I complained to my Hubby Sunday night about my writer’s block for the mediation brief I blogged about trying to write on Sunday.
His response: “You don’t have The Fear.”
Thoughts of one of my favorite teenybopper flicks, Fear, starring a young Mark Wahlberg and even younger-looking Reese Witherspoon (both pre-stratospheric stardom), came to mind.
Further clarification: “The Fear.”
Maybe he’s referencing Lily Allen’s lyrics lambasting materialism in The Fear? That doesn’t make sense. (But it’s still a great song).
Hubby: “It’s what keeps me going at work all day long. If I’m not good — make that damn good — at what I do everyday, I’ll lose my job. That’s The Fear. And you don’t have it.“
Then he added (in pedagogic tone),
“You should produce your best work product everyday.”
Hearing this instantly ignited my “Aaaahhh!” response. Don’t tell me something I already know.
This is probably the worst part about working part-time and working at all, for that matter, when you have young children.
For part-timers, you have shorter office hours and/or days, so you try to squeeze in as much as you can in as little time possible. As Hubby would say, “Those days are your ‘work days,’ and you just jam it all in during the day and after the kids go to bed at night.” It’s a great plan – in theory.
But running at full steam on the designated work days only works when you’re firing on all cylinders, or at least most of them. When you’re scraping by on only fumes, it’s all you can do to stay awake in front of the computer screen and remember to state your appearance correctly during a Court Call.
It’s not only the lack of sleep, but the lack of focus and motivation that comes with it. In a totally zapped mental state, you are expected to function like Joe and Tom sitting in the offices to your left and right. Not only is this impossible, but it makes you tear your hair out.
Good thing I have an office and am not in a cube , so I can keep my self-reprimanding moments private: “Focus!” or “Stop!” when my mind wanders or “No!” when I reach for my iPhone for a diversionary game of Words with Friends or Memory. (Although, Memory has been getting a lot harder lately).
I know I used to have The Fear, but I don’t think I know what it is anymore – at least in the sense that I used to. In the numb haze my life and mind have become, The Fear doesn’t have the same intensity. And having been blessed with the faults of procrastination and sloth, living without The Fear is virtually not living. No motivation has me drifting aimlessly through day after day.
Maybe subconsciously, I’ve worked to erase The Fear because I want to get laid off. Goodbye handheld device, goodbye Outlook calendar, goodbye billable hour! And goodbye worrying about staying on top of my game when it has become perfectly evident that I’ve slipped. In this fantasy, I am 100% mom, 100% happy.
That’s the key word: fantasy. It’s not just unreal because it’s not my life, but because I can’t fathom the idea of not being a lawyer anymore. As much as I want to be a full-time mom, no work hassles involved, would I be happy as “just” a mom? What would this new identity be like and would I like it? My mind reels with the unanswered questions and worrying about whether I could take that leap when I’ve always thought I would be a career mom, working full-time, setting an example for my kids and conquering the world.
Back to Hubby’s comment: Okay, maybe I don’t have The Fear. But, that’s not to say I’ve completely lost the will to be my best and succeed. Now something else has the power to motivate me to give 100 percent (or as much as I can muster) instead of The Fear. Something I didn’t have before that pushes me to succeed because those two little ones’ very existence depends on me. I don’t need The Fear. I have The Love.
Today’s verdict: Hung jury.