being a hormonal pill of a child, smells ridiculously bad and is growing hair in places that should really still be baby-like. Mommy is sad. And he now also has GERD, complete with horrible cough and sore throat. Crappo. Elevating his pillows has helped a lot but I’m worried about long-term effects for him.
When it rains, it pours. Baby J has a yeast infection that will not quit (almost a month now) and his new $55 cream is doing nothing to fix it. Now he has a super red rash on his face and eyes which the pediatrician and the ENT both say is his way of manifesting an allergic reaction to the ridiculous level of pollen we are currently experiencing (my blue car is yellow, folks!) He also needs his adenoids out.
Torrential flood of medical issues for children is not sufficient, however. OB/Gyn says I have invited myself extra ultrasounds with this final pregnancy. Hematologist says I need to double my daily D3 to 2,000mcg/day, my B12 shots to 1000 units/2 weeks and that the iron infusion that was supposed to last three years has failed miserably. Anemic again and facing a blood transfusion if I go through pregnancy without another. So it’s off to the chemo ward for a 6-hour IV (they have to use the really old form that is “safe” in pregnancy) as soon as I hit the second trimester. Sigh… I know I did this to myself.
I’ve been super nauseated, having a hard time eating and finding food smells incredibly offensive. The coffee brewing at work smells like sauerkraut. No clue why. Hopefully this part will only last a few more weeks.
Work is going great. My boss has put me in charge of expanding a new area for operations and I spent a week at a conference in California learning all about it. I’m getting great feedback from the VPs and colleagues and finally feeling like I’m getting in the groove of this “new” position after 1.5 years. I hit my 5-year anniversary this year. Time to pick out a service award. Crappy watch? Walkie-talkie? Base metal earrings? Hmmm…