As much as I hate to admit it, sometimes, I let myself fall victim to the very creative and manipulative things my kids say to try to make me feel guilty for working. Most of the time, I am well able to roll my eyes and move on with life, knowing they are seven and five and just being kids. Sometimes, I feel like they are tiny sages speaking an absolute truth that I am too old, lazy or jaded to see on my own. It is a near-daily occurrence that my kids try to make me feel guilty about my job and I am trying to rise above it.
I recently started working from home. I absolutely love it- I am so fortunate to have this chance because having worked full-time outside of the home for the last four years, I was so tired of that hamster wheel. My kids ride the bus now (although I’m not wild about it) instead of before/after school care and I am able to spend far more time with them, of course. Our family has been adjusting to my new schedule- namely, the fact that I work unconventional hours. Sometimes, I set aside work to do in the evening. Sometimes, I get up and do some work early in the morning. It’s not always confined to the hours where everyone is at work or school. The kids are mostly fine with it- they play well together on their own and they are happy to zone out on a Disney movie for a little while if I need some quiet. They know what I do for a living and they are actually proud of me- they have told their teachers, friends and random grocery store clerks that “mommy is a writer with articles on the internet”. It’s sweet and most of the time, things are fine.
However, there are days where I am very much still in the thick of my work after they are home from school and I need another hour or two to get caught up. I feed them a snack, set them up with either an activity, homework or a movie and get back to work. Sometimes, after a few minutes, I hear someone coming and before I know it, there is a small person next to me saying “MOMMY! When are you going to BE DONE?!” See, I work less hours now and all in my own house but when I worked outside of the home, my kids never really saw me working. They were used to having my attention, more or less, the entire time I was home with them. Now, we spend more time together but on occasion, I am getting work done while we are all hanging out. I see no problem with this most days but sometimes, they say just the right thing to make me doubt myself and my time management skills.
I have told them that they are free to tell me how they feel but that Mommy is around all the time now and that if I need to do work while they are home, they should be patient with me until I am done and then, I can play with them. I know they are still getting used to my new schedule and I am trying to be patient with them too but like most moms, I question myself. I wonder if I AM trying to work too often when they are home and if I should make more of an effort to finish everything when they aren’t around or are sleeping. Rationally, I know I shouldn’t worry about it but sometimes, I feel like their unencumbered little brains see things more clearly than mine does and that their claims might have merit. All I can do is keep trying my best to find that balance between work and home life- which I know all moms who work at home can relate to. The lines blur when you work at home….and also, have your family life in that same space. I am still establishing boundaries and working things out- I hope my kids will continue to bear with me as we adjust to this new (but very welcome) situation.