Moms Who Work From Home Have the Toughest Job Out There

 

We have two teams in World Mom: The stay-at-homes who care for their kids and as a rule, make batches of incredibly beautiful cookies, and the working moms who bookend full-time careers with parenting duties. But why does no one talk about what's arguably the toughest mom category out there: The Stay-At-Home-While-Working Mom? Unlike SAHMs and WMs, we don't even have a good acronym.

But then again, that's the motto of us SAHWWMs. We do it all, and kind of all the time. We're just not promising to get anything done perfectly.

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As a writer and a mom raising two kids, I'm in the -- enviable? maddening? -- position of doing both from home, and almost always at the same time. My day starts at five and ends at ten -- usually because work bumps up so close to the rest of my life that they're one and the same. I have typed many a story while also helping with homework, brushing hair, and locating lost Legos. I have conducted interviews while making mac and cheese and mouthing, "No more screen time!" at my 10-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter.

"You're so lucky you get to work from home!" moms who work at offices outside their homes tell me. Although I envy their clear boundaries (and how they have a valid reason to blow dry their hair everyday), I do feel lucky. If my son gets sick at school or my daughter needs help downloading "Blank Space," I'm right there. I know their friends and teachers, and we have breakfast and dinner together every day. But in many ways, I also feel like a parenting hologram -- the mom who's visible, but whose "real" store of brain matter and focus is elsewhere. At times, I feel someone could swipe their hand through me.

The busier I get with work, the less "here" I am as a parent. And of course my kids notice. I confuse my daughter's name with our dog's. (In my defense, they do sound alike.) I don't notice until we get to school that my son's jeans are so ripped across the knee that they're practically shorts. Last week, after a particularly long day of work that stretched into a particularly long evening, I was still typing furiously away at our dining room table when my kids crowded around me, bursting with laughter.

"I'm almost done! Just a few more minutes," I begged. And that's how long it took for me to realize what they were laughing at: our dog nonchalantly walking across the table. Right in front of me.

I have no clue how long she'd been up there.

More From TheStir: (Quiz) Should You Be A Working Mom or a Stay-At-Home Mom?

I'm lucky that I have a husband who folds laundry, runs to the store, and truly enjoys loading the dishwasher. (Maybe only because when I do it, I cram in as much as I can, but that's another story.) But he works equally long hours, and outside the house, so during the week, my kids get stuck with Half-Mom.

Of course, it's not all bad news. My kids have become pretty self-sufficient. Not only can they both prepare their own snacks, but entertain our dog (although come to think of it, maybe they put her on the table in the first place...), fold laundry, and vacuum. They've also gotten excellent at entertaining themselves without relying on some kind of screen. My son reads for hours on end and has a Lego City stretching across half his bedroom. My daughter has multiple long-term projects in progress that range from the somewhat mysterious "Files For Horses," to choreographing dances to aforementioned Taylor Swift songs.

They're okay without me and that makes me so proud. Yet I still wish I could be there -- here, I mean -- to fully enjoy watching them grow up.

 

How do you balance work with parenting?

 

 Image via Angela Waye/shutterstock

 

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