Mirror: Why are you smiling?
She: “What else can you do; but smile, and pretend to be in total control of the situation?
Mirror: What situation?
She: When you arrive at a meeting where you are supposed to share your comments and your boss’s comments on a document (a boss who refuses to do any corrections on the digital version and prefers to do them by hand on paper print outs) and you discover that the extra weight of your hand bag was not the document with handwritten squiggly notes, but your toddler’s favorite book with hand-drawn squiggly lines, wipes and extra diapers.”
Mirror: So, how do you take control of the situation?
She: You just acknowledge it to yourself and say it to the world. I am a Momyer.
Mirror: A Momyer? What is that? A new religion…
She: You can call it that except that there is no priest, rabbi, pastor or sensei.
Mirror: A new species…
She: You can call it that except that there is no Darwin who discovered us.
Mirror: You discovered yourself?
She: We all sort of discover ourselves. Or rather as they say, some are born into greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them. I am not trying to be playful with words, but we are sort of in the second category. We stumble into this state or condition and then it is up to us to discover if we can be great or if we are okay with just doing good. For this is not just about me and my friends this is about every woman who straddles the world of work, mom-hood and womanhood.
Mirror: You are “every-woman.” Is that what you are saying?
She: Yes, I am. But I also wanted to feel special. Therefore, in the absence of a religious leader or a scientist to name and label us, I have christened myself as a “Momyer” (Mom + Lawyer).
And I am sure there are many of my kind out there – some may be Momger (Mom + Manager); and some Momtor (Mom + Doctor). But whatever they are called, they are out there in the world, juggling memos and mobile phones; and hopefully not using the memo as a diaper.
Mirror: And what is that piece of cloth on the chair next to you? It looks like you have carried your laundry to the office?
Momyer: This is what I meant when I said earlier that the only thing I could do in the situation was smile and pretend I was in control. What excuse could I think of when my boss asked me why I was drying my kids’ diapers and pants on a chair next to my office window at 10 a.m. on a Monday? The only thing I could do was give up my hang-ups of being a top-shot manager and tell the truth to the amused/disgusted partner of a major law firm: “we had a bit of an accident on the way to day care and this is the only place I can dry this before I pick her up.”
Mirror: The truth, huh? I know something about that…
She: Yes, the truth. And I, a mother and a lawyer – a Momyer – do solemnly pledge to write OUR stories – from the everyday troubles at home to the daily transactions in the office, the travels of the job as a professional lawyer and a manager to the triumphs and battles as a young mother; the journey of a Momyer with the million other things they juggle in between.
And now dear Mirror may I turn away from the wall and talk to my co-travelers.
She on a soap-box: Despite all our cynicism in post-post-post-everything world, there is still something magical about the first time. Like the first time I heard the heart of my little girl thumping at warp speed; like the first time I got a great assignment from my law firm; like the first time my Momyer essays find their way to the virtual hands of many women and men.
Starting a new project is always exhilarating and scary. Ask, any woman pregnant for the first time and she will agree. Any new project requires an idea, time and most of all the will to get it started. For me, just like applying for a new job or finding out that I was pregnant, beginning a column has been a true adventure. In all cases I go in with an idea of how things will look, where they are headed and how they might play out.
Truth is that, in all circumstances things go the way they are supposed to go and, most likely, they look very little like what one pictured.
Take pregnancy for example, it is all joy and happiness when you find out you got pregnant, you fantasize about the bump, the baby, and all things that come along. You have a few blissful weeks and then you get up at 6 a.m., run for the bathroom and feel like you either caught a stomach bug or have the worst hang over ever. This routine of running to the bathroom repeats every day, despite any saltines, ginger or meditation to try to control nausea caused by your little peanut, for over a month (if you are lucky) or two and gives you a crude taste of reality…oh yes your life has changed.
For a new job, you wear your most formal, serious looking clothes, take out the good bag and prepare your resume, your intelligent questions about the place, make the background checks on the “big kahunas” and show to the interview panel that you are willing to give everything you have for the job. You are fierce. You answer all questions and casually mention that you can work into the night on just one diet coke and that your profession is number one priority. Then, a week or two go by and, sure enough, you land the big transaction. You plunge into it with the determination of a cheetah chasing breakfast and a few days into it, deprived of sleep, surviving on late night pizza, bagels or any other carb loaded crappy food, you realize that the whole “I’m a big deal now” comes at quite a price and that the charming, smiling boss has a split personality – a modern day pill-popping avatar of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Writing for any audience is very much the same as the pregnancy or the new job. You dive into it with full commitment and happy to share your thoughts, but you are not quite sure who you are talking to. Perhaps it is someone just like you, a mother and professional who is crazy enough to take on one more activity. Perhaps it is just a woman who needs to laugh about someone else’s adventures and misfortunes, even if they don’t completely relate to the situations. Perhaps you are bored and bumped into someone’s blog or perhaps you are a man who gets a kick out of reading about the “secret” world of women. But regardless of the reason why you may be reading these lines, I hope you’ll stick around to discover a bit more about this unique breed of Momyers who despite all their attempts at differentiating from each other through their make-up, shoes and jewelry often share the same passions, get into the same troubles and get together to laugh about it all.
But most of all, this makes me happy not because it is the first time but because I just may have created something good. And that is exactly what I want to do for my company (or my job) and more so with the way I raise my baby. Create something good!
© Paola Sanchez, 2013