This is the eighth entry in “I Don’t Know How She Does It,” a series of guest posts about the working mom/stay-at-home dilemma. It’s written by Charlene from CharleneChronicles.com . After writing laws for 15 years, Charlene now blogs about whatever she wants; specifically, fabulous things like technology, travel, social media, fashion and fitness at CharleneChronicles.com. She runs a local Mom group called Metrowest Mamas and spends time on Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Charlene occasionally steps away from the computer so she can experience the awesomeness that is her husband, toddler, dogs and the occasional long run. Charlene is a virtual turned IRL friend for me and I am so honored she is contributing to this series.
That is, how do I handle being a stay-at-home on some days and a work-at-home mom on others, being a wife, a house handler, an administrative assistant, as well as an entertainer, teacher, taxi driver and sanitation engineer to a toddler (aka – being a Mom).
You probably all wonder the same thing, in your own way.
So, here is my story.
My life is best described as a “Stay-at-Home Working Mom”. As a Mom to a toddler, I work when he is home. Or I try anyway, like when he naps or is engrossed in his one and only favorite TV program, The Wiggles. (And, I admit, a stolen moment or two.) Plus, lots of night, weekend and early morning laptop boot-ups.
Basically, I lose my shisnit more often than not. Like right now, it is 9pm at night. I am trying to tackle tons of emails and deadlines, and ignore the fact that my toddler (who should be asleep) wants more water (after already asking for water) and his Hot Wheels police car (that he purposefully dropped for the 10th time so I would come upstairs), a dog is clawing at my leg to climb up on my lap, my husband is asking me some question about where a tax form is, and I desperately need to have a business-like phone call with someone, but there isn’t time during the day. Isn’t there some sort of rule that I can go off duty at 8pm or something?
Seriously, the world could be crashing down, and all I would know is that “Sam drives a big red car”.
There are many days I wish I stayed at my previous job. You know, the one where I was important, got paid, had benefits, could pee by myself and pick up the phone when I wanted to. Granted, I still didn’t have much time to pee, I was up at the crack of dawn, and there was always someone throwing a tantrum too. But I could leave work at 6pm and go home to chill. I wasn’t a Blogger that anonymous people ‘shat’ all over, nor was I a Mommy that had to clean up ‘shat’ all day either. So you think I would run back out there, right?
Sadly, I am a sucker for punishment (and apparently have an addiction to The Wiggles.)
I like setting my own schedule. Granted it does take into serious consideration the needs of my toddler, but it is still ultimately mine. My work, whether good or crappy, is my own. It is not my boss’s boss’s boss. People know me – Charlene. Not “so and so’s” Chief of Staff or even “so and so’s” Mom.
I also know that it is the best for my family. It may require me to do more maneuvering and digging to find the scraps that are best for me, but they are there and they are more precious when you polish them off. It makes me a better woman to be a Mom and see the word through my child’s eyes. It makes me a better Mom to be a strong woman in the eyes of my child. But I wouldn’t be real if I said I didn’t struggle, juggle, and bobble, fall flat on my face, and trip over my own two feet.
Regardless if you are a “Stay-at-Home” Mom, “Working Mom” or some other “Mom-teration”, we all experience the same thing. The worry, the fatigue, the juggle, the dreams and the doubt. I guess the answer is less about ‘how’, and more of the ‘why’. Because we Moms can do anything we want, and sometimes, especially in this economy, sometimes have to.
The key is to realize you may not always be happy, but it is totally normal. The other ‘sanity essential’ is to surround yourself with other women who are in your shoes and who get where you are coming from. Also make sure that you “earn currency” by going to dinner with friends, having a date afternoon with your partner, unplugging and spending the day being silly with your child. This is what you need to deposit in your Mom account. There are a lot of daily withdrawals, but at least you won’t bounce.