According to Wikipedia, the white flag is an internationally recognized sign of truce or ceasefire, and request for negotiation. It is also used to symbolize surrender, since it is often the weaker party which requests negotiation.
And thus, the definition is fitting — because here I am, only four months in the life of being a working mommy lawyer at a firm, and I am already waiving the white flag.
I give up.
And there is both relief and self-loathing in my surrender.
First, the self-loathing:
I hate admitting that I couldn’t cut it — that I failed the work/life balance test so absolutely and quickly. My plan was to stick it out at least a year – and try to be a working mommy lawyer at the firm for at least that long, to give myself adjustment time. I work with incredibly strong women, who are also mommies. If they can do it, so can I, dammit! But after working almost every weekend and habitually getting home after 8 p.m. on most days (most of which was self-imposed or self-inflicted because I felt like I had to prove myself or because I failed at setting boundaries), I am now waiving the white flag….
Next Thursday will be my last day at my beloved firm.
Shocked? Yep, me too. Admittedly, logically, it doesn’t make much sense. After all, I’ve put in so much time and have invested a great deal in my career. I did everything “right” – put in both the billable and non-billable hours, contributed to firm committees and have a small book. Being shareholder is roughly 1-2 years away. I love what I do and who I work with. So in running terms, it’s like I’m at mile 20 in the marathon…I can’t quit now. And yet I am. I am DNF (Did Not Finish), and that nagging word “failure” looms overhead.
But as much as I feel like a failure for giving up and becoming a statistic (i.e. failing to add to the low number of minority female shareholders in firms), I also feel a deep sense of relief. Relief that I will no longer harbor such resentment at missing precious time with Baby O, who is now six months. Relief that I can devote more time to nurturing my marriage. Relief from the billable hour, whose burden I did not really feel until being a mom.
Do I know what I’m getting myself into? No, not really. There is the possibility that I may have made the worst decision in my life. But in waiving my white flag, I’m also surrendering control and taking a leap of faith that this door opened for a reason —- and that I am on the right path for my new family, as I renegotiate the terms of what I want my life to look like.
Today, I surrender — in hope that tomorrow, I win. #YOLO