Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I don't know how she does it...

the "Work at home" mom (or WAHM), that is. I know it sounds like a perfect arrangement, being able to work from your home office, no commute, no travel, make your own hours. But it certainly is a major life adjustment, making room for "other than kid" stuff on your plate.

It's likely because my little one is still quite young, just turning 3, and she's had almost three whole years of me pretty much to herself (well, she does share me with her big brother occasionally). And although she's in a nursery program three mornings a week, which she really loves, there's a large part of me that feels badly about that. I know that she's better off there than sitting at home hoping that I'll play with her, but the guilt, it's there. Even when I'm working and she's playing on her own, I feel the need to be doing something with her, even though I just don't have the time because of work commitments.

I find myself working more in the evening, and not spending enough time with my boy. Often working long into the night and then waking up dreaming about diagrams, pagination, tables of contents... nightsweats about documentation! I'm thrilled to be using my "brain" this way again, but at the same time I'm stressed to the max.

I remember this episode of Nanny 911, or the Supernanny (and don't ask me why I ever watch those shows, but it's a good thing I only did AFTER I had kids) - the mother of these little "terrors" had her own business from home. She would be trying to focus on her computer, but would be constantly interrupted by her toddlers. And then she would get frustrated and angry with them, because she was trying to do so much, and her kids would be acting up to get her attention. Not bad kids, really, just doing what they would do naturally.


I don't want to be that mom, but I've found myself frustrated more often than not lately. Not only because of the work thing, but also because of the whole holiday season. It's a time of year that I usually love, because it's about family, and sharing, but I'm just not feeling too festive. I so don't want to ruin the holidays for my kids either, as they are very excited, especially my little G, who climbed right onto Santa's knee for her cutie photo today. She was even more excited about the honkin' huge candy cane which she sucked on for a bit, and then promptly dropped and watched shatter into about 20 sticky pieces. For her dutiful mommy to pick up.

But that's the beauty of the whole arrangement I suppose. That I could actually spend a day with her running some errands, doing some Christmas shopping, doing lunch. Spending a couple of hours at the local Mastermind watching her put her babies to sleep ("shhhh, Mommy, you and the ladies are too loud!"), cook something up in the kitchen, and spend some quality time with Thomas the Tank, while I shopped for the baby nieces. And so I left the work for later, or another day.


Because tonight I'm having my Pomtini refreshment after my wonderful BodyJam class led by my fave instructor TEEJ .... shout out to you my friend! After all, he did get the party started!

13 comments:

familymclean said...

You are so awesome, I just cant say it any better!

Sandy C. said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I couldn't have said this any better. I can relate 100%. I am that WAHM with a toddler that drives her nuts while trying to focus on a million things at once. I hope to be able to put her into a morning preschool program soon. I think we BOTH need it.

Ginaagain said...

Karen, you are a fantastic mother and you really have nothing to feel guilty about. Your little girl is learning some very important things while you are working from home. She's learning to entertain herself for a little while, to be sensitive to other's needs (maybe just for a few minutes at a time at first), and she's learning about her options in life. She sees that you have skills beyond mothering but are still able to be her Mommy while also performing this mysterious, important, task. Don't beat yourself up.. she is growing through this experience, not being neglected or deprived. You are a great Mom.

Family Adventure said...

Hang in there, Karen. The adjustment is hard, and the guilt will *always* be there. But the opportunity was so good, you couldn't turn it down, and Giselle will be *just fine*!

Heidi

Karen MEG said...

Anna, you are awesome too, my friend!
Sandy - you were one of the moms on my mind when I wrote this - I don't know how you have the time to blog either, but if you're like me, it's likely a welcome release!
Gina- your words really hit home - thanks so much for your support. I never thought of it that way before. I suppose it's the guilt of thinking that this opporutnity is just for me, but it really is for the family as a whole. You're a sweetheart!
Heidi- you're another mom I was thinking about... you've obviously got a great system. You'll have to show me some tricks when you're back in our neck of the woods!.

wgathen said...

I always wonder how WAHM and WAHD do it. More than anything I'd love to work from the semi-comfort of my home, to write in my pajamas and drink coffee and take breask to play with the boys. However I know the reality is that working form home is a minute to minute balance of attention, guilt, blocking out noise, and getting to share time with the kids that I wouldn't otherwise get. I can't see you being "that" mom. Enjoy the pomatini. make sure they use enough Chambord.

Curiosity Killer said...

So what did Nanny911 tell the WAHM to do in order to compartamentalize her life better? cause I mean, coming from a work-at-home woman, it's not easy. I can't imagine having kids around all the time without losing it. I mean, if the husband works at home, there's always mommy to keep the kids distracted and the whole "sshhhhh, daddy's working..." bit.

You're doing awesome... I'm sure your children are angels compare to what's out there...

Don Mills Diva said...

I think moms working in or out of the home are always questioning if they spend enough time with their kids or if that time is "quality". It's just part of being a working mom. Don't worry - you're doing great.

Kellan said...

Hi Karen. I think it's just hard to adjust to something so new and different, hopefully you will adjust. This is sort of a bad time of year, right - with all the stress of the holidays and all. I hope it gets better - I bet it will. Take care. Kellan

Margaret said...

Thanks for stopping in today! I'll be back!!!

Badness Jones said...

WAHM, SAHM, working moms, NO matter what we do DO, there's always someone wanting us to DO something else, or something differently, or something faster or NOW, MOMMY, NOW!!!

Learning patience and a little delayed gratification will make the time you DO spend with them even more special for your kids - and Karen, those are some lucky kids with you for a mom!

bec said...

Karen--I know I keep saying to you "I don't know how you do it". Well, you do it because you are super talented and great at handling whatever challenge is hurdled your way. You are all growing through this whole experience with all the balancing that has had to take place. Once the dust settles, you'll have more time to reflect upon how resilient everyone is! I'm sure it's very tough and a huge challenge to re-enter the workforce in FULL force. The next project should be smooth sailing after this one!!!

Sure WAHM, SAHM, working-outside the home mom, all the different possible titles (maybe I'm missing some), it's a whole can of worms of topics and issues we can fret about...You make whatever you decide work for you and your family...at least that's what I'm trying to do LOL!!!

melissa said...

Balance is so hard no matter what. But as long as you make the attempt, it will come, I promise. Not that I've acheived it, but I do try. :)

I did a post on DD today, if you're interested...:)

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin