I feel like I can do a whole awful lot as a full-time working mom. Juggling these roles of work, parenting, and wife — yeah, I got this. I mean I can get my girls up, dressed, hair done, and out the door and still make it to work (close to) on time. Then I can rock dinner, baths, bedtime and still check in on my email or take a few work calls if needed in the evening.
However, I recently found the one thing that I absolutely cannot do as a full-time working mom. And that is work from home while my kids are there. Seriously, I have no idea how anyone can do this.
I didn’t plan this catastrophe, it just kind of happened. You see, the original agenda was that I would get Maylie on the bus, take Reagan to school and then I would work from home until her school event. Then, I would join her at school, send her to the sitter’s and head into work. Flawless, right?
Until Mother Nature decided to send us droplets of frozen water from the sky. Suddenly, we had delays and then cancellations. And the bus to the sitter’s (my husband) had already left for work. So I thought, “it’s fine,” I will just work from home and still be able to see my kiddos.
It. Was. Not. Fine.
I know my children are needy creatures. They are children, for goodness sake. But, WOW! I guess I never realized just how needy they are. Literally every 4 minutes, someone needed something — a snack, a drink, a piece of paper, a hair brush, even a wet paper towel to clean off the “rusty old clock” (distressed by design). I am not even sure they ever noticed it — but darn it, they were going to clean it that day.
Armed with rainy day options, I busted out the brand new package of (gulp) markers that I had fully intended to allow them to use only with close parental guidance. However, I had three conference calls and an inbox full of emails. After some heartfelt drawings from my girls, I no longer heard the 3 year old.
Not sure if you know this, but this child has a wicked past with markers including some tattoos and carpet designs at GG and Papa’s house. If I wasn’t so desperate, I would have remembered that before I went on the household search for the little marker-stealing stinker.
Glancing at my phone numerous times to confirm I was on mute on my conference call, I started yelling her name. Guilt came rushing off her face when I found her yet she insisted she was just cleaning the toy room. Ah, the toy room. Searching for evidence of her mischief in there would be like searching for a needle in — well — a stack of needles. The room is a museum of mischief and messes.
Nothing stood out immediately except for the fact that that I needed to get these girls to the sitter if I planned on getting any work done that day. Immediately, I text my husband and asked (or maybe begged) that he would come home at lunch and take his kids to the sitter. And yes, it is a known fact that when my children are not the complete angels that I created them to be, then they are his kids. Ha!
Per the norm, I was rescued by the hubby. Unfortunately, not before a few end-of-my-rope-and-waist-deep-in-work frustrated outbursts on the girls. Which in turn came with all the guilt and more apologies than there were missing markers caps (and there were a lot).
Eventually, I was able to dive head first into work and ended up playing catch up all evening. The hubs grabbed pizza for dinner, and I took a break for bedtime for the girls.
“Today was a bad day.” I told them. Immediately Maylie snapped back with “yeah, worst day ever.” More apologies, tons of hugs and kisses, and I lay with them until they drifted off to sleep – then jumped back on my computer.
Look, I can totally rock (ok, at least most of the time) this whole mom thing. Also, I’d like to think that I don’t do so bad at the whole work thing. But they are two different worlds. And it was more than apparent that day that those worlds colliding equals nothing but chaos.
And that’s ok in my book. My girls are my careless and free fulfillment while work is my straight-lined, self-worth accomplishment. And while the balance compliments each other to make a happy me, you can bet that I will never again intentionally mix them.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.