Saturday, May 31, 2008
The worst was when I had to wait TWO and a HALF hours to see my doctor on Tuesday morning for approximately 5 mins to confirm - nothing was "cooking". Let's just say I didn't impress that waiting room with my tears. All I could think was - I'm not working and I'm not sleeping so I am just falling behind in both.
I'm definitely not working on another bid during this pregnancy but as usual this brings back Big Firm concerns. I really like my job - the work is so interesting and I'm senior enough that I get to be involved in counseling clients and making these big deal names happen. I just don't want to have to counsel them at 2 am - regardless of the amount my Firm bills me at.
I ran into a tax partner (who doesn't realize we've spoken several times but I don't hold it against her) who noticed the "babies' bump" and said that I should talk to people at the firm as to how they make it work. To be honest there is only one woman who I would consider having a good balance in my group - the other 2 with kids never see them. And I think the partner who sees her kids can do so because she does lending work for some nice clients and bankruptcy work which has an easier timetable (usually). Right now people are sympathetic about the pregnancy and want me to get rest (like it is an "illness") but when I really need support is after they are born.
I need to strategize how to approach the firm and my department about the kids and my need to spend time with them. It would be easier if I weren't a deal attorney but I thrive on the deals - I could never make myself like the investment management or any other regulatory work. Apparently they are rolling out some new study and initiative for women - but when! As an aside I also heard my Firm will be announcing 18 weeks paid maternity which is incredible (and matches us to the other Big Firms out there).
I'll be meeting with our "career counselor" this week so I'll let you know what she says. As a people-pleaser it is really hard for me to have these conversations. It's like how every review (mine is next week) I mention how we have zero training to be managers for associates. When I have trouble with a junior associate I just avoid working with him/her instead of confronting him/her about the problems. I figure with so many that won't last a year or two what is the point? Terrible attitude.
I'm looking for help on things to think about, questions to ask and ways to approach this juggle of working at a Big Firm and raising my kids. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!
Friday, May 30, 2008
Holy crap! Wife and I were just sitting on the couch eating a perfectly grilled porterhouse and watching Walk Hard. (Stellar movie BTW.) She made me feel her stomach again, and I totally felt Girlbaby kicking. Or throwing an elbow, or something. I think she's going to be perfect for GLOW, if they ever bring that back.
Sadly, Boybaby seems like a puny weakling. Maybe he can go into marketing, or something.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Just in case you've been wondering where the heck Mommy, Esq. has been, she's been busy Esq.ing. I think she's had about 10 hours off since 8am Saturday...3 of which were spent waiting to see Dr. Whatscookin yesterday (routine and all's well, no worries). Dr. W reassured her: "Yeah, it's fine for the kiddies if you work long hours--they're basically sleeping the whole time anyway." Wife's response: "The hell with them--when do I get to sleep?" (I paraphrase, but you get the gist.)
With any luck, her deal will close as (re)scheduled on Friday, and she'll be able to sleep this weekend.
She needs it. She's been getting cranky.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Mommy, Esq with Husband - he always looks a little drunk in photos even when he isn't. He is wearing a Guayabera shirt in this photo (he loves looking like a 60 year old man from Miami). We are at Roy's, one of our favorite restaurant chains that originated in Hawaii (there still aren't many on the mainland):
Mommy, Esq with her two sisters. I swear I only wore that Baby (why don't they make it in plural?) shirt 2x the whole trip but it happened to be when we took the most photos. I know I look a LOT like my sister Stacey and that is because all three of us are TRIPLETS! We think we are fraternal (Allie definitely is thanks to her pretty blue eyes) but we've never been tested. We are going to keep it that way and assume we are fraternal. After all - who doesn't want their own identity? That is also funny because when we were looking at strollers the woman asked me why I wanted a side-by-side and I said "to be fair" so they can both see. Apparently most moms worry about "turning and maneuverability".
Mimi and Papa on their Rascals - I totally wanted to use one after the 12 hour day at Epcot. There must be a million photos of me sitting down. I needed to sit down a lot. Also in the picture is my brother Andrew and his girlfriend Libby.
Mommy, Esq - working on vacation. Did you expect any less? Don't worry - only a few hours. I was too exhausted from Disney every day to do more than delete junkie emails and respond to important messages.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Baby B is definitely a girl so glad the tag sale items I've bought will be useful (otherwise I have a friend who would have benefited). Baby A's placenta is in the front which is why I probably don't feel him very often. Unfortunately Baby A is VERY close to my cervix (kind of freaky when they did the vaginal ultrasound to see his head - let's just say I think Husband was particularly freaked out by that!). It means another ultrasound in the third trimester but I was going to have one anyway since I'm carrying twins. I'm still not sure I completely understand what a cervix is or what it looks like -but that is what my healthcare providers are for.
The Fellow mumbled something about grams (like I can do math to begin with - I'm a lawyer) and finally conceded that each were about 1 lb. When I think about the tens of lbs I've put on to get them to 1lb each it is frightening.
Later last night there was a NEW DEVELOPMENT. At the bewitching hour of 9 pm I was feeling a lot of activity - even a little from Baby A who I never feel. For some reason they are always way more active after I see the doctor - and this doctor was very gentle with the ultrasound probe (wand?). So I was holding on to my tummy and I FELT BABY B KICK. Seriously - it could feel it on my palm instead of just on the inside. Of course all excited I asked Husband to put his hand on my tummy but he got all impatient. So I lay against him and insisted he practice some patience and just leave his hand there. Eventually without my saying "do you feel it" he felt her once (or at least he says he thinks he did and it totally coincided with me feeling her). Very cool. But also very distracting - I couldn't follow the TV show we were watching. In case you are interested - Dr. Who and he needs to save London/The World again from an alien race.
Does it get less distracting once the novelty wears off? I was wondering how I'm going to concentrate on work with all her little kicks. And man, she is a kicker - I'm a little frightened what it will feel like when she is bigger. Apparently Husband was one as a fetus too - people could see MIL's shirt moving up and down with his kicks. It did not result in any athletic development.
Friday, May 23, 2008
The waiting room is very large and all the pregnant ladies eye each other. Are you there alone? How pregnant do you look? I like to make up little stories about each person. My favorite is when they don't look pregnant and are there with their husbands - probably coming in for first ultrasound. Then there are the harried moms with their 2 or 3 year olds in tow sans spouse. I ran into someone I know there (she also works at Big Firm and her husband is in my "class" at the Firm) and I've seen good friends run into each other and squeal about the other being pregnant (probably well before the "okay to tell" 12 weeks). Everyone always looks a little bored and a little nervous. After all - you never know what news you'll get. Once I've gotten another glimpse at my kiddies by ultrasound we'll give you an update - especially to confirm if B is a girl.
Just to give everyone some perspective on the baby nurse: 6 weeks is way, way less than I really wanted.
My original plan was to outsource/offshore the entire child-rearing operation. Find a family in India that would be willing to raise our kid alongside theirs until he's ready for college, in return for reasonable expenses plus fees. We would save money, avoid the hassle of raising the kid, and possibly have superior results--at the very least, the kid would gain some valuable language skills, and hopefully wind up with a better cultural outlook than if he were raised in the US.
Twins raised lots of interesting new options: we could actually run an A/B test to see how offshoring worked relative to raising at home, or we could test one offshoring provider against another (India vs. Ukraine, Philippines, or Costa Rica, e.g.).
I might be no Frank Gilbreth when it comes to applying management principles to family life, but surely I could at least get one book/movie deal out of this.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I mentioned a while ago that Husband has been talking about wanting to get someone in to help us (and more importantly, teach us) after the tykes are born. Through someone he used to work with we heard about Marlene - who I mentally call the "Baby Whisperer". Being open with my plans I of course polled lots of people on their thoughts. It is funny how strongly people feel about the topic (and feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section). My sister Allie thinks it is a waste of money; my mom is okay but probably thinks this is supposed to be her role; Husband's parents don't like to judge about anything so they haven't weighed in. I like to do my diligence and so I asked Marlene for references and called some of them.
Both women I spoke with couldn't say enough positive things about how Marlene helped them get their kids on a schedule quickly and taught them so much about how to take care of infants (one was a mom of B/G twins). The overall message was - if you are looking for paid help she is worth every penny. Below are my primary concerns:
- Cost. I won't share it on this blog but if you want to know how much someone like Marlene costs let's just say it is per day fee and in the hundreds. If you want more info email me at email@example.com. Since I get billed out per hour in the hundreds at my job I shouldn't be shocked but I still am. When it came to the cost issue Husband pointed out that we have been saving for many years and what is the point of saving if not to spend it for things that will be useful to you when you need it. It's not like we buy lots of clothes or other items - our biggest expense has been lots of meals out because of our job but obviously that won't be possible for a while.
- Live-in help. Feels like "Sliver Spoons" or "Benson" (have I dated myself?) to have someone living with you. Our house per typical New England is not big but we do have a second bath (that will be used by the kids) and a guest room. Both references I spoke to were in complete agreement that this was their biggest concern and it turned out to be no problem. If you ask for some time without Marlene she'll give it to you - she is self sufficient and loves to be on her laptop or talking to friends. I also heard she has a big personality so I'll have to be good asking for time for myself.
- Images of Husband. I will admit that I have been mentally thinking about Husband and I working together to take care of the kids - bathtime, etc. But realistically Husband will take instruction must better from Marlene than he would from me (or my mom). And I know how stressful this time can be - I hope this will help us from snipping at each other. One of the references said she thought it really decreased tension with her husband.
- Offending Moms. I'm sure my mom would like to think she can "teach" me what I need to know but honestly I have a hard time taking her advice ever. Husband's mom is great and would show me a lot but I can't expect her to be there for a long time and I'd feel guilty about having her up at night, etc. She'll be supportive of whatever we decide to do - even if it seems like yuppy New England craziness to her.
So we went for it and hired Marlene for 6 weeks. She does a minimum of a month so initially that is what I was going to ask for but Husband thoughtfully pointed out that it wouldn't be fair to lose the Baby Whisper and Husband at the same time - he goes back to work after a month. Then I'll try to line up some family (like lovely sisters) to come and help out for a few days each.
I'm interested in what others thing about our plans, what you did for help, etc. The more controversy the merrier. Maybe I can even get my grandmother to post a comment about how things were in "her day".
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
I have spent most of Sunday working. To be honest that has been my MO all these years - 6 days of work with Friday evening and all day Saturday to spend time for myself and Husband. It is not a good habit to be in but it is so hard to get all the work I need to done in 5 days - especially with any late night hours impinging on my much needed sleep.
On Friday I was assigned to a new multibillion dollar bid. I do financing work - some for lenders but mostly for leverage buyouts. I was very clear that I only had some time next week to help out but of course it doesn't matter - what needs to get done will get done, my need for sleep be damned. I talk a big game about setting boundaries and pushing back but it just never works out that way despite my best intentions. It is leading me to understand why women don't stay on at Big Firms. I don't know that I can do this when I come back. Right now I have the threat of medical issues (can't stay up late because don't want to end up on bed rest) but that won't work when I get back after my maternity leave.
If find the work very challenging and satisfying and I enjoy the perks (salary, etc.) that go along with life at a Big Firm but can't stick Husband with baby care every night. Men succeed because they have wives at home (with rare exceptions) who deal with all the home challenges - and many of those result in divorce anyway as resentment grows. We won't have a stay at home wife/mom to help us out - although Husband would really like a 2nd wife in that role.
I want to be able to make it work but I have serious concerns - and this is even before going on maternity leave! Staying home is not an option given the costs in the Boston metro area and the fact I really don't want to be a stay at home mom. Whatever I decide to do will be well documented on this blog - and I can say for certain I don't think winning the lottery is in my future.
Big Firm has a "career manager" and I am going to talk to her. I know I am not the only woman who has these concerns and I know the Firm wants to come up with some options so I want to know what those options are. Now I just need to find time to talk to her!
One other humorous item - the head of the financing group asked if I would write a recommendation for myself for some award relating to "rising stars" in the legal community. I read the requirements and "civic accomplishments" were a big part of it. While I think it was nice for him to think of me how in the heck do people have time for "civic accomplishments" when they work 80 hours a week and try to see family/friends?
Friday, May 16, 2008
In honor of Angelina I thought I'd mention a few comments I hear pretty much every day when someone learns I am having twins. I don't normally announce the times two factor but if someone asks if I know the sexes it always comes out.
- "Wow, a boy and a girl - that's great. Now you're done!" Quite a presumption. After all my mom had 4 kids - what if I wanted more? It was interesting to see however at my first Mom of Twins meeting a few weeks ago that while there were twin moms with older children none had gone on to have more children.
- "How are you going to do it?" A question every mom (expectant or otherwise) would like to know the answer to! This question just reminds me how unprepared and out of control I feel about becoming a mom. I was impressed when my sister Allie became a mom (and I cried when she called me and said "I'm a mom now" after my nephew was born) and seemed to take it in stride. Every now and again though she tells me a story about how she feels like a crazy mom and I feel better.
- "Does it run in your family" or "are they natural"? I never realized how rude this question was until I started exploring fertility treatments. All my life people have asked that of me since I'm a multiple and of course the answer was yes because I predate fertility treatments. Does it really matter if the kids were conceived by fertility treatments or without? Husband says that I should answer "well, they aren't aliens". I actually conceived on Clomid but it doesn't increase your chances that much - IVF is much more likely to result in twins. But really, it doesn't matter. I have many friends struggling to conceive (I blame our crazy work schedules) and I'd be thrilled for them no matter what steps they needed to take. I actually enjoy when the various stars announce they are having kids via surrogacy. Good for them - stop making people feel they have to hide or that they are somehow less of a "woman/mom" because they used fertility treatments.
- Other areas of interest that are too personal beyond the friend realm: "Will you have a "natural birth"?" "Will you breastfeed?" I'm pretty open though so I usually tell them what I hope to do. Soon I'll blog about my birth plan but I'm still mulling things over.
- "You're so lucky. I've always wanted twins." To be honest this one bothers me less because secretly I agree. I am a triplet and very close to my sisters and I wanted that for my children too if possible. It's probably good I'm having a boy and a girl because otherwise I would expect the girls to be BFFs forgetting the years of squabbling I had with my sisters.
To any moms out there - currently pregnant or otherwise - what questions did you get that drove you crazy?
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I got the registration renewal notice for the Honda from the RMV today--the tags expire at the end of June. At $41 for a renewal, we can't afford NOT to get a new car.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Since I work late it would be good if the kids were awake so I could see them but since they need 12 hours of sleep as they grow it may wreak havoc on their possible school schedule. Of course this is many (many) months down the road but I've been polling women in my office about how they manage to spend time with their kids. Some set aside morning time (which I am hoping to do) and others make it home for dinner/bath/bed and log back on to work emails/documents after. The problem is you can't really say no if a client expects something to be done at night so it is chancy whether you make it home to see them at all. If any of my readers have kids and could offer some thoughts on how to spend time with them amidst a crazy work schedule I'd appreciate the input even though I'm sure nothing will go as planned.
Also, in response to dear Husband's post below - I have many practical reasons for wanting a minivan although I never thought I would want one. Our house has a small driveway with a retaining wall on each side and getting the carriers and other baby stuff in and out would be easier with sliding doors. Husband will learn to love it. It was funny because we have been discussing this topic for a few weeks and one of my favorite Mom of Multiples sites blogged about it recently. We are going car preview shopping this weekend and will update our respective views on car choices.
I was leaning toward keeping our current cars. They're certainly nothing fancy--an 02 Honda Accord and an 03 Hyundai Elantra, but they work fine and they're paid for. But then the Honda's battery died yesterday--I had to get a jump from my boss to make it home from work. So now, do we spend $100 on a new battery for a car that has recently severely inconvenienced me, or just trade it in?
Yeah, probably time for a new car, when you put it that way.
I'm leaning toward a mid-size crossover--maybe the Toyota Highlander:
We rented one in Florida last week, and I actually liked it a lot. And that was the older generation.
Wife Esq. wants a minivan. To which my response is not only no, but hell no. Unless I'm never, ever expected to drive a car with the kids in it. (This seems unlikely. I always drive.) She likes the Toyota Sienna, but I think the only tolerable minivan would be the Honda Odyssey, based largely on this Car and Driver review, which calls it "practically fun," and the best-handling minivan out there.
You probably noticed the Asian-import bias to our consideration set. Let me say that until recently I worked on marketing for GM, and I actually do like their Lambda crossovers quite a bit, especially the Buick Enclave:
Unfortunately for both us and for GM, GM finds it basically impossible to offer competitive lease rates. (The depreciation kills them.) So it's probably back to the Asians for us.
Unless Wife Esq. lets me get the car I really want, to complement her minivan:
So, readers, any opinions? Especially interested in hearing from folks with kids of their own, or anyone who's in favor of the 1-Series.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I saw my doctor again today and he asked about five times - "What's cooking?" which he does every time. To be honest I'd rather have more direct questions like - any new symptoms, any concerns you are feeling, etc. Instead I have to be brave enough to plunge forward if I did have any - which usually isn't an issue but I feel like most people automatically "trust" doctors and have a hard time bringing up issues, questions or concerns. Does anyone else feel more trepidation approaching their doctor than their boss?
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
In some ways it was good to be busy to push it away for a while but I have no doubt if a few days later I had been fired I would have had the same reaction. It is also a lesson as to why you should keep your pregnancy under wraps for as long as you can and not to share too much of your personal life with your supervising attorneys. As an associate at a Big Firm it can be hard because you are so tired and need to get a break for sleep. I ended up telling the female partner who worked on a big deal with my during my first trimester so she could handle emails after midnight. Of which there were many. I was truly fortunate that I had no symptoms during my first trimester other than wanting to make sure I got some rest so to keep the tykes growing.
I doubt this woman was fired for her desire to be pregnant, it was probably for the earlier firm-related reasons she mentioned. I do think Big Firms are terrible at managing, especially the aspect of layoffs or firings for cause (poor performances). Everyone wants "more transparency" but you are dealing with people who hedge and caution for a living so it can make them less than forthright.
What do you think about this story? Are women at Big Firms at a disadvantage for their desires to have children?
Friday, May 2, 2008
Thursday, May 1, 2008
On the cover, the lead story's title is "8 Ways to Make a Million," next to a picture of a good-looking 40-ish blonde. Under the that title, a summary of the article:
"Julie Aigner-Clark turned a home video into a million-dollar business."
Almost did a spit-take with my Scotch. (Admit it...it was what you were thinking, too.)
Sadly, it's just about something called Baby Einstein, so not really relevant to me.
A lot of my posts will probably involve our finances. These seemed to be in really good shape, until...oh, about 20 weeks ago. Now, I fully expect to lead a miserable life of privation, picking half-eaten tacos out of the trash and bumming warm 40s from...well, bums. I really had no idea what these baby things cost, going in.
Now I'm looking for ways to make ends meet. My best idea so far has been selling naming rights for the tykes. And beyond that--promotional and naming rights for specific baby-related activities and events. Perhaps...
"The Pontiac Game Changing Diaper Change"
"The New Balance First Step of Baby X"
"Baby Vomit, brought to you by color safe, all-temperature Cheer."
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Lots more ideas where these came from.
Oh, and don't get me wrong. If you just want me to name the babies after you, we can do that. But if you want exclusivity, it will cost you.
Please make your offers in the comments.