Many mothers re-enter the workforce once their children start going to school. For some, there's a date circled on the family calendar to indicate that they're starting a steady job, at a workplace, with set hours. Others work from home, while remaining the primary caregiver to children. The transition back to work may not be as obvious because there's no resume polishing or job interviews or formal start-date at a new office. Here's how I realized that I'd become a Work-From-Home Mom.
1. I do laundry in the middle of the night. There're only so many things that I can accomplish in the daylight.
2. I no longer binge watch the latest Netflix / Amazon / HBO series. I sure love me some House of Cards, but sorry Honey, I'm working tonight.
3. I ask myself, "can I do that with the kids home?" about 100 times a day. Trying to figure out what I can do with them around versus the elusive quiet school hours constantly evolves.
4. I've set daily alarms on my cell phone not only for the morning wake-up, but for bus schedules and preschool pick-up. I don't want to forget the kiddos because I'm in the zone on my laptop.
5. I turn down friends for coffee. Friends stop asking me to get coffee.
6. I feel guilty that I'm not doing more at my kids' school. I avoid eye-contact with the PTA moms.
7. I choose to work over any self-pampering or alone time, with maybe the exception of exercise. Buying a new pair of jeans or getting my nails done are now frivolous extras.
8. The care-givers at the gym and grocery store play rooms know me and my kids by name. I know the time limits at each location and push those boundaries to the max.
9. My kids suspect that the screen time I'm allowing is really just a way for me to get more work done.
10. Breakfast and lunch are mostly consumed in my car, if at all.
11. Cooking dinner each day becomes a luxury. I attempt to bulk cook for several days at a time, try Plated and Hello Fresh, and order a lot of take-out. My husband loses weight inadvertently.
12. I ask myself if it's easier to go back to an office with set hours because then I could justify regularly scheduled child care, receive a regular paycheck, and have more adult-interaction. I'm sacrificing a lot for flexibility and the ability to be my own boss.
13. My co-workers are the random strangers on their own laptops at Starbucks on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:30 to 12:30.
14. I secretly curse at the preschool for not offering more hours for 4-year-olds. I curse at the preschool for having an in-service day. I curse at the preschool for celebrating holidays. I curse at the preschool for asking my help for yet another classroom party or field trip. I then feel guilty about it because she'll only be four once.
15. I accept help from my parents to watch my kids under any circumstance. "You just had an operation a few weeks ago, no problem... Sure, you can take her to library class for an hour. Just call me there's a problem. I can be there in a minute."
16. I ask famous super-mommies for encouragement telepathically, such as Sheryl Sandberg and J.K. Rowling. If only they knew.
17. I hide from household chores. I purposefully lock myself in my bedroom to work because otherwise the dirty dishes or stack of unpaid bills or pile of LEGO on the floor would distract me.
18. My husband actually started doing more (something) around the house. Amazing. I'd forgotten that he'd the ability to take out the garbage.
19. Sadly, I can't remember the last time that I watched my daughter through the window at dance class because I was on my laptop instead. Good thing they have the live video streaming into the waiting room television.
20. I realized that having it all is a dirty, rotten misnomer and blatant lie. It's not a news flash that juggling everything is difficult, I know. But, for everyone doing it, I applaud you. For moms who write, for moms who work, for moms who parent, for moms who take care of their own parents, for moms whose husbands work their own crazy schedules, for single moms, and for dads at home, I get it.
Good luck if you are transitioning from staying at home to working at home.