Mesq-wire: (mess-quire, /mˈeskwīr/, noun)
- Noun; A title appended to a lawyer’s surname, to indicate said lawyer is a hot mess
- Noun; A blog chronicling the observations and thoughts of a hot mess lawyer
The irony of this blog is that it is authored by someone who does not have time to write, for the benefit and entertainment of those that do not have time to read. But, I’m writing and you’re reading, so here we go.
I am a partner in an AmLaw 100 firm. I won’t tell you which one, and it doesn’t matter. The point is, I have a high-pressure and high-profile career: it’s not what I do for a living, but that I do for a living. The fact that I am a lawyer means I get a lot of special letters after my name, and watch my work life tick by in six-minute increments.
I am the mother of two boys, one that is four years old and one that is two
three weeks three months old. The latter is the reason I’ve finally found the time to write – I am home on maternity leave. Of course, it’s already taken me two three weeks three months to write this much, as each time I sit down to write, he’s attached to my right boob and I’m hunt-and-pecking with my (very much non-dominant) left hand. My 4-year old is smarter than me and my three month old repeatedly outsmarts me. As with my job, however, it is not the number of children I’ve delivered, nor their gender, that is significant. The point is, I’m a working mom which essentially means I have two full-time jobs with extraordinarily demanding clients. Make no mistake – my boys are more demanding than any Fortune 500 client involved in bet-the-farm litigation. At 3AM, it’s easier to pacify such a client than a teething toddler or colicky infant.
So many maternity leave mornings find me behaving like my 4-year old at day care drop off: My husband is trying to get out the door while I cling to his leg and beg him to (1) stay (2) take me with him, or (3) trade places so I can go spend time with mature and civilized adults, if only for a day (of course, my husband works for my family’s business so going to work in his place may not find me surrounded by mature and civilized adults, but more on that topic later).
I am what my beloved (late) grandmother would call a “modern woman.” I did not date in college and took a gap year between college and grad school. I got my masters degree and law degree, and started my career, before getting married and starting a family. I got married “late” and by the time I had my kids, “elderly” replaced the medical term “advanced maternal age.” (Because, really, nothing says ‘candidate for Depends‘ like a 35-year-old pregnant lady!) I do everything at home that my mom did to earn her the distinction of “homemaker” at my 2nd grade career day, yet no one in their right mind would suggest I do any “making” of the home – I want to put on my Domestic Goddess tiara when I manage to make a bed. Betty Draper I am not. I don’t prepare meals that take more than 20 minutes or that don’t involve the microwave. I consider a dining table “set” when everyone has something to eat with and eat on. I own an iron and ironing board but only because Bed Bath & Beyond’s wedding registry told me I needed to. My iron and ironing board are used solely to wax snowboards.
While lawyer moms will identify closest with my observations, I do think this blog will resonate with anyone with a family and career, inevitably engaged in the daily struggle to achieve the elusive work-life balance. Every time I hear “work-life balance” a picture pops into my mind of my 4-year-old making me do the seesaw with him at the park. There is no balance – there is me stuck on the ground on the one side and him teetering precariously in the air on the other. Achieving anything close to balance would require me to split myself in half, or move to the middle, where I cannot effectively control either side.
Now, the name. If it’s not obvious, Mesqwire a mashup of “mess” and “esquire.” No, I’m not a total mess, but most days I toe the line. I never know where my keys are or where I parked my car, and my phone battery and gas tank permanently hover around empty. Yet, I can get two kids and a 24oz coffee out of the Wawa with military precision and can make dinner (and fan a smoke alarm) with an infant latched on to me. I’ve left the house for work wearing bedroom slippers, but never without a diaper bag that would survive 10 days in the Andes.
So, balancing work and life. As far as work, I will not go into great detail unless relevant to the topic of a particular post. But the topics that make up the ‘life’ side of the seesaw will range from the serious to the not-so-serious, and everything in between.
I have some pretty strong feelings on things like body image, fertility issues, loss, OCDs/ICDs and addiction, and child-bearing and child rearing. Am I a licensed psychologist? No. Do I have a PhD? Well, no. My “authority” and “expertise” to write about these subjects comes solely from experience and firsthand observation. Many posts will be amusing, but a number will also (I hope) be thought-provoking and helpful. Above all, I hope you can identify with the posts and think to yourself, “Ohmigod Yes! Me too!”