Lawyer Mom Has Skills

Many people from all walks of life are good mothers – “free to be you and me” and all that. But I think being a lawyer has, to some degree, given me a head-start on motherhood.

I long suspected being a mom wasn’t the romantic dreamscape that so many women describe. I don’t know why women do that to themselves and others – the truth is that motherhood can also be exhausting and stressful. I don’t know anything worthwhile that isn’t imperfect and difficult sometimes, so I’m not surprised.

But I think there are some skills that help a mom work through the less dreamy parts of the job and being a lawyer has given me some of those.

My thoughts on this:

  1. BS Detector – My profession has taught me, among other things, that even my own client will lie to me. I don’t take it personally, but I have worked over the years to hone my BS detecting skills. Punkie had a “great day” at day care 5 days in a row? Uh huh – I call bullshit. Nobody has a great day every day. Your kid walked by five months of age? Interesting tale, but I call bullshit, unless he’s Clark Kent. Is your kid Clark Kent? I didn’t think so. I can’t wait until Punkie starts talking because I think I’ll enjoy a worthy BS adversary.
  1. Advocacy – I haven’t had to advocate all that much for Punkie yet, but I’m going to be a gladiator for that toothless, melon-headed little angel. I’m suiting up right now for an anticipated issue around which classroom Punkie’s day care will move him to when he begins walking, which I expect to be soon. I threw the first volley over the wall today and am waiting to see what the response will be. If the response is not what I need to hear, then the game is on.
  1. Drudgery – Being a mom isn’t all smiles and adventure. A lot of the tasks around taking care of Punkie are drudgery. But drudgery doesn’t stop me. I’ve negotiated every single provision of a 211 page contract. I’ve reviewed vast quantities of documents for 18 hours at a stretch – I’m talking conference rooms full of banker boxes, each stuffed with paper (yes, I’m banker-box-discovery-old). I studied for and passed two bar exams – I studied for the second exam at night after full days/evenings of work. I took trusts and estates and federal tax law courses in law school – that’s boring WITH MATH. If you think moving all of the next-size-up clothing into a closet or picking the same toy up off the floor 1,324 times in are row are boring, well, I can do those things all day.
  1. Deadlines – My life revolves around a to-do list and a schedule that is revised and refreshed many times each day. Everything I do has a deadline and nothing motivates me like a solid deadline. The kid needs a meal, or larger shoes, or to go to the doctor – these are all tasks with deadlines. I can schedule the hell out of those things like a champion. On the calendar, Punkie’s things are green and they’re all marked “high priority.” Check. Check. Check.
  1. Sleep Deprivation – I have trained with the best when it comes to sleep deprivation. My sleep deprivation training is akin to a chef training with someone who has 3 Michelin stars, or a football player who has trained with a Heisman Trophy winner, or a race car driver who learned everything he knows from Mario Andretti. Sure, I admit to a few dark moments when Punkie was a newborn, but I feel strongly that those fleeting moments were caused by a C-section and Oxycodone. Take this week for example. Punkie woke me up almost every night this week and, each time, he was unwilling to go back to sleep (I think he’s about to have a tooth break through). But I get up and go to work and keep going and then I get up the next night and take care of Punkie.  I’ll do this as long as it takes – if I need more coffee, I’ll get coffee. If I eventually go insane, so be it. It won’t stop me from crushing it again tomorrow.

How to Get Away With Murder, A Review

I’ve watched the entire Gilmore Girls series and no longer have a go-to show to watch while I’m nursing.  I saw the previews for How to Get Away With Murder and thought I’d watch to see if I liked it.  Who knows, maybe it’ll be my new show, I thought to myself.

Um . . . is this show for real?  There are probably no fewer than A MILLION people alive today who have attended law school for some period of time.  My suggestion to the show creators is to FIND ONE and have them explain how absurdly terrible this show is.

Don’t get me wrong – I am no TV snob.  I love some great shows and I love plenty of, shall we say . . . low-brow shows (which Real Housewives of [insert geography] franchise have I NOT watched?).  I also enjoy lawyer shows.  Sure, the court house scenes are cheesy, they never follow the rules of civil procedure, and I would personally never hire any of the TV lawyers who I watch on TV, but I have the ability to suspend my disbelief and enjoy a show for what it is. Until I saw this show.

The first episode of How to Get Away With Murder starts with a cluelessly happy young man riding his bike to his very first day of law school at some ivy-covered law school building.  As he walks down the lecture hall stairs, the camera pans over to some asshat in a suit (that’s not the unbelievable part) who says with gusto, something like “I just finished an internship with a Supreme Court Justice.”  Really? That’s just not possible.  As the guy walks around the entire room, the comments from the other students get more and more stupid as he walks.

Not to spoil more weird dialogue for you, but later on, toward the end of the episode, the main character tells the cluelessly happy guy (who’s still clueless but no longer happy by that point, which is, admittedly, the most realistic part of the show), that everything in his life depends on whether he, a law student with what seems like one week of law school under his belt, decides to intern for this law professor’s firm.  He can sit in a corporate office “…drafting contracts and hitting on chubby paralegals before finally putting a gun in [his] mouth…,” or he can join her.  Apparently, there’s no other way on Earth he can avoid working in-house for a corporation, and that’s objectively a bad thing [insert sarcasm].

W…T…F.  This might be the perspective of a BIGLAW partner or two out there, but this is supposed to be a law school professor.

I’ll bet the writers of the show did little hand slaps and fist bumps after they wrote this, but UUUGGGHHH, it’s so terrible.  These writers have a really warped view of the legal profession – maybe they were beaten with law books as children.

Also, as an aside –  hiring interns begs some touchy legal issues these days.  I hope for her sake that she pays these students.

And don’t get me started on how a woman who purports to be a law professor can toss away an entire curriculum of criminal law and force her students (who have been in law school for literally less than one day and who know no criminal law, because she didn’t teach them anything) to work on a live criminal case currently being handled by her firm. She seems proud of the fact that she intends to teach the students ZERO criminal law.  What is this law school?  Certainly, it’s not an accredited school.  I want to yell “get your tuition back before it’s too late, fools!,” but I know the actors they dressed up as preppy tools won’t listen.

Furthermore, this professor spent the year or more while this trial was pending apparently NOT preparing and then, the day before the trial begins, asked a bunch of kids to come up with legal arguments.  That’s malpractice.  When she reveals her strategy finally, it is basically that she’s going to make the witnesses look bad.  She praises the student who slept with someone to get information and the student who illegally obtained an email that would no doubt be inadmissible in a real court.  She really ought to just stick to the text book.

I’ll leave you with this one last gripe (lucky you?) – I was startled to see the actress who played Paris Geller in Gilmore Girls now plays a lawyer who works for the professor’s firm in How to Get Away With Murder.  Since my Gilmore Girls reboot plan ( involves the Paris Geller character to a large degree, I am dismayed to realize that this stupid show will make my dreams impossible.

Gilmore Girls 2.0, a Modest Proposal

During my maternity leave, I noticed one day while I was nursing that the Gilmore Girls (“GG”) was in reruns on the ABC Family channel.  They were playing the pilot episode and I loved it.

After that, I would turn GG on each day while I nursed.  When I went back to work, I set the DVR to record it each day so I could watch it while I nursed in the evening.

Well, over nine months later, I just watched the last episode of GG.  What a great show!  I liked it so much, I really think they need to reboot it, kind of like Netflix did with Arrested Development.  Although, GG won’t work the way Arrested Development was redone.  You can’t isolate one main character from the GG each into their own episodes – it would need to be a fully integrated, complete show.

So here’s my modest proposal for a brand new Gilmore Girls show – GG 2.0, if you will:

  • First thing is first – you need Amy Sherman-Palladino and Lauren Graham. You can’t reboot GG without both of them.  We’ll have to get Parenthood cancelled (how hard could that be, really?).  And I don’t know what Ms. Sherman-Palladino is up to, but we would need to tank that as well.
  • Think Gilmore Girls meets Auntie Mame. Lorelei raises her grandson in Stars Hollow with Luke, her now-husband. Rory had such a satisfying farewell in the last episode that it was like a touching goodbye to that character.  At the end, Rory told her mom, Lorelei, that Lorelei gave her everything she needed.  Sorry, Rory, but it only makes sense to reboot with your offspring.  In the opening scene, Lorelei is presented with her grandson, to whom she is now suddenly legal guardian because Rory and her husband, also a reporter, tragically died in a car accident on their way home from accepting the Pulitzer Prize.
  • I propose this grandchild be a boy.  We had the Lorelei and daughter experience in GG 1.0 and we also had April, who is basically the Scrappy-Doo or Cousin Oliver of GG.  We don’t need another adorable, smart young girl character.  Make him more fast talker than stereotypically smart – think a mix between Jess and Logan.  Lets go with the spunky, fast-talking boy option.
  • Lorelei’s best friend, Sookie, is not a regular character in GG 2.0 because Melissa McCarthy is so famous now – I’m sure she wouldn’t agree to be a full-time regular on the show.  I say Sookie is away, maybe in California, opening another Dragon Fly Inn, like a franchise.  We can see her from time to time when Melissa McCarthy has a break between movies.  Maybe we give her a show on the Food Network or make her an Iron Chef, just for laughs.
  • Lorelei’s new best friend is . . . yes, Paris Geller.  Paris married Doyle and the two of them are of course now rich and powerful after Paris, let’s say, invented a new medical device to cure some funny but embarrassing ailment like, I don’t know, maybe Athlete’s Foot.  We can work on this.  In any case, Paris has moved to Stars Hollow to raise her kid, who she wants to have the same idealic upbringing of her good friend, Rory.  Lets put her right next door to Lorelei in Babbette’s old house because I’m sure Sally Strothers is going to be too busy for the Netflix-produced reboot.  We can have Paris be a new lecturing professor at Chilton so she overlaps with Lorelei’s grandson.  Plus, since she has not mellowed at all, Paris dealing with students will be funny to watch.
  • Chilton brings me to Emily and Richard.  We need them back, paying for Chilton again.  Friday night dinners are a must.  And their great-grandson gets into Chilton because of his family and charm and, unlike his mother, not because of his brain power.
  • Lane and Zack need to be there.  I say Lane and Zack are now music teachers in town and they have the twins, AND they’re still playing with Gil and Brian.  If Miss Patty can’t return for whatever reason, put Lane and Zack’s music school in her studio and continue to have the town meetings there.  Lane will be Rory’s son’s Lorelei Gilmore (reference to the Lane’s baby shower episode).
    • This is very important – both or maybe just one of Lane’s kids need to rebel.  They/he hate music and they/he love bible study.  They hide things in the floor boards and rebel whenever they can.
    • Throw in Mrs. Kim too because she’s awesome.  In fact, if the actress who plays Miss Patty wants to come back, put Lane and Zack’s music school somewhere in Mrs. Kim’s antique store.  Mrs. Kim can conspire against Lane with Lane’s kids.
  • The town needs to be a character in the reboot, like it was in the original.
    • Town meetings are a must-have.
    • Michel is a must-have, in every episode.  Give him 5 dogs because it would be fun.
    • Kirk is a must-have.  Add in Taylor, Gypsie, Liz, Miss Patty . . .  heck, all the town folk. Even the troubadour.

What are your thoughts on the reboot?


I suppose this is the obligatory “I’m exhausted” mommy blog post.  Well I am.  Punkie has a virus, we believe, from day care . . . again.  This one gives him a high fever and some nasal congestion.  The fever keeps coming back and I’ve been waking up at night to give Punkie some medication to keep the temp down.  And now I’m exhausted. I’m basically a lawyerly zombie today.

Boromire meme redactedOne does not simply walk into Mordor . . . I mean, the nursery, and give medication.  You need to cajole and beg the baby to go back to sleep afterward.  This is the crux of the issue here.  Last night, he took his medication and then decided he didn’t want to be alone in his crib.  Every time I laid him down, he kicked and yelled and cried.  If I picked him up, he was asleep in one minute . . . until I laid him down, in which case he was immediately awake again.  Eventually, I brought him to bed with us and he fell asleep, but not until we had lost two hours of sleep.

Can I remind you that I’m 40 and losing two hours of sleep slays me?  Or, maybe it “undeads” me, and I’ve been undead since Friday.  When I was in my 20’s, I could stay up all night and still function.  Now, in my 40’s, all I can say is BRAINS.

Maul Mommy

redacted punkie game

The kid’s new favorite game is what I affectionately refer to as “Maul Mommy.”  When we play this game, Punkie laughs and laughs and laughs and my heart swells.  But it sure isn’t pretty and it’s occasionally kind of gross.

First, I lay down on the floor on my back.  The first time I did this, it was because my back hurt from hauling a(n adorable) baby with a giant head all over the house.  But Punkie is an opportunist and he pounced.

Then, Punkie laughs and screeches and crawls over to me.  He pulls himself up onto his knees and wipes his face all over my clean shirt, laughing all the while.  He then moves up towards my head and grabs my nose with a ninja grip, sometimes using his finger nails to dig in.  After that, it’s a free-for-all.  I have a baby laying across my face, laughing and kicking, and putting his open mouth on my ear (wet willy, anyone), over my nose, and on my mouth.  He pulls my hair and pokes his fingers into my eyes.  I’ve never heard anyone laugh that much.

That’s not the gross part.  You ask, how could that not be the gross part?  Actually, that part is fun because he enjoys it so much and it tickles and he’s a funny little guy.  The gross part is that I think he basically french kissed me during last night’s game of Maul Mommy.  I’m sure he has no idea what that means or why one might object to it, but it happened.  I hope Child Protective Services doesn’t take him away.


What’s the Expiration Date on this Milk?

redacted baby food popsicle

I think the end of my breast-feeding time with Punkie is drawing near.  I’ve been feeling like, personally, I’ve had enough, but I keep going because Punkie seems to rely on spending that time with me in the morning to wake up and at night to fall asleep. Also, you can’t argue with all of the benefits to the baby of breast-feeding.

Lately, though, Punkie has been breast-feeding for less time each session and he’s been biting me.  This led to some swelling, which led to some abrasion when I pumped, which caused bleeding.  And the bleeding completely ruined some of the milk that I pumped while I was at work – who’s going to feed their baby bloody milk? I’ve also had a number of plugged ducts, which were very painful.  Most significantly, though, my supply is slowly decreasing.  It’s been a rough month or so for breast-feeding and pumping.

When Punkie was born, I told myself that I’d breast feed and pump for six months.  That seemed like a reasonable goal considering I didn’t know how it would shake out with pumping at work or how well Punkie and I would breast feed together.

When six months came, I decided that things were going pretty well and I’d continue until Punkie was nine months old.  Things began to go haywire at eight months, but I’ve hung in there.

Yesterday was officially nine months and I think I’m done.  But I have no idea how to stop.  I’m not convinced that cold turkey is the best idea.  If I cut one pumping session out per week, my supply should decrease – does that mean I can’t breast feed in the morning and night?  When does that end?  And what do I do with the kid at 5AM when he wakes up looking for milk, as he does every day?

My OBGYN advised that I wear a tight bra.  Really?  That’s the advice?  I don’t know how she could have been less helpful with the weaning question.

In a couple of days, Punkie has his 9-month well child visit and I’ll ask the pediatrician the same question.  How do I wean this kid?

And a corollary to that question – what do I feed him now? He’s very much interested in solid food and he’s been less and less patient with his bottles of milk and/or formula.  How do I switch him over?  Should I be feeding him cereal in the morning still, and should I give day care the go-ahead to feed him the full lunch that the other older babies get?

I wonder if the pediatrician knows what an extensive question and answer session she’s in for this week.

Old At Being Young

Punkie is seeing a lot of changes at day care this week.  He and his friend are now the oldest babies in his room, as most of his friends have been moved to the next classroom up.  My husband called to say that, when he dropped Punkie off this morning, there were three new, smaller babies in his room and they were all freaking out.  Poor Punkie looked concerned, he said.

Punkie is also working through a teacher change.  His room has two teachers, a lead teacher and a second teacher.  His second teacher really loves Punkie – she dotes on him and carries him around a lot.  Well, that second teacher was promoted to be the lead teacher in another room.  This is probably tough for him in the moment, but she’s now the lead teacher in the next room up (where all his friends are now), so Punkie will see her again in a few months when they move him up.

Our understanding is that Punkie will also be moved up when he is 12 months old, or sooner if he starts walking, provided there is space in that room.  I feel like, even though he’s not quite 9 months old yet, we should start working on the walking so he can rejoin all of his friends sooner.  I worry that, since the new babies are quite young, they’ll require more attention and care, and Punkie will get less.  Also, he enjoyed watching the older babies and learning the things they could do.  I’m concerned that he will be bored.  I don’t know if babies get bored like that, but I suppose we’re going to find out very soon.

Working Hard

Punkie has been working hard.  He can now pull himself up and stand while holding onto something.  He can also clap, give me five, and (sometimes) wave.

Punkie can say MaMa and DaDa, but he says MaMa when he’s with my husband and DaDa when he’s with me.  I guess he’s either just making random noises or he’s a “grass is always greener” kind of guy.

What I love most about all of this is how hard he works at doing these things.  He tries and fails over and over until he gets it right, and his look of concentration is adorable – he sucks his bottom lip in and wrinkles his forehead.

Punkie is also going through a little separation anxiety.  He wants me to sit next to him and will cry if I walk away, but he doesn’t want me to hold him.  He just wants me in his line of sight, I think.

I really enjoyed spending the long weekend with Punkie and seeing him work through all of these things in real time.  I really miss him this morning, now that I’m back at work and he’s back at day care.


Food Obsession

food redacted

I’m starting to worry about Punkie and his apparent obsession with getting solid food.  The older babies at day care sit down for solid food three times a day – morning, noon, and late afternoon.  Punkie gets finger food one time per day – usually fruit, Cheerios, and/or puffs.

Some of the older babies are mature enough to sit at a short baby-sized table, rather than in high chairs.  Punkie is not one of the babies at the table – he’s only 8 1/2 months old and not ready for that.  The “older” babies are closer to 12 months old.

But I’m told that he now crawls over, pulls himself up into a standing position next to the table, and STEALS FOOD from the other babies.

Really?  I honestly don’t know how to work through this one.  I can’t talk to Punkie about it, obviously – he’s 8 1/2 months old.  Day care is pressuring me to allow them to feed him solid food three times a day, but our pediatrician advised that we shouldn’t increase solid food until he’s 9 months old because an increase in solid food means a decrease in milk and milk should be his main source of nutrition at this age.

At home, he isn’t ravenous and he doesn’t try to steal food.  He doesn’t even complain when we’re a little bit late with his bottle.

And I’m wondering – does this mean that he’s overly susceptible to peer pressure?

I guess we’ll just have to work through it until I can talk to his pediatrician about his diet.


First Halloween

halloween 3

This coming Halloween will be Punkie’s first . . . and I’ve been really looking forward to it.  I mean, I’ve been looking forward to it A LOT.  I already have two costumes picked out for him, both of which we now own – a R2D2 outfit for day care (without embellishments that will impede his movement or the teachers’ schedule) and an adorable plush monkey outfit for trick-or-treating.

However.  The key word here is “however.”

However, I cannot take Punkie trick-or-treating this year.  And I’m feeling angry and disappointed about it.

My anger is so selfish because my sister and her fiance have set their wedding date for October 31 at 3PM (in a cemetery), and I should be happy for them.  And I really am.  But I’m so disappointed.  And I feel angry about it.

My sister has had zero interest in her nephew.  She’s seen him 3 times in the EIGHT MONTHS since he was born, and two of those times were at family gatherings she would have gone to regardless.  The first time was at the hospital.  The facts that (A) this is her one and only nephew/niece, (B) she doesn’t have kids of her own yet, and (C) she waited in the lobby for his birth with the rest of the family all led me to assume that she was excited about her nephew.  But it’s clear now that she doesn’t give a shit about him.  Or me.  Or my husband.

I never did tell her how excited I was about Punkie’s first Halloween.  I rarely see her and it never came up.  And then she scheduled her wedding for that day.  I guess it didn’t occur to her.

It’s her day and I am happy for her.  But I’m going to miss Punkie’s first Halloween.  I don’t know if I’ll even be able to spend the evening with Punkie at all – we don’t know if kids are invited and it’s not like she has a special affinity for this particular kid.

At least I have the day care costume, even though I won’t be with him while he’s celebrating.