Parenthood is being pulled in a thousand different directions by everyone you know and everything they need all day long, each and every day.
On one hand is a rope connected to my family. All of my family. My children, my husband, my mother and father, my pets. This rope pulls on me twenty four hours a day. Someone always needs me/wants my attention/requires my time. Most of the time it’s more than one person who wants me.
My son wants me to sit him in my lap while he eats syrup covered pancakes while my daughter wants me to watch a new magic trick while my husband wants my opinion on something in the office while my mother or father is calling on the phone while the dogs want a bit of the bacon please and the cats need more food in their dish.
Rarely, if ever, am I in a situation where I can focus all my attention on one person.
On the other hand are all the things I need to do to care for my family.
Cleaning my house, doing the laundry, shopping for groceries, preparing food for meals, changing diapers, emptying catboxes, shopping for clothes that fit everyone, making sure we have the necessary school supplies, providing entertainment and age appropriate toys, transporation to lessons and playdates, researching healthy eating habits, finding eco-friendly products that actually make a positive difference, running errands, paying bills, tracking the mail, medical appointments, dental appointments, vet appointments, eye checkups, etc.
On one foot is my law practice.
It demands my very best efforts, complete and total focus on tasks, a calm atmosphere for phone calls, huge piles of networking dinners/lunches/breakfasts/conferences, time to organize all the cases and papers, time to study for professional growth, web design, bookkeeping, personnel management, assignment tracking, staying abreast of all the clients needs and wants, staying in touch with clients, bill paying, troubleshooting, problem solving, learning new cost saving technologies that may help provide better service, blogging on up to date legal topics to increase my reputation, rainmaking, and many hours of time.
I am never done with work. There is always something that got put off because of the things pulling on my other limbs. There is not a single minute in any day when I can say I have nothing left to do in my inbox.
On the other foot is my social life. The people outside my family that want to see me in the few precious hours a week that I set aside for myself. Seeing these people is often refreshing to my soul and allows me time to regroup and prepare for encounters with other areas of my life.
However, I have more people than I do time, so much of my pleasure is often leeched out because I have to turn people away, put them off, or simply not see them for months because others require my time. Sometimes they are hurt and angry, sometimes I end up overscheduling myself and shortchanging everyone in the process.
Rarely do I feel as though I am at leisure and have the luxury of taking as much time as I would like with the person I am seeing.
In the middle is me. I used to have interests outside work and my family.
I used to be actively involved in politics. I used to study about the world. I used to be an amatuer photographer. I used to crochet, scrapbook, paint, write, sing, and dance. I used to do yoga everyday. I used to swim. I used to read over three hundred books a year. I used to blog every day. I used to think about writing a book. I used to go to the theater. I used to see movies on opening night. I used to do amazing decoupage with funky old vases and handmade paper. I used to design jewelry. I used to play games. I used to cook food to my liking. I used to wear high heels. I used to spend half an hour on my “look” in the morning.
I am in the middle of my life, being pulled apart everyday. I do not have the time to secure a little space for just me. Some times I am not even sure I know who “me” is anymore. Do I still like to crochet? How about blogging? What kinds of movies do I like?
At the end of a long day, after I have finally conquered the very last request for water/story of last year’s scary nightmare/spider in the bathroom scare/two year old strike against sleep/additional lullabye request/etc., I sometimes sit in the quiet house and think about running away. I look at my living room floor with its carpet of food crumbs, drink spills, and pet fur, and I think about walking out my front door and getting in my car. I think about driving until I run out of gas and then getting out and walking until I can’t walk anymore.
I think about gettting away.
I can’t get away. The truth is that this is the life I have worked for all my life. This is the future I wanted. Supportive and loving husband, beautiful and intelligent children, a career of my own, a lovely home, fuzzy pets all my own with no one to tell me the myriad of reasons why we can’t get another cat. (Do NOT get another cat. Trust me.)
Most of the time it makes me very, very happy.
Other times my life is so full there is no room for me left in it.