The Road Taken

Today I did not write a summary judgment motion. I did not teach a college course. I did not give calm and kind counsel to ten women taking their first steps to extricate themselves from domestic violence.

What I did today was: make pomegranate jelly. It took the better part of the day – the most productive part of the day. And really, I should include the time to juice those suckers – so two hours of a previous day gets added in as well. And what I have to show for it is: 8 jars of jelly. It’s fairly tasty and the product of our backyard tree – genuine product of Nerdhaven Farms. But still . . . is this all there is?

As I was . . . jelling (i.e., stirring, jell testing, failing jell test, stirring, repeat until loco), I thought of a friend of mine – a law school classmate. He was loving his work as a litigator, even starting his own firm. We had an ongoing conversation about work/life balance. Him having, um, none; and me desperately seeking more – litigation and marriage/parenting being diametrically opposing missions.

I remember him saying how it made no sense for him to do housework, cooking, errands, or whatever, because his time was better spent working, where he earned money to pay people to do those things for him and still came out with a sizable profit. I was repulsed when I tried to imagine living my life that way. I felt he was paying someone to live his life for him.

I wanted to be involved in my whole life – like putting my own damn laundry away. At least I would know where my clothes were and I wouldn’t put my sweater – the favorite one that my husband brought me back from Iceland – in the dryer (have I had experiences with house cleaners? Yes.) I wanted to approach my life from a participant’s standpoint, not from a supervisor’s standpoint. No surprise then that I left that firm and took a few years of Mom-time with my then toddler.

Now several years later, I chose the Mom road again and I am very pleased about it. I know what stuff I have and where it is (for the most part) and how to clean it. That’s not to say I don’t look back: let’s take a moment to acknowledge this housewife business can be totally tedious. But as I think about it, there is very little more tedious (sometimes) than lawyering.

What I am glad about now is I am dealing with the simple, daily consequences of my family’s life. We wear clothes. I wash them. We make messes. I clean them. We own things. I take care of them. We (well, one of us) eats a PBJ almost daily. I make pomegranate jelly. And, because I am my own damn supervisor, I also make chocolate chip cookies just cuz I feel like it:


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