Moses was born on a sweltering day in June. Like all new moms, I was overjoyed and could not believe the treasure I held in my arms.
The first couple months was a torrent of blissful cuddles, timed nursings, visits to lactation nurses, logging ounces drank, documenting diaper matter, lugging a car seat around, and counting hours of sleep. As a stay-at-home mom, taking care of baby was 24/7, and the most pressing decision each day was what to do while my baby was napping. Should I eat, take a shower, close my eyes, or go to the bathroom? Which one did I need to do most?
As Moses grew bigger and his naps grew longer, our schedule was less rushed we had new routines. A walk in the park in the stroller. Tummy time. Teething toys. Trying out solid food. Finally, more down time for me. But then the split-brain thoughts started coming in:
While driving back from the grocery store with Moses happily kicking his feet in the back seat: “He looks so content. What kind of job could I do that is part-time? ”
While waiting for Moses to wake up from his nap in the car: “This is great, I can spend so much time with my son. I can’t wait to read to him. But I should go back to work.”
While cooking dinner and watching him cruise around the living room: “So glad I did not miss his first steps. I really should do the exercises in What Color is your Parachute * and set up some informational interviews.”
While giving Moses a bath and watching him teethe on his bath toys: “He has the cutest smile and just loves taking a bath. I need to find a job. But I don’t want to go back to teaching. How are we going to afford preschool? ”
While watching him put together a puzzle: “My staying home with Moses is best for the family. What about working at a non-profit? ”
While patting Moses down to sleep at night: “I need to go back to school and get a well-paying job for once. What should I do? ”
These relentless back and forth thoughts pushed me to action. By the time Moses was nine-months old, I hired a babysitter two days a week and enrolled in Legal Writing and Research at the local community college. I was considering law school.
It look me about a year to realize that law school was not a panacea for my needing to do something professional and respectable with my life in addition to being a mom. I completed a Civil Litigation class at another community college and started interviewing for legal assistant positions I found on Craigslist. My plan was to find a part-time entry-level job in the legal field to get experience before applying to law school. Unfortunately, the consensus was that (with two Stanford degrees) I was overeducated. Finally, an attorney friend of mine gave me a job answering phones and filing papers for his boutique law firm. You don’t want to be a lawyer, he told me. After a few months listening to arguing through closed doors, I came to the same conclusion. I wanted a well-paying job, but I did not want to be a lawyer.