At least once a week, someone tells me how lucky I am to work from home. The declaration usually comes from a mom who has to juggle everything I do (childcare, household duties, a partner and herself) plus a full-time job. In the face of such a situation, what can I do but thank them and agree that, yes, I am quite lucky? My daughter’s with me for the most part, so I don’t have to worry about what she’s up to all day at daycare (anymore) and I have a job that’s generally flexible enough for me to work it around her as much as possible. No rush-hour traffic, no crazy boss, no work clothes! Yay! On the other hand, there’s a reason I refer to my daughter as Boss Lady.
The truth is, having decided to be a WAHM (AKA Work At Home Mom), I can only take a job if it’s flexible enough to work around her schedule. This generally means working when she’s sleeping or otherwise occupied.
For example, right now she’s eating cream cheese on toast, so I figured I could steal a few minutes to draft this post. However, in the time it took to write two paragraphs, I’ve already stopped to wipe cream cheese off her fingers at least 4 times (because she’s the kind of kid who demands that her hands be clean of food… while eating food). I also had to drop what I was working on prior to this in order to make the toast (and because she was indicating her need for my full attention by draping herself across my keyboard). In fact, I’m writing this on my phone while prompting her to eat her bread and wiping her hands.
You can imagine what this sort of thing does to the creative process. I’m sure you can also guess how eager I am for nap time (T-minus 45 minutes and counting), when I will frantically attempt to get as much as possible done in two hours (if I’m lucky). Work-at-home afternoons and evenings are much like mornings, with the added fun of bath time. In between, I guiltily use Sesame Street and Hoopla Kids to get the few minutes of peace necessary to reply to emails and answer business calls before putting Boss Lady to bed and really getting down to business.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I do love being a WAHM. It’s awesome to spend my days with my favourite person in the whole world and see her learn and do things that I’d otherwise have to hear about from her daycare or sitter. There’s also the fact that she provides the material for this blog, which probably means I should be cutting her a cheque.
However, when folks tell me how lucky I am to be in this position, I get the impression they picture me tapping away at my keyboard for hours while my happy-to-be-ignored child plays peacefully at my feet. Part of me doesn’t want to disabuse them of this fantasy, as I suspect that it’s what keeps them going when they imagine finally quitting the 9-to-5. On the other hand… Oops. Gotta go, smells like someone made a stinky.
Do you work from home? Tell us how you manage it!
Calisa is the exhausted mother of an energetic, (generally) good-natured and ridiculously sharp toddler whose sole mission in life is obviously to keep mommy on her toes. She spends much of her time reading board books, changing diapers and saying “Ah-ah-ah! Mommy said ‘NO’!” while counting down the hours to bedtime.