The Work Decision.

How does the saying go?  It’s getting down to the wire… Who thought that up?  Am I picking up these 60’s TV show Batman references?  It’s subliminally absorbing into my spongy brain.  I have the decision to make – work or stay-at-home…

Do you ever feel like you are missing out on things with your child?  I am feeling that way right now.  Yesterday, I mentioned in a footnote, that I am trying to prepare for a trial that starts on July 18th.  This is one of the biggest cases I’ve ever been involved in during my career.  And while I prepare papers to be filed with the Court today, (one of which is 55 pages alone) with 31 exhibits, objections to their evidence, my own papers, I am realizing that there is very little time to make a decision.

I’ve spent three years of my life preparing this case for trial.  I have taken testimony from over a dozen witnesses, attended depositions taken by others, sifted through five boxes and four binders of evidence, attended inspections, gone to court to get access to additional evidence and investigated through the internet and through use of investigators and experts, doctors, engineers, scientists and coroners.  The case involves the death of two 20 year old girls and it is heartbreaking.

It is and has been my case and the vast majority of my practice for the past two years.  So, while my husband/partner waits for his verdict (it’s been 30 days since his trial began) I am trying to decide whether and to what extent I can participate in the trial of this upcoming case, and to what extent, I will choose to give it up to the daddy and stay home with my son.

It is a nice choice to be able to make in a way.  If I worked a regular 9-5 job, that would be difficult in its own way but I could be sure that when I was home, work would not stick to me as it does now.  I might have lots of other issues related to child care and after school activities if I had the 9-5 job.  I know others have difficult choices to make.  I can look around at what choices others make all day, but in the end, I have to make the choices with which I’m faced.

I have no fear of the courtroom.  In fact, I love giving opening and closing statements and cross-examining witnesses.  There is nothing that can match the excitement of those parts of a trial.  But when you practice like we do, on the side of the underdog – you have to put your evidence on first and prove your case and it involves 18-20 hour days.  Really.  Sometimes you go to bed at 2 a.m. and get up at 5 or 5:30.  And there is no guarantee you will win.  You have to depend on others for whether you deserve to be paid for your efforts.  It’s a lot like working on commission.  In fact, it is working on commission – in a very big way.

So, maybe it should be a no-brainer.  Stay home with my son.  Enjoy his company.  Play with him.  Teach him all those things I blog about in flowery language.  But I know myself.  Every minute of every day, I will be second-guessing what my husband does or does not do in trial.  I will be wondering what is going on – knowing I can do it better because I’ve lived it for three years (the last two of which have been the most intense).  I HATE the thought of giving that up.

Then I have to think of how much upheaval my son has already undergone in the last month while his dad and Jessica have been almost completely unavailable.  He’s been saying “Daddy and Jessica are using the vacuum” for the whole month.  This is a reference to the week before the trial when the office was broken into and I took him down the hall away from broken glass while – yes- daddy and Jessica vacuumed up the glass bits with the loud and scary vacuum.  And yes, he was separated from them while they did this task.  He’s been separated from them ever since.

In the past month, his language has grown.  His sentences are more complete.  He’s physically taller.  He is growing more physically agile, hitting baseballs and throwing them overhand.  (He still can’t catch a ball to save his life.)  He’s become almost completely (knock on wood a 1000 xxx) fully potty trained.

His growth is almost scary.  It is amazing.  I’ve been right here for it but I feel now like I’m starting to miss it.  With all the papers I’ve been writing and putting together for Court, when the therapists are not with him, he has learned to play by himself.  Yes, it is a good thing in a lot of ways, but I still miss just being with and playing with him.  We still read stories at night (Batman) and we still play at least one game of some kind a day but he falls asleep while I’m still working and then, with my eyes half open I prepare a post for the blog, give him a breathing treatment while falling asleep myself and then I go to bed.

I love this boy.  My whole intent when I got pregnant was to be phased out of the practice and raise my child.  I need that even more with the child I have been blessed to have.  And my child needs the consistency of at least one person in his life.  It appears that will have to be me.

As I wrote this, he woke himself up and is laying in bed crying.  Right now, he’s crying because he misses Jessica and Daddy.  Daddy came in to make him feel better.

So, in the end, it looks as though my lawyer shoes will have to stay dusty in the closet and my running shoes will be worn a little further.  I will relinquish some control.  It remains to be seen – how much.  Love for my son wins.  As it should, always.

Goodnight shoe...


About solodialogue

I'm a lawyer and the mom of a 6 year old boy with autism. I work part time and spend the rest driving here and there and everywhere for my son's various therapies. Instead of trying cases, I now play Pac-man and watch SpongeBob. I wear old sweaters and jeans and always, always flat shoes to run after my son. Yeah, it's different but I wouldn't change it for anything. The love of my child is the most powerful, beautiful and rewarding aspect of my life.
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18 Responses to The Work Decision.

  1. Kelly says:

    Oh boy, Karen. I do not envy you this decision. I can well imagine the gut-wrenching feelings your choice envokes. I mean this with all sincerity – no snark – good luck. Really.

    • solodialogue says:

      Love you Kelly! I care a lot about this client and her loss so it is very difficult. In the end, I think she understands more than anyone how much it means to spend time with your child.

  2. Ahhhh, Karen. I have been EXACTLY in your shoes. Like you and your husband, my husband and I worked for the same company — in the same field. In fact, my husband was one of my “customers.” LOL. I still get a feeling in the pit of my stomach when he tells me how my replacement has been running one project or another. I am angry. I could have done so much better. And, worse still, I am jealous.

    I made the same decision you are coming two almost 2.5 years ago… the feelings have dulled but they haven’t changed. I miss my career. I miss the challenges. I miss the chance to excel in something I did well.

    But I remind myself with every smile from the Little Miss — with every boo-boo that is kissed better — and with every trip to the therapist’s office — that there is no place in this world that I NEED to be more. The projects I abandoned at my old job will get done — not the way I wanted them to, but done nonetheless. The people who I esteemed will move on. The world will keep turning.

    But for every hour of every day I miss something that Little Miss needs me for, her world does NOT keep turning. It comes to a stop. She needs me completely — just like T needs you.

    I guess what I’m trying to say Karen is what you already know in your heart. You ARE making the right decision. It hurts like hell, but the reward is bigger than anything that your career could have ever given.

    I’m here for you, my friend. I’ll lend whatever support I can — because I’ve been there and I know how hard it is. If you ever need to talk, you know where to find me.

    • solodialogue says:

      Karla, you are such a sweet and wonderful person! You made me cry in a good way. It does hurt but if it was not a death case involving a young girl – I don’t think I’d feel so conflicted. In the end I have to go with the fact that hubs can do this – and do it well. And I can watch T grow and blossom and love. I do know where to find you and don’t think I won’t come looking!! ❤

  3. Big says:

    After missing virtually the entire first 10 years of my son’s life (and 7 of my daughter’s) I became a stay at home dad. This as been the most rewarding 3.5 years of my life.

  4. Lizbeth says:

    Awww Gawd, this isn’t easy, is it?!? How do you separate yourself from something you’ve worked so hard and so long to attain?!? It was one of the hardest decisions I had to make–give up my work shoes entirely and focus on the children. A part of me misses it–the work and having a persona outside of “mom.” Then I see my kids, how far they’ve come and how much we’ve accomplished and even on the worst of days I get a smug satisfaction that I did the right thing. But that was the right decision for me—and only me. I know there are others who have to and want to work outside the house. You’ll find what’s right for you and when you do, you’ll share that same smug satisfaction.

    • solodialogue says:

      Smug, eh? I like smug. I hope jealous and bitter passes me by and I go straight to smug – I could use that while I’m shopping with the little guy at WalMart… 🙂

  5. Know what you mean. I still have days that I am jealous of Brian for getting to go to work- sounds crazy when you write it down. But like so many others have said here, I’m very thankful that he does work so hard and gives me the opportunity to be home with the kids. Really, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else and I would be far more jealous of the person who got to watch them all day than I am of Brian going to work. 🙂 Plus, I feel like with our kids’ needs, it’s extra important to have someone who loves them unconditionally and cares about their long-term development at home with them during the day. There are some caregivers who would qualify, but it would be impossible for them to beat me with how much I love these kids!

    • solodialogue says:

      Gracie and AJ are beautiful. I know that I will love being with Tootles and I already enjoy our time together. Like you, I know there is no one better to take care of the kids. 🙂

  6. Teresa says:

    It has been a lot of years since I walked in your shoes. I managed to work part time until my daughter was born and even then hung on several years taking call at the hospital. Choosing to become a stay at home mom is not as easy as one might think. After all you spent all those years in college preparing for your dream job and with it comes respect from others. Respect that you don’t see too often just being mom. But all these years later I don’t regret my decision. Our kids are only young for a short time. Seize the day and enjoy your son’s gentle years. Remember, you can choose to go back later…no rules against it.

  7. OMum22 says:

    Read your post this morning over coffee (I can read WP on my bb now!!) and I could feel how torn you were about this, I just wanted to give you a huge hug. I can’t comment on my bb so I’m on the laptop so I can give you *hugs*, lol. I can’t empathize because honestly, I’d love to give up my job but that’s not just not an option for me. But I sure can sympathize and tell you that whatever you chose to do you’d have my support (for what it’s worth).

  8. Broot says:

    It’s the hardest decision we make as parents, and one that we can really only do within the family unit. I totally hear you – I’ve been going through the same debates here. But the plus/minus list still works well, and it sounds like you’ve worked it out for what’s right for you and Tootles. **hugs**

  9. eof737 says:

    Sorry to read about the stress and decisions you have to make… Not easy but based on your reflections here, you know what you need to do… delegate,delegate, delegate.
    Love those shoes!

  10. Amanda says:

    There is much I could say about the subject but it all sounds wrong.

    Do you have an email address?

  11. I feel lucky that I even had a choice. I think I was also lucky that I had put in my time working on my career. I take the parts of it that I really liked (analyzing, writing, creating) with me into this SAHM life. Staying home with Jack has challenged me in ways I could have never imagined. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I hope you find the peace with your decision. ((hugs))

  12. danidawn says:

    I think you will miss working very much. I miss working but then again I had my decition made for me LOL..(I did not get to make it for myself). I do LOVE being a stay at home mom.. Though I miss the income 😉
    I can see in your writing you will not regret your decition. You are a wonderful person & your son is lucky to have you.
    P.S. I LOVE THOSE SHOES!!! ( lived in 3-4 inch heals when I worked and still have a couple of my favorites stashed away; even if I will never be able to wear them again).

  13. Pingback: The Understudy. | Solodialogue

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