So often, I try to tell myself that my career does not define me. Similarly, I do not believe being a mother is my only purpose in life. I am in a constant flux of questioning who I am or who I was before I was a working mom.
In a past life, I had grand plans for myself. Surely they included a career and children, but in my mind I would be cooking dinner with high heels on, killing it on all fronts. That is how I remember my childhood: my mom would work all day, come home in her work attire (heels included) and cook us dinner. I don’t remember our house being a mess or my mother ever appearing stressed.
What a pipe dream.
Some mornings I will feel like a complete disaster. Hair in some kind of messy bun (not the kind people aspire to on Pinterest); some type of sweats or pajamas (not the kind of athleisure wear that’s cool) and I’m making lunches or wiping butts or wrestling to get someone’s socks on, and I don’t even recognize myself. How can I be the same person who is about to step into a courtroom and actually make a difference in someone’s life? How can I be the same person who tonight is presenting on a legal education panel to some of the most esteemed lawyers and judges in my area?
Other times, I am hard at work, really knee deep in my job, and all I can think about is whether I remembered to pack diapers for daycare.
I don’t have one of those cool jobs where motherhood and my career are supposed to intersect. In fact, it’s typically the opposite. While clients may appreciate my perspective as a parent, they are investing in me to be laser focused on my job. I have often said that I am supposed to work as if I do not have a family to balance, and when I am parenting, I have to do my best to pretend I don’t have my work on my brain.
Sometimes I hear myself talk about the kids and I quite literally have to pause- to say to myself- wow, when did this happen? When did I become the Mom that says “I am not in charge of your friends, I am only in charge of you.”? Or when did I become an expert at diaper rash and knotty hair? I truly have no idea.
I look at our house and wonder if it will ever stay clean or be as organized as a pottery barn catalogue cover. How did I become someone who lives in a place of chaos?
I struggle almost every single day with figuring out who I am as a person. Who am I, if I’m not responding to “Mom! Mom! Mom!”? Who am I, if I’m not reading and responding to emails or meeting deadlines? Truly, how did I get here?
Part of the magic of this every day chaos is that it makes time move so fast. I work so hard to keep the balls in the air every single day that sometimes a month has gone by, and I didn’t even realize. This is quite the double edged sword.
It’s a tale as old as time: the days are long, but the years are short. As part of my journey to the future and my dreams and aspirations of a near perfect home and career intersect, I have to step back and appreciate what I have in this moment. We are so quick to be onto the next step. I am so incredibly guilty of this myself.
But if I’m so fixated on who I am and how I got here and what I’m going to be in the future, I will lose what is in front of me so quickly. So this is who I am, for now. I’m a ball juggling, messy bun sporting, career mom … with a side of chaos. I’m an expert at triaging all things. I am for now, defined by my role as an endlessly working mom.