Finding Joy in the Chaos

So you want to start a blog?  

By: Janelle (5/20/2014)

Jenny and I are really an unlikely pair.  We have always been friendly with one another at work, but we weren't really close friends until a couple of years ago.  I guess it all started when (1) most of our other female friends found other career opportunities; and (2) we both had children.  When our other female colleagues left, Jenny and I started turning to each other for support more and more.  We encouraged one another as we found ourselves trying to succeed in a male-dominated profession, working crazy hours and raising small children.  We listened to one another through pregnancies, miscarriages, work triumphs, elections, and career frustrations.  And I guess one day I just realized that Jenny was my "work wife."  She's the one I turn to on those days when I think I just can't take the chaos of being a mom to two young children AND a trial attorney AND a wife all at the same time anymore.  But as I said, we're an unlikely pair.  I'm obsessed with sports and Jenny's pretty sure her alma mater's best chance at winning a national championship would be in debate.  Jenny is a compassionate, thoughtful, bleeding heart liberal and I'm an irreverent, unapologetic conservative.  We disagree on just about everything, but somehow it works.  Because despite our differences, we understand each other.  We understand what it's like to parent 2 beautiful, lovable, rambunctious children and to love those children more than life itself, but to also want to be successful trial lawyers.  We understand what it's like to be women in a male-dominated profession where we are still sometimes mistaken for the court reporter instead of the attorney.  Jenny is my daily reminder to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  She's my reminder that I CAN be a momma, a wife, and an attorney and that I CAN let go of the "mom guilt" that plagues us all.  So - I decided to start this website with Jenny because I want other moms to know these things too.  I want them to let go of the unattainable goal of "having it all" or "achieving balance."  I want them to EMBRACE THE CHAOS that is their lives and find their joy within it. 

Just keep swimming

By:  Jenny (5/23/2014)

First of all, my college has won more than one National Championship in Debate.  Second, Janelle is funny, and right about the fact that we disagree on almost everything.  If I didn't know her, things would be different--but I mean that in the nicest way.  They would be different because I wouldn't take as much time to get to understand other people's points of view, looking for the glimmers of shared experience.  They'd also be different because there would be one less person in the world willing to go to the mat for me.  And you can't buy that kind of loyalty and friendship, even among bleeding heart liberals. 

​So I'm 10 years into the lawyer thing, 6ish into the wife thing, and 4+ into the mama thing.  Where I come down on any part of any of those roles is a far cry from where I once stood, and I'm sure one day I'll look back on this--if I even remember I wrote it--and shake my head at the lunacy of how I thought it all worked.  I feel like Janelle said really nice things about me in her first post.  I mean, we're friends, but sometimes you forget that someone is looking at you--when you know for a fact that you are a lunatic barely holding it together through the miracles of caffeine and a strategically-placed safety pin--and thinking you are really making it work.  There were days I didn't think it could work.  That I needed a different job, a different outlook on life, that I had to be a different person to be the mom my kids deserved.  But I just kept moving.   And I tried to remember that if you can just let time pass, things tend to look different a little bit down the road.

I do think it is key to have people you can lean on, both at work and at home (if possible), and I know I'm lucky to have both. The trick is that you have to have people who are willing to commiserate with you and then tell you the truth, too.  This far down the road in the career/family/life, I think the single most important gift you can give yourself is to accept that you can be wonderful without being perfect--that you can only do so much, and that it is enough.  "Mom guilt" is a stupid made-up thing, and I refuse it.  Janelle's kids may get Pinterest-worthy birthday party decorations, but mine won't.  (Their dad does make amazing cakes, so they are lucky to have him.)  But I am the kind of mom that will sing and dance with them in the car, who will pretend to be any character from Frozen that they like, and will let them have little doughnuts.  So they get that.

I don't know about blogging--why anyone clicks on a post to read anything is sort of random, I suppose.  And maybe no one ever will.  But it's like dancing--only a few people do it well enough to deserve an audience.  The rest of us dance for the fun of it.