Tuesday, February 11, 2014

and five months later... we have a post

Yeah, so I haven't posted anything since September.

I'll blame it on the start of school, or the holidays, or after school activities... or my job.... or my kids... or my husband...or the laundry.....the never ending piles of, "oh look, I was caught up ten minutes ago and now there is a ANOTHER EVER LOVING PILE OF LAUNDRY sitting in front of my washer."

Right. Blame it on that.

So recently, I read an article on Facebook  from a working dad about his wife, a stay at home mom and how her job is ridiculously hard. 
Yep, we know. 
Just a little bit funny how it takes a man to write an article about a stay at home mom for anyone to acknowledge the fact that it's the HARDEST JOB IN THE WORLD. 
I'm pretty sure moms have been saying it for centuries and it's only just now being shared, and shared again on Facebook with people liking it a thousand times over. Social media, gotta love it. 

And then I read another article or blog post from a working mum to a stay at home mum. And yes, it said 'mum'.  And I'm pretty sure the article wasn't referring to a flower, but a mother.  And of course, after reading the word 'mum', I ended up reading the rest of the article in an English accent in my head.  And not a good English accent.  I don't excel at accents, except my own which was once a New Jersey accent and is now a weird mesh of New Jersey and Connecticut where I don't know if I should say the name Shannon, like Shaaaaaanon or the way people in Connecticut say it... which is way more cute-sy and less Tony Soprano and...well, I can't even phonetically type out what it sounds like. 

Anyway, I digress.   
The working mum was acknowledging how hard the stay at home mum's job was and vice versa.    
Both jobs are equally difficult.  ABSOLUTELY.

I have yet to read an article about the "working from home full time mom".  I'm pretty sure I know why. 
I'M one of those working from home full time moms...and I'm pretty sure there are no blog posts or articles about those women because those women don't have the damn time to brush their teeth, never mind write an article about their job(s). 

So here I am...taking a few moments out of my day(and yes, my teeth are brushed)...to describe the trials and tribulations of the "working from home full time mom". 

I wake up at the butt-crack of dawn. I'm not even sure I would call it dawn, I'm pretty sure it's still the middle of the night.  The rest of my house is still sleeping, although, I often hear my youngest stirring at that time... and that's when I hightail it out of the house to hit the gym...because I'd rather be working out at 5:30 AM than dealing with my still tired, hungry and demanding to be held and fed, 16 month old.  
Mother of the year here.  
 But I workout at 5:30 mostly because that's the only time of the day I can fit it in. 

Work out at 5:30 am, home by 7:00 to 3 children trying to get dressed, pack backpacks, eat breakfast and get out to the bus on time, or as I like to call it - hell on earth.

Let me preface this by saying, I do everything possible the night before to have our stuff together for the morning. I do everything short of insisting that my children sleep in their school clothes and shoes..in order to be ready for the morning.    But, without fail, we end up behind the 8 ball... EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.  

This morning... everyone was ready. Ready EARLY and then I remembered it was Tuesday.  One of the twins' share day.  Today she had to bring in something to represent the 100th day of school. She had to bring one hundred somethings to represent the 100th day of school.  Awesome. 
100 pennies.
Down to the wire, 100 pennies counted and in a plastic bag and running out the door to catch the bus.  

Three kids out the door, turn back to see what's left of my kitchen... dishes next to the sink, dishes in the sink, milk and juice out on the counter, coffee cups, and cereal boxes - oh, and there's my toddler, with all of his sisters' toothbrushes in his mouth.... oh, and I still haven't showered.  
I have exactly forty-five minutes to get showered and dressed and try to clean up the kitchen in order to log onto my computer for 9 am. 

Now, normally, I'd have a sitter to help with my toddler, but my sitter went and found a new, REAL job and I'm left holding the bag.  So because I'm the work from home mom, that falls under one of my job responsibilities...to find a new sitter AND care for the kid until we find the new sitter, while working from home.  Excellent. 

9 am, log into work... kitchen is now semi-clean... also managed to throw in a load of wash, I mean, I'm home.. might as well at least WASH the clothes(folding is another story)... Sit down to work...and fire off a few emails while fending off little hands that are reaching for my keyboard and my phone. 
Second cup of coffee, thanks. 

There are things that fall under my responsibility because I'm the work from home mom, they are including, but not limited to the following: Sick kids, doctors appointments, kids being sent home from school with some sort of illness(real or not), answering the door and being available for any sort of repair man, starting dinner, snow days when all the kids are home, after school activities, teachers conferences, school concerts, presentations, teas and other school events that school administrators think are a good idea to schedule for the middle of the day, because, you know... no parents work or anything.   And these things are my responsibility not because my husband is some tyrant and refuses to share the workload, but because logistically, it makes sense. I'm here. And he's in an office 45 minutes away. 

NOW...I can hear some of you saying, "You don't HAVE to work from home. You could put your baby in daycare, your kids in before school care, and head to an office all day."  
And yes, that is true. 100% true. 

I was laid off this past summer and I refused to take a new job in an office. I only wanted to work from home. Why? Because I get to be the one to get my kids on the bus, off the bus, pick them up from school when they're sick and attend their school concerts and teas.   Call me crazy, but I like having it all. 
I like making money and working, but I also like, you know, actually SEEING my kids. 

But with that comes the insane juggling act of doing it all. AT THE SAME TIME.
Conference calls on snow days include wildly flailing limbs and muting my phone to yell at my kids to be quiet and watch the movie I put on...and to also keep their brother from eating the rainbow loom rubber bands. 
My days seem endless.  
They start before dawn and end way past what a bedtime should be for someone who gets up before dawn.  
What work I don't get done during the day, I do at night. 

Most days I feel like I survive by the skin of my teeth... especially now without a sitter... (please God, let me find a good sitter)  And every day, 4 pm rolls around(Bus drop off time) and my anxiety level kicks in. Because now it's a circus act until bedtime.... after school activities, homework, snacks, baths, dinner, refereeing arguments... all while still being accountable for work. Oh yeah, WORK! 

When I tell people I work from home... their response is usually, 
"Wow... that's really awesome. You're so lucky!"
And I know I am. I am SO fortunate to be able to BE HERE(and the working in sweats isn't a bad gig either). 
HOWEVER, being here also has another side to it. It has the making the dinner, loading the dishwasher, throwing in the wash, side to it... BECAUSE I'm here.  There's that "doing it all' side that you can't shut off. 

And yes, there are days I'd like to actually leave my house and see other adults and maybe, ya know, LOOK nice?  Most days I look and feel frazzled and tired. I'm really tired. 

And there's this ever present feeling I have of not being able to do anything at 100%.  Like I'm not excelling at any one thing.  Because I'm not 100% a stay at home mom...and I'm not 100% (although full time) a work from home employee... My dinners aren't exceptionally delicious, my house isn't spectacularly clean, my attention is never 100% focused on any one thing...because there are always a zillion things going on in my house...and in my head.  So while I'm having my cake and eating it too(I'm not sure this is the right analogy describing this)... I'm not doing any of it well or really enjoying any of it - mostly because I'm just trying to survive. (Much like the first year after my twins were born). 

So what's my point? 

My point is...

ALL mothers make sacrifices. ALL mothers are struggling on some level. 
No ONE has the perfect situation all the time. 

And the grass is ALWAYS greener in your neighbor's yard(especially if they're retired and have ALL THE TIME in the world to tend to their yard and flowers and trees) 

ALL mothers -working from home, working in an office, or stay at home moms- want to know that the sacrifices they're making and the juggling, circus acts are worth it. 
That every struggle won't last forever, and every struggle will make us(and our children)stronger and better people. I mean, they will, right?(Please say I'm right)

And I know with absolute certainty that ALL mothers want to feel appreciated, encouraged and to feel like they're doing a good job - especially when they're sure they aren't! 

So for all the mothers out there... whoever you are, wherever you work..... Keep it up.  
Keep on keeping on. 
You're doing a great job! 
And it's ALL worth it. 

Peace, Love and RIGHT NOW