Working from home=Stay at Home Mom?
A year ago, if someone asked me if I would try to work from home to be a stay-at-home mom, I would have said, yeah!
When I started this new business venture from home, I have to admit in the beginning I romanticized the idea that my life would be more balanced because I would be working from home. I think it had to do with being excited about the fact that I would be able to sleep in and wear jeans to work. Most importantly, it was the flexibility of being the boss and “calling the shots”, dictating my schedule of when I could take a “day off” with my daughter for an unscheduled tea party.
Fast forward to today, my day starts off with getting up early and dropping the toddler off at daycare. I greet all of the work moms in their nice looking office attire, while I’m fashioning my own attire of jeans and a T-shirt. And always, always, rushing to be back to the home office to manage the ever demanding task of being juggling PR artist.
How did I get here?
Well, as it turns out clients don’t understand setting their schedules based on your daughter’s tea party or parade day is standard practice, and pitching media for press conferences doesn’t exactly work when your biggest client “the kid” needs your potty attention.
Soon enough, I was “hiring” help from friends who needed the extra cash, and I felt no different than the moms who turned their kids over to a babysitter. Except, I wasn’t going out to a fun date night, I was going back to work. Even when I was home with my best girl who is like sunshine, I missed spending quality time with her. I had to really have a reality check and ask myself if she was truly enjoying watching every episode of “Peter Rabbit” while mommy was busy working on her laptop.
After a few months of balancing meetings, conference calls and trying to cleverly hit the mute button so that the background of “mommy, mommy, mommy” was not overshadowing a client request, I knew enough was enough. I think it started when one of the calls was from an unscheduled caller that I just had to get. Fortunately for me, this business associate was older, much, much older and his hearing wasn’t really the best. When he heard my daughter scream out loud, he immediately asked “what’s that, a puppy?!” Of course, I responded “no sir, that’s my daughter”. However, I still think about whether or not I should have just said “Uh, huh, yeah”.
I can honestly say that after this lesson in trying to make it all work, it was ok to admit that I can’t do it all and it doesn’t make me any less of a loving mother.
Recently, I made the tough decision to put my daughter in full time day care. Do I regret it? In the beginning, I was sad and did my best to not compare myself to those who “can do it all”, at least I tried for a while to stay away from the fun mommy reports on FB. But, that grew old fast because I love to hit “like” on those mom reports because if you can’t, embrace those who can!
I also learned a valuable decision that my little one deserves [what I think] is best, and right now, my best is giving her quality time and being ok with her spending time (while I’m working) with kids her age and with affectionate teachers who are trying to slay the diaper dragon every 30 minutes. Plus, and let’s be a bit more honest, I think I can be fun for a toddler for a while. But it’s not the same as a classroom full of 3-and 4-year olds.
On a scale of 1 to 10 with being a perfect mom, if you were to ask me today, what I would rate myself, I’d rather not give myself the extra pressure to vote.
For me, I’m ok with not being a stay at home mom. I still rate myself as the best mom for my little one, and that’s all that counts!
Here’s to making it count:
Mommy, let’s have a tea party.
Mommy, let’s play pirate-matey.
I wanna water the seeds.
When I started working from home, I was the only working stay-at-home mom I knew. Everyone else fell into one or the other category. It was lonely. Now, Laura, you have a whole army of moms who understand and who are struggling with the very same challenges. Maybe we should start a support group!
I have to agree with Debi above about the support group! When I left the 8-5 gig, I had the same visions of me effortlessly juggling mommy-hood with contractor work, and it’s tough. Reading this at this time must be some sort of fate, because I was just on a conference call when my 4 year old ran up, naked as all get out shouting, “Mom, did I clean my bottom good enough?” Luckily the people on the other end of the line all had a sense of humor. 🙂