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Having It All vs. Making It Work: Life as a Work-At-Home Mom
This is now my second attempt at writing this post, at my second bakery and coffee shop of the day. Fueled by lattes and Fuji apple chicken salads, I write. Meanwhile, Judah sits in his stroller, happily munching on a chunk of plain bagel. If he manages to take a nap, like I know he’s been fighting all afternoon, I know I’ve got at least an hour and a half of uninterrupted work time.
Such is the life of the work-at-home mom. It isn’t easy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
As a new mom who never really took a break when her son was born (I was still sending out work emails while laboring and even the next morning after Judah was born), I’ve struggled with the balance of not just being a working mother, but a mother who works from home. It’s a whole different ballgame, full of its own unique challenges, but amazing, magical moments, too.
Every day is a little bit different. There are a few constants I can always count on in Judah’s schedule: he’s up by 7:30am, dinner around 7pm, bedtime by 9:30 or 10pm. The day in between can vary tremendously, from naptime to playtime and the occasional errand. Sometimes we have playgroup. Sometimes our Visiting Mom is here. Sometimes there’s a checkup at the doctor’s. And somewhere, in between it all, I need to fit in anywhere from three to fours hours of work each day.
I keep a lot of late nights, once Judah’s gone to bed, finishing all the half-written emails and blog posts. I’ve made copious use of dictation on my computer. I’ve written documents in the cloud on my phone – with one hand! – and sent them off to editors for review while Judah would nurse or nap on me: I’ve got lightning-fast thumbs. I often have soup for lunch because it’s a quick meal where I can still type with one hand while I drink my lunch from a big mug.
Being able to stay at home with my son while still doing the work I love: writing, advocacy, social media and design – it’s been my dream. What I’ve learned from being a WAHM is that having it all is a delicate balance of simply making it work sometimes. And that’s perfectly okay!
Don’t get me wrong: like many WAHMs, I struggle with the guilt of wondering who’s getting more attention at different points in the day: my son, or my work? But I have to remember that I’m no less of a mom and I’m no less committed to the work that I love, the work that feeds my soul and fuels my passion. I recognize how incredibly lucky I am to be able to work from home.
The tradeoff for our often chaotic “schedule” each day?
Watching Judah crawl for the first time. Reading, singing and playing with him throughout the day. Being there when he wakes up from his naps. Introducing new foods and flavors. The giggles and belly laughs. Teaching him when to clap when I sing “If You’re Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands.” Being constantly in awe of watching his courageous curiosity as he tackles and discovers his world.
I stand witness to so many beautiful, magical moments with my son that I would otherwise miss if I weren’t here during the day. And no matter how tough being a WAHM can be, I’m so deeply, profoundly grateful.
I truly wouldn’t have it any other way.