Thursday, July 31, 2014

gosh darnit all over the place

i have definitely cried at work before. like, when someone dies, or sends me a video of pound puppies. but yesterday was the first day i've ever almost cried at work because of work.

i know this is a recurring theme, but... being a mom is hard. being a working mom is hard. life is hard. and beautiful and rewarding and amazing and way easier than a lot of other people's lives, blah blah blah... please let me reintroduce the scale of suck:

but still. it's hard. hard for me, anyway. and also, why is everyone else better at it? i seriously don't understand. i just can't get a grip. i haven't been to the dentist in almost a year and a half. they just sent a postcard that said YOUR LAST CLEANING WAS MARCH 2013 in some attempt to shame me into the dentist's chair. i also haven't had my lady bits inspected by a medical professional since Colby was 6 weeks old. should probably get on that. you know what? i am going to open a dentist/doc-in-the-box/dry cleaner/juice bar/movie theater/internet cafĂ© that is open from 9pm to 9am. befriend me now before i become a bazillionaire.

so anyway. yesterday was not the best day. i recently found out that the girl who's above me on the food chain at work is leaving. (i say girl because she is practically a child. not sure she can even legally drink. she may have graduated college at 16.) i was hopeful that this could (finally) be an opportunity for advancement. we're in "the shit" on this case and she is leaving us in the lurch and i've been working this thing for years so this could be my chance to demonstrate how indispensable i am. my favorite friend at work gave me a pep talk: you can DO it! so i'm pumped! i'm ready! let's do this thing!

the morning after my Rocky Balboa/Elle Woods moment, i came into the office to discover that the opening had already been filled by another associate - a lateral move. my current position is something less than an associate. somewhere between associate and, say, monkey with a j.d. i decide, after conferring with DM and my girlfriend, that i should still talk to the lead partner so he is aware of my interest and enthusiasm. a while back, when they were hiring for associate positions, i similarly expressed my interest, and he basically said, i like you, but, come talk to me when you don't have to leave at 4pm to pick up your kids every day.

so. i go give him my spiel. so-and-so is leaving, i know this case like the back of my hand, i've been working my butt off, i'm ready for more responsibility, colby is starting preschool in a couple of weeks so i'll have more flexibility with my schedule... basically i'm saying, "c'mon coach! put me in! i'm ready!" he was very relieved to find out i did not come into his office to quit, but other than that, his response could best be described as equivocal. oh well. i was glad i'd said my piece, anyway.

ummm, yeeeeahhhh, about that promotion.
(my boss is really nothing like bill lumbergh, thank the lord.) 
then. my day begins to spontaneously combust. i won't bore you with the details, but, bottom line, a bunch of stuff has to be done by 4:45 in the afternoon. i went into the office over the weekend, and stayed up until 1am the night before, to ensure that things ran smoothly and there weren't any last minute fire drills. insert life's evil laugh here. shit, meet fan. fan, shit. an endless parade of fuckuppery began at 7:42 a.m. and just didn't stop. at about noon it became clear that there was no way i was going to be able to pick the kids up on time. i texted DM. i knew he was busy with work, too, but on the off chance he could cover me, i had to try. no response. i called. no response. i sent approximately 13 increasingly frantic texts to no avail. my sister just started nursing school so she can't bail us out anymore. none of our babysitters had car seats or a house key on the ready. Efffff. "hey boss! i am READY FOR RESPONSIBILITY! errr... tomorrow!"

god/allah/buddha is having great fun with my best laid plans. i'm trying to do two extra days' worth of work in four hours. while perhaps not the most intellectually challenging of projects, it is of the "fuck this up and you are fired, or at the very least, relocated to dinkytown, minnesota" variety, so i was kind of stressing out. my rational thought process: "i am extremely agitated and haven't eaten anything all day! this situation calls for red bull! make it a double!"

meanwhile, i can't really feel my hands and feet. see, doctors think i have this condition my friend refers to as "terrible tooth disease" (known as charcot marie tooth in medical parlance). of course, they can't be sure, because that would require follow-up tests and appointments and who has time for that?! anyway, this condition causes numbness in your extremities, and sometimes it really cramps my style. "hey boss! i am HERE TO WORK! bring it on! as long as "it" does not involve the use of my arms. or walking."

because of the numbness in my legs and feet, i'm basically a danger to myself in flip flops and sandals, but they comprise 94% of my shoe collection, so i wear them anyway. in my haste to be three places at once, i was jogging up the stairs, and totally ate shit. thank the lord i fell up and not down the stairs, and that no one was there to see me.

i wish i could say that was true when i tripped over a box in the supply room seven minutes later, and knocked over... ohhhh, i don't know, EVERYTHING?!? okay, i'm exaggerating. maybe only 73 binders, 184 highlighters, and 2,516 paper clips. the hot, muscle-bound guy from across the hall came running from the racket. he was shocked i wasn't killed or maimed by flying staplers. i sort of wished i was.

the series of events just felt like someone was mocking me: you're barely keeping your head above water as it is and you think you can add more to your load? pfffttt! good luck with that!!! and i thought to myself, seriously. who am i kidding?! i felt frustrated and overwhelmed and more than a little sorry for myself. as colby has taken to saying, "gosh darnit all over the place!"

i finished the work in time, but i was so late to pick up the kids, which just kills me. my mom was amazing in countless ways, but punctuality was not her strong suit. she was also a working mother, with all the juggling that entails. she was often late to pick us up, and i distinctly remember the shame of being the very last person at school or daycare or camp or soccer practice, waiting with a teacher/coach/etc who is, for your sake, valiantly trying to act like they aren't put out. i SWORE to myself i would never, ever, ever do that to my own kids. i lied.

as i'm running out of my building, i notice i have a missed call from the preschool. this is never good news and it scares the bejesus out of me every single time. i check the voicemail and they had called to say they were on LOCKDOWN. what in the fuck?! i called back to get more information. everyone was okay, thank god, but they spent an hour locked in the bathroom with two teachers and eighteen children, because apparently that is what we do now while nut jobs are allowed to run around terrorizing people with guns.

on my painfully slow drive home in rush hour traffic, i tried to chill the F out and summon david foster wallace's "this is water," but really i just tweaked out on red bull and spent most of the drive feeling bad that i can't win at any of the things. my cousin sent me this quote recently and it really hit home:

believe you, me. i had plenty of time for self-flagellation because i was stuck behind jesse fucking pinkman on the I-5 and he was hiiiiiiiigh. in his altered state he believed the speed limit was 22 MPH (or he mistakenly believed he was driving 75). i'm usually not one for road rage but i wanted to go monster truck on his ass with my mom car. the other day DM had friends from boston in town and they were complaining about annoying california drivers who space out and drive slow in the fast lane. usually, i think people are just doing it to be ornery, but jesse here hadn't a friggin' clue. then this morning i was stuck behind another slow-ass space cadet for nearly my entire commute. she literally put on mascara for 27 minutes. i imagined her having seven rows of eyelashes, like shark teeth. there was no way i was going to try to get in front of her, though, because there was a 97% chance she would rear-end me and stab herself in the eye with a mascara wand. i didn't want that on my conscience on top of everything else.

ANYWAY. i finally got to the kids. and they are just so freaking cute sometimes. my mood was instantly elevated. i felt sad, too, though, because colby had these little pigtails and she just looked like such a little girl and i thought to myself, these babies are growing up right before my eyes, why on EARTH would i want to miss a single second more of it? what amount could you possibly pay me to make it worth it? (granted, some days i would pay YOU to get out of the house. but you get my point.)

"work/life balance," the mythical beast. please let me know if you ever find it.


  1. I think you will really appreciate reading "Overwhelm: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time" by Brigid Schulte. I'm going to be writing a post or two on it in the (hopefully) near future. Great stuff to wade through. You are not alone, my friend. I've had days similar to what you describe...and just know you are not alone.

    1. Thank you, Lisa! I will definitely check out that recommendation! I know you of all people appreciate "the juggle struggle" - looking forward to your upcoming posts. You know. That you'll write in all your free time ;)

  2. I don't know how I missed this post originally. It encompasses everything I have been feeling lately. I have been trying like hell to get promoted at work and it's not happening. I keep saying that I refuse to work overtime and that isn't helping. I don't know why I keep trying....I want more for my career, but family comes first. Hard balance. And, I feel like crap every time I come home and all the stay-at-home mom's are outside playing with their kids relaxing with a beer. Meanwhile, I have to run inside to put together some sort of dinner before my kids start screaming. And, hope that I have time to change out of my high heels so my feet don't fall off. It's a difficult balance. I don't think I would be a good stay-at-home mom...and I like working. But, I can't find a balance and I am stressed and tired and feel like I am going to have a panic attack just about every day.

    1. Gurrrrrl, I know EXACTLY what you mean. You probably missed this post because it was "recommended" that I take it down because it was a little too close (read: true) for comfort. So I did. Then I was like, F that, and put it back up, lol. Anyway, all I can say is, hang in there! It will get better (and then worse, probably, and then better again). I literally felt exactly like you one week ago. I was just like, this is so stupid, what's the point, maybe I should just stay home, everything you said. Then Monday I FINALLY got some (albeit minor) recognition at work, Wednesday I found out about the book thing, and Friday my firm decided to offer life insurance to those of us at the bottom of the totem pole (things like this excite me). So keep on keepin' on, my friend. If nothing else, your beautiful girls and husband and dog appreciate you, and that's what matters the most!