The life of a work from home mom is not exactly what I would call glamorous.
It’s fulfilling, and crazy, and busy, and sometimes boring. It’s also a lifestyle that is often misinterpreted and highly debated (just ask the internet).
I took a day in my life as a work from home mom and took a picture every hour to explore some of those emotions and intricacies.
It ended up being an introspective exercise that took a lot longer than I had anticipated to write about. While it sounds like a perfect solution to the “to work or not to work” debate…working from home definitely has its high and low points.
Let’s start the day with the obvious…getting out of bed. Some days, this is the hardest choice I make. I am in love with my bed. We have a beautiful thing going on – it’s warm and comfy and no one is asking me for food or to find something or a question about self-made millionaires when I’m in bed. Inevitably life wins, and I drag myself out…looking a lot like this most of the time.
Because I am MOM, that means my day starts with getting everyone else ready for their day. Exhibit A: school lunches.
Once the big girls are at school, Caroline and I come home and veg in our jammies for a bit. She demands breakfast. Are you feeling the glamour yet? While she eats, we make plans for the rest of the day. Her ideas: go to the restaurant, see Daddy, and then visit the zoo. Um, probably not today, kiddo.
We do have to swing through the grocery store. Going to the grocery store with one child when you have more than one is like vacation. Even if she insists on pushing a tiny cart around, there are no other siblings there to ram into or race. All is peaceful for the most part.
It’s winter here in Colorado. It’s not particularly snowy right now, but the cold and wind have made it really hard to get out of the house. You can imagine how well this goes over with a toddler – we are both going a bit cabin crazy. Today, as a break for both of us, Caroline and I went to the library so she could play while I work.
We are so lucky to have an amazing library with a dedicated children’s area so I don’t have to constantly shush her. She’s free to read, play, explore, and build while I set up at a too-small table and get work done.
We were at the library for a few hours. I felt better about having her there while I worked than when we are at home. There were other kids to play with, and she had a blast putting on puppet shows and building block towers.
I have such guilt about working from home most days. Caroline is nearly four and very good at entertaining herself. She’ll play with dolls or watch a movie or jump on our trampoline in the basement while I get my work done (I have to work on average 2-3 hours every morning). This makes me feel like a giant failure as a mom.
I struggle all the time: should I put her in daycare? Hire a sitter? Figure out how to work in the evenings after dinner instead? What would be better for her? I feel terrible that she is such a good independent player by necessity. She doesn’t really have another choice: Mom is pretty much just there to be sure no catastrophes happen and the milk and snacks continue in a steady stream.
I know I need the job(s) that I have, and that committing time to work is necessary to helping support our family. I know that I am extremely lucky and blessed that I don’t have to be in an office all day while my children are raised by daycare providers (and please know, this is not a working mom versus nonworking mom rant – I’ve covered this topic pretty clearly in the past!), but some days it’s hard to reconcile that part with the inevitable Mom Guilt that comes along with every part of life, ya know?
Another inevitability of motherhood: laundry. All day ‘erry day. There are five of us in this house. Two of my kids are in school uniforms, plus all three children can wear something for 3.8 seconds and deem it “dirty.” This means I go through at minimum 2 loads a day. I throw a load in while Caroline eats her lunch. Then comes what could be considered my favorite part of the day.
Nap time is precious to me. And trust me, I know how selfish this makes me since I just spent a good portion of the morning working. This is another in a long line of emotions that gives me incredible Mom Guilt. Again, I know the kid has to nap. (Believe me, I’ve seen her at 5:00 when she hasn’t napped.) And yes, I could be using this time to clean my house or something equally productive. But to be honest, I’ve not slept well, I’ve been up taking care of other people’s needs (my family and my work) all morning, and now it’s time for a little Mama R&R. So it’s me, Lily’s Chocolate, and Grey’s for an hour or so. Yes, I’m in bed. JUDGE ME I DARE YOU.
Just about every day, nap time is an opportunity for me to get a little continuing education that is good for all of my jobs in the form of Brenda’s Periscopes! I spend fifteen to thirty minutes listening to her talk to us about the day’s topic and then trying to put it into practice either by adjusting my social media posts for the day or by creating some new, inspired original content to share with my audience. This personal development portion of my afternoon makes me feel a bit better about the fact that I’ve spent a considerable amount of time wasting time this afternoon.
So turns out today during nap time, the toddler was changing back into jammies and re-doing her hair. I guess it’s a win since she was doing it quietly in her bedroom?
Anyway, 3:30 means it’s time to pick up the big girls from school. They bubble over with stories of the day, which friend said what, who they ate lunch with, and which special they had today. Obviously no one can remember anything the learned today, but by golly I know that Alaina wore her friendship necklace and Alana (yes, you read that correctly) wasn’t able to stay after school and play.
We get home from school late, compared to the school we went to before we moved to this part of Colorado. By the time we get home, unpack lunchboxes, change clothes, and grab a snack, it’s time to hurry up and get started on homework. Today’s homework is timing my first grader’s reading and helping my third grader write a science experiment summary. Definitely on the fun side of homework, as far as homework goes.
I’m going to be honest with you here: I don’t have more pictures. I got to 5:30, making dinner, and then things got crazy. Homework and chores were finished so the kids were chasing each other around the house, my husband came home from work and it got really loud (my favorite kind of loud: girls squealing and Daddy roaring his hello to them), then we ate dinner and started bedtime routines. There was re-telling of the day’s high and low points, teeth brushing, laying out tomorrow’s clothes, stories, bedtime negotiations, and requests for more milk (of course).
It’s the part of the day that makes me remember why I work from home. Yeah it’s chaotic and loud and frustrating, but I remember when I would get home from the office after 6 and have an hour with my oldest before her bedtime. That was chaos. And it was sad chaos because it was the only interaction we had all day. I’ve been working from home for almost seven years. What started as a necessity because daycare for two children was nearly as much as I made each month has become a part of my identity as a Mom.
The mixed emotions, the Mom Guilt, the balancing act, the fact that I get so frustrated some days I resent all of it – it’s all part of being a Work From Home Mom. It’s just like any other job, motherhood: some days you’re on top of your game, some days you wish you could escape it altogether. Some days you love it, some days you just can’t stop complaining. But you always value the job, the benefits, all the good stuff that comes along with it.
What are your biggest struggles as a work-from-home, stay-at-home, or working parent? Leave a comment below!