To celebrate the different expressions of how moms work, the KCMB series “The Way Moms Work” follows the many ways we work in a single day. We hope this series will champion all of the work moms do, both in and out of the home, and encourage our readers to find meaning in their own work as well.
I have two little girls whom I love deeply. They also have the ability to drive me to the brink of insanity on a daily basis. But then big sister does something insanely cute and the baby decides to belly-laugh for the first time and I forget that I have throw-up running down my leg. I also realize I haven’t taken a proper shower in three days. I get to be there for all of their milestones, boo-boos, and tantrums and we’re home all. the. time. which, technically, makes me a stay-at-home mom.
But, I’m not just a stay-at-home mom. None of us are “just” a mom. Moms wear many hats. We have a lot of labels and it’s a lot of ‘effing work. But, we manage to somehow get it all done because we’re moms and we’re awesome.
In between throw-up and not showering, I also happen to be a work-at-home mom – the newest label I amassed after the birth of my second baby. My work station is surrounded by teething toys, tubs of Play-Doh and puzzle pieces. Phone calls happen during nap-time and I’ve seen more Doc McStuffins episodes than I care to admit. Our days are fairly predictable – I need them to be predictable since I’m required to get at least some work done during daytime hours.
My “mom” day starts at 6 a.m. when my husband’s alarm goes off for work. This means I have approximately 45 minutes before my oldest is in bed with me begging to watch a show. TV is our friend in the morning, and I am not ashamed. It gives me a chance to grab coffee, change out of my pajamas and put on a little make-up. Don’t get me wrong, there are days where no one changes out of their PJs and I look completely haggard. But, if I put myself together in the mornings, I’m in a better mood and don’t fee like a complete slob-kabob. It’s also nice to wear the “good” yoga pants every now and then.
My “work” day starts at 8:15 a.m., which means the kids and I have migrated from my bedroom downstairs to the family room for breakfast. I get logged into my computer and turn my phone ringer up so I can hear it above the cries (because, crying at some point during the day is inevitable). I get Gracyn set up at the table with her breakfast, feed the baby, and scroll through my emails to see if there is anything pressing.
Our mornings are slow. I take a few minutes to prioritize my work day – figure out what emails need to be answered right away and make a list of phone calls that I need to make later in the afternoon. If anyone in the office needs to reach me, I’m available by phone pretty much all day long but I don’t sit at my desk from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. It’s impossible with kids running around so I really need to make sure to put out any fires in the morning and leave the rest for later in the day. By the time everyone is done eating and hands are wiped clean, it’s pushing 9:30 or 10 a.m. I decide it’s best to turn off the TV before my 2-year old turns into a zombie. Gracyn is pretty good at independent play, and we have several activities she can do next to me while I’m working but I always try to sit down with her and spend some quality time with her while Leighton takes her morning nap. Once the baby wakes up, it’s time for her to eat again and play.
My lunch hour is spent, you guessed it, feeding children and keeping them happy. The house goes to shambles very quickly now that we’re home 90% of the time so I use my lunch hour to unload and load the dishwasher, clean bottles, take out the trash and start laundry in the washer that I’ll most likely forget about until the next day (the worst). On sunny days, we might eat lunch outside and fit in a quick bike ride. If I time it right, we may even run a quick errand (to Target, most likely). I feel bad that we can’t be outside more often or running to the park for play-dates but we make the most of the little breaks I get during working hours.
Nap time begins around 1 p.m., and I turn into an emailing, phone-calling warrior. I try my damnedest to get both girls napping at the same time. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, I have a good 2 hours to get some serious work done. My husband tries to get home around 4 p.m. and immediately takes over snack-time and toddler meltdowns so I can finish up any emails and calls before closing time.
Evenings consist of dinner (hubby cooks, I clean!), hosing the kids down and getting them into their PJs. Our oldest is in bed around 8 p.m., and we spend the rest of the night trying to get our infant to succumb to dreamland. She refuses, so it’s a good time for everyone involved!
The house is a disaster zone by the time I’m ready to hit the hay myself. I hate going to bed knowing there is so much left to do so I usually speed through each room picking up toys and wiping down counters before I finally retreat upstairs to my room. If I can tidy up a bit before bed, it makes the next day that much easier. My husband and I normally place a bet as to how many times the baby – and toddler, who am I kidding – will wake up during the night (three times, minimum; only twice if I’m feeling optimistic.) and then finally turn the lights out and get ready to do it all again tomorrow.
The working-at-home gig has its challenges but I’m so thankful I get to be home with my girls. I’m exhausted and some days I feel like waving my white flag, but it’s totally worth it. I’ll work my tail off time and time again if it means hearing those belly-laughs and getting random hugs 17 times a day from the sweetest girls around.