I'm so behind this month, I'm sorry. Last week was a crazy whirlwind. On Monday, I found out that something I had been working on for about two years ended with a tremendous victory. At work, I helped us get a very important case all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States, and last week, we found out that we won. This was a very, very big deal. I should note for posterity that I was incredibly surprised by just about everything related to the Supreme Court—the whole thing is way more “day time television” in tone than I ever expected. During oral arguments back in October, the justices go after the lawyers with unbridled passion and opinions... far from the stately, neutral arbiter of justice I had envisioned. In December, we started to think a decision would come anytime, and in my mind, some clerk would call our lawyers to tell them the justices had made a decision and some formal brief would be filed somewhere, and then our lawyers would call us. Nope, not how it works. In reality, you have no idea when a decision is coming, and instead of learning about it from some official filing, a blogger live updates the day’s proceedings. So basically, that meant every day at 10:00 I logged onto the SCOTUS Blog and read the play by play of the opinions for the day. On our day we actually go the decision, I was on tap to present to our global operations team along with my colleague and our CEO, so I was glued to my laptop from the front row of a crowded cafeteria that was set up fort the presentation. Just before our presentation was about to start, the live blog feed looked something like this…
“Two boxes... likely three or more opinions” (Decisions are literally carried to the bench in giant boxes, so the blogger guesses how many cases will be decided that day based on the number of the boxes).
“Could be XXX case... or maybe YYYY.”.... (This was the worst part – because when your professional fate hinges on a decision, you’re not really in the mood for speculation)
“First decision is FERC vs. EPSA” (That's the part where I started shaking uncontrollably)
“Lower court overturned.”
That’s the part where I pointed frantically walked over to our CEO who was getting ready for our presentation and pointed at the screen, but I was so tongue tied I didn't have the words to explain to him what he was looking at... "Is this the decision? Does this mean we won??" he asked, and I started crying and said yes, and hugged him. So there I was hugging our CEO and crying in front of 80 people with cameras streaming to our global offices, and no one had any idea what was going on. I’m pretty sure half my company is highly suspect of the special relationship the CEO and I now share.
And then it went on into detail the exact vote (we won 6-2, Alito had recused himself). Justice Kagan read the opinion. Thomas and Scalia voted against us. I obviously bowed out of the presentation I was about to give, and for the rest of the day, my phone blew up with calls from reporters. It will be perhaps one of my most favorite professional memories.
I was about to say “but about enough work...” but on second thought, I think it's probably important for me to continue on this thread, because the reality is, I'm your mom and it's a full time gig, but I also have another full time gig managing a team of 25 people at a publicly traded company with big ambitious goals. I do my best to balance everything, but it’s definitely not always easy. My brain never really shuts off. When I'm at work, I'm thinking about you guys, and when I'm home, I'm thinking about work. About the only time my brain really shuts off is when it's absorbed with mindless television shows. Even in my sleep, I'm planning - pick up stuff for Mason's birthday party, submit that performance review, check in on that next campaign... Most days, I wake up exhausted.
Between you guys and work, there isn't a whole lot of time left over, but I am trying to consciously make time for me – to unplug from work and the stress of being a parent. Last April, I bought a treadmill, and I was really good about it for April and May, ok about it in June, but July onwards…? Not so much. In December, I recommitted and have been going strong since then. This past weekend, I even met a running group and ran 5K for the first time in my life, which made progress against two personal “me” goals: become a runner and make more friends on the south shore. But it really is so hard because the only time I can run is if I wake up at 5:00 am, which let’s face it, is never going to happen, or I can run after I get home from work and get you guys in bed. Nobody really *wants* to run at 7:30 at night, though so the level of motivation required to overcome the hump is really quite high. I walk myself through a series of micro-yes decisions, careful not to bite off too much, less I give up… first I commit only to putting on my running clothes. If I do that, then I think about going downstairs and turning on the treadmill. If I do that, then I commit to one mile. Usually if I make it that far, I can commit to 2-3 miles.
I get a lot of “I don’t know how you do it” comments from people, which is nice, but makes me feel a little bit like a fraud. I want to tell them all that I’m faking it like everyone else and that even though I’m pretty good at holding a serene pose and really only letting Mama see the crazy, underneath, I’m struggling as much as the next person to keep it all together. I’m fairly sure that every mom, whether they work or stay home, is constantly battling for a sense of balance and serenity.
Just to make sure I don’t completely ignore you guys in this month’s post, I’ll dedicate the last paragraph to our latest bedtime route, which makes me giggle every time I think about it. First, we brush your teeth. I play the “this is the way we brush our teeth” song on YouTube, and we dance and brush and spit, and then wash our hands with exactly the right amount of foamy soap (if I get it wrong, you make me pay). Then, we go into your room and sing “Shake Your Sillies Out” – For two verses, we shake our sillies out and then jump our jitters out before wiggling our waggles away. Lately, you’ve requested that we add at least three rounds of ring around the rosie, which you both are convinced is the most fun game in the history of all games. Then we take it down a notch and climb into the rocker or have “circle time” and read “Llama Llama Red Pajama” – Every. Single. Night. (Last month it was Good Night Moon and Barnyard Dance every night. Who knows what next month with bring). Sometimes Mason likes to help... which doesn't always work out exactly as he planned.
After story time, it’s Russian roulette – on some nights, it’s smooth sailing from this point on. I sing “good night Quinnie, good night Hayden, good night girls, it’s time to say goodnight”, put you in your cribs, tuck you under your blankets and peacefully walk out of the room. (Quinnie, you like to make sure you’re tucked in alongside all of your stuffed animals. On a peak night, I counted six little heads all lined up next to each other: 1 human, 2 Poohs, 1 Clown Fish, 1 Baby Doll, and 1 Minnie Mouse. I desperately want to get a picture of it one night, but haven’t been able to swing it so far).
Other nights, all hell breaks loose. I put you in your cribs and you scream like I’m ripping your fingernails out with pliers. On those nights, I’m glad you’re still in cribs and there’s really nothing you can do about it – I walk out of your room, turn the volume down on the monitor and pour myself a big glass of wine or head to the treadmill. Quinn, you can actually climb out of your crib but for some reason (unless you’re really, really pissed), you don’t do it unless I’m there to watch (You always ask, “Mommy, I do it?” as you’re swinging your leg over the side). Hayden, we dropped your mattress to the floor months ago when you started climbing out, but about week ago, you started to demonstrate this crazy, monkey-like toe curl thing around one of the vertical bars of the crib that, coupled with your herculean strength, might just mean you’re about to figure out how to get out… and I’m going to go out on a limb that if you do figure it out, you won’t be like Quinn and only exercise that ability under my close supervision. So, beds are coming your way soon… we’re just dragging it out as long as humanly possible.
I love you baby girls.