Staying Home: The Things That Keep Me Sane

Linda Sharps
Healthy Living
8

It's been something like 8 weeks since Ieft my office job. I wouldn't yet say I'm perfectly comfortable in this new life as stay-home/work-from-home/insert-appropriate-acronym-here mom, but I've learned a lot in the last month or so.

I need to shower early in the day or I feel increasingly greasy and sub-human and I'm more apt to snap at the kids. I have no idea why having unwashed hair affects my patience, but there it is. The key is to get my morning ablutions done and out of the way before I start mainlining coffee or I enter some kind of slovenly personal hygiene vortex that's hard to pull out of.

It helps to wear something that approximates normal clothing. Yoga pants are acceptable, but not when paired with a baggy t-shirt. Wearing the equivalent of pajamas all day just makes me feel bad about myself, and virtually guarantees an embarrassing UPS delivery encounter.

I need to get my first article done in the morning or my whole work schedule goes to hell. This necessitates plugging the children in front of the TV, which I try to keep to a minimum, so the goal is to get it researched, approved, written, and posted in the space of one Yo Gabba Gabba. Having a kids' show as my deadline is interesting, I've developed a nearly Pavlovian panic response to DJ Lance's "Yooo ... it's almost time to go!"

We HAVE to get out of the house at some point. Even if it's just to the store. Even though I have a 2-year-old who makes outings unpredictable and, more often than not, frustrating as hell. Going on a walk or playing in the yard is helpful but not as mentally necessary as buckling the kids into the car and actually traveling from Point A to Point B.

I try to stay away from the computer, but it isn't always possible. My main job requires combing the web for news and pitching articles for approval, so I actually have to surf entertainment sites throughout the day. (This leads to bizarre bad-parenting moments where I find myself waving my kids away while frantically clicking around online: "Not now, Sweetie, Mommy has to see what Justin Bieber's been up to.") The more time I spend on the computer while the kids are awake, the worse I feel about our day. The best days of all are when I hit the productivity jackpot and can just close the goddamned laptop for a few hours at a time.

I wear eyeliner now and I never used to. That little line of black above my lid says, "I care enough about myself to add this cosmetic adornment, even if I do have Cheerios stuck to my ass."

It's important to find a happy medium between keeping the house clean and letting the kids make a mess. If I don't do some cleaning, things go to hell very quickly, but I can't let the fact that I spent half an hour vacuuming turn me into a protective, snarling dog about the cleanliness of the floors, or I will go crazy and TAKE EVERYONE WITH ME.

Naptime is a mission-critical time of day and woe unto any solicitor who attempts to interrupt it. If you knock on my door during naptime, I will rip your head clean off and cram it back up your ass sideways. Take note, local political candidates.

For those of you who are at home, what are your sanity-savers?


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