Thursday, August 6, 2009

Job Interview

This post is not related to exercise or eating right, it's about my struggle to achieve balance in my life.

My husband is making me go back to work. Yeah, I know that sounds bad, but it's not what you think. I am just so conflicted about what I want to do, it's easier to say that he's making me go back to work, than admit it's what I really want because, frankly, I'm not sure what I want.

I want to maintain my legal career, but I want to be home for my kids. As materialistic as it sounds, I want to have a fancy office, buy expensive shoes and clothes, drive a luxury vehicle, and have people wonder "how does she do it?"

I want to have a career, but I also want well adjusted kids who know that even though I work, I'll always be there for them. But, in reality, as hard as I'll try to "always be there," I know that there will be baseball games, piano recitals, and art shows that I might have to miss because of work.

I want to be SuperMom! In truth, I was SuperMom for over 5 years, but it was a hard moniker to sustain. Truth be told, I failed, miserably. No, really, they took away my cape and everything. For 5 years, my daily routine was like this: wake up at 5:30, (2 mornings) work out for 30-45 minutes with a trainer who came to my house, shower, dress, wake up kids, dress kids, drop kids off at the sitter's (later we hired a nanny who came to the house, which made the mornings less hectic), drive 50 minutes to work, work for 8-10 hours, drive home, pick kids up, make dinner, clean up dishes, have some quality time with kids, give kids their baths, read stories with kids, put kids to bed, clean up around house or some days work from home, and then fall into bed between 10:30 and 11 only to start all over again the next morning. Just typing that fills me with anxiety; it wasn't fun.

But, I didn't go to law school and spend thousands of dollars on tuition and take out thousands of dollars in loans to just give up practicing law and stay home with my kids. Don't get me wrong, I've loved most things about staying home. If I'm honest, though, I haven't fully embraced my role as stay at home mom; I'm always thinking that there's got to be something better out there. Obviously I'm fortunate to have had the opportunity to stay home with my kids. Most women I know who work don't have the choice to quit their jobs and stay home. Certainly, we have made sacrifices and lifestyle changes in order for me to stay home for the past year. It has also been stressful on my husband. He has watched many of his friends, co-workers, and colleagues, most of whom have young families, get laid off. As the sole breadwinner in our family, he constantly worries about what we would do if he's next.

I also know that I don't want to make a career out of staying home. I am not a good domestic engineer. I hate doing the laundry, especially the folding and putting away part, and don't even think about showing me how to use an iron. I vacuum and dust only when we have guests coming over. The floors get mopped when something gets spilled on them, which happens daily, so I guess I do a lot of mopping. I don't think we even own a toilet brush, oh wait, yes we do, it's in the basement. I think the kids play with it as a light saber or something. (As far as I know, it's never seen the inside of a toilet, so it's not gross that I let the kids play with it). I detest, no I need a stronger adjective, I abhor going to the grocery store. The one thing I do like to do is cook, but when you have a houseful of picky eaters who complain about every meal I make unless it's pancakes, hot dogs or Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, well, it kind of takes the fun out of making a nice dinner for your family.

So, I had an interview today. The position I interviewed for is an in-house staff attorney position with a corporation. It's the kind of career path that offers some semblance of that work-life balance that I covet or at least that's how the job was described to me.

The position wasn't offered to me, however, I think the interview went well. Well enough that I have to think about what I would do if an offer does come my way. It would be extremely difficult for me to turn down the position. But, I'm just not sure I'm ready to go back to work full time. Maybe I want just one more year to be home with my kids. In one more year my youngest will be in all day kindergarten, and I know I will yearn to go back to work because I will be bored. But, timing is everything...the opportunity has presented itself now, and who knows what the job market will look like a year from now. Do I really want to risk taking another year off? What if I'm not able to find a job and then all of a sudden my 2 year hiatus becomes a 3 year gap in my resume.

The problem with practicing law is you can't really take any significant time off. Not only do court rules, case law, and statutes change, but every year, hundreds of eager, young, fresh-faced lawyers join the ranks of the already thousands of lawyers. If I'm not there to do the work, someone will fill my chair in an instant.

So, I'm struggling with what I want to do. I realize I am getting ahead of myself as I don't have an offer, but I need to be prepared to make a decision one way or another.

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