Working from home can sound pretty glamorous, right? You get to work on your own terms, and you make money! As much as I like to buy into the romantic notion that working for yourself gives you absolute freedom, it is basically a pipe dream.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that I can just block out entire days on my calendar for various reasons related to my children, my husband, or my desire to spend some quality time with my bed when no one is in the house. It is pretty awesome. But that jazz about working on your own terms is also kind of a joke.
See, when you own your own business, you do nothing but work for others. And yes, they aren’t your boss, but they still kind of sign your paychecks. And there is the other necessary evil of working from home – your flexible schedule automatically reads AVAILABLE ALL DAY for mommy duty. Because that OTHER full time job – being a mommy – takes most of your day, before you get down to work.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love working for myself. I love working from home. But I also know what I signed up for.
To illustrate my point of how working from home can be awesome while at the same time making me slightly mad on a daily basis, I wanted to share a day in the life of a work at home mom (ME!):
6:45 – Woken by stuffed animal in face. “OK to Wake” alarm clock obviously is defective. I still have 45 minutes.
6:50 – Release cat and younger child from respective rooms. Attempt to go to bathroom without either one joining me.
7:00 – Wrestle both children into clothing for day. Matching clothes not necessary, just correct placement.
7:15 – Begin to prepare breakfast.
7:16 – “Moooomeh” toddler isn’t happy with friend sitting closest to bowl. Arrange stuffed animals.
7:17 – “MOMMY! You forgot my vitamin!” Preschooler isn’t aware still preparing breakfast.
7:25 – Breakfast finally prepared (Cheerios, bananas – with strings removed, and almond milk). Begin preparing smoothie and coffee for self.
7:26 – “Moo -MEE. I’m still hungry.” Slice apples, return to preparing smoothie.
7:35 – Finally prepare smoothie. Forget to turn on espresso machine.
7:45 – Children finally satisfied with breakfast. Finish preparing breakfast for self. Scarf breakfast in front of computer while checking emails.
8:35 – CRAP. Kids need to get to school. Call children to get shoes on.
8:45 – Toddler has wandered in to closet for shoes. Preschooler MIA.
8:50 – Trying to wrangle toddler into shoes while brushing preschooler’s hair. Realize both have milk down their shirts. Luckily clean clothes basket nearby. Hurriedly change both children’s shirts. Realize toddler needs diaper change.
8:59 – Finally exiting house to go to school.
9:06 – Kids finally strapped into car and backing out of garage.
9:16 – Deliver children to school. Realize forgot swim gear for toddler. Swim class at 10:45. Mission to get swim gear initiated.
9:30 – Realize swim gear still wet. Not sure when last time toddler was in pool. Shove swim gear in dryer on “steam refresh” setting. Cross fingers.
9:40 – 10:25 – Hurriedly work through projects due at 10:30.
10:31 – Hit send on projects. Throw swim gear in nearest bag. Not sure if Victoria’s Secret bag appropriate. Grab bag mysteriously in laundry room. Dash off to preschool to drop off gear.
10:43 – Drop off gear. Deliver lame excuse why can’t stay. Rush home.
10:59 – Log back in to computer. Work for 33 minutes.
11:32 – Jump in car, run back to school for pick up. Curse stupid idea to not have children in all day school. Do they make boarding schools for preschoolers?
12:15 – Produce peanut butter sandwiches with apples for lunch. Missing favorite Elmo sandwich cutter. Use glass to cut circle in sandwiches.
12:45 – Remind children nap time is approaching. Whining and complaints ensue.
1:15 – Children still not in rooms for nap. Toddler gives the look that tantrum is upon us.
1:20 – Tantrum full blown. Mommy about to tantrum. Promise inappropriate things to toddler such as crackers in bed. Toddler complies.
1:40 – Both children now in bed. Neither napping. Run downstairs to make 1:45 phone call.
1:46 – Start 1:45 phone call.
1:49 – Preschooler in office. Crying about not napping and wanting television. Place call on mute and negotiate with preschooler for peace for 50 more minutes.
2:46 – Preschooler has returned to office. Demands attention. Afternoon flies by in flurry of snacks and playing with children.
4:30 – Begin making dinner.
4:31 – Toddler strolls in demanding snack. Give snack. Return to cooking.
4:33 – Toddler returns, preschooler in tow. Both demand snacks and water. Comply and get back to cooking.
4:40 – Toddler returns, demanding snack. Refuse. Fight ensues
4:42 – Toddler attempts to remove pretzels from pantry. Fails. Tantrum.
5:15 – Begin cooking. Forget what cooking. CRAP. Chicken frozen. Husband is home. Dinner is scratched.
5:20 – Order Chinese food.
6:20 – Food arrives. Scarf food, then watch children eat.
6:50 – Children demand dessert. Fight over fortune cookies. Received six cookies with order.
7:15 – Decide too late for baths. Begin bedtime ritual.
7:30 – Still trying to dress kids for bed.
7:50 – Finally wrangle both into bed.
8:00 – Consider working out. Toddler starts crying.
8:35 – Toddler now soothed. Kiss husband and head back to office to work.
11:45 – Finally turn off computer.
12:00 – Go into each kids room and just watch them breathe.
12:25 – Finally fall into bed.
Having two kids is tough enough, but trying to get the work I have committed done is a delicate art. I stopped working every night, and try to build in pockets of time to do my work. I used to sneak on the computer absolutely every chance I got. But I have started to realize that you can’t shove work into every waking moment.
I also realized that it is OK if dinner isn’t gourmet home cooked every night. And if my kids don’t have perfect outfits, it doesn’t matter. But most of all – I realize that being home with them every day is a gift.
Even if I consider sending MYSELF to boarding school at least once a week.
If you enjoyed a snapshot of a day in my life as a work-at-home mom, please check out a few more stories from some of my favorite bloggers:
Maryea Flaherty Happy Healthy Mama
Elaine Mingus RadicalChristianWoman.com
Sarah Mueller Early Bird Mom
Laura Smith I Heart Planners