Working at home: You have to admit, it’s a dream for many people. I blame those stock ‘work at home mom’ photos. The mom is in her PJ’s, happily looking out her (clean and shiny) window, with a cup of coffee in one hand her laptop open in front of her. Her couch is white, her makeup is on, and she looks pretty content if you ask me. I’m sure for someone, somewhere, that could be the reality, but for a mom of 1, or 3 or many, it’s about as far from the truth as it could possibly get.
There should really be a reality show, just for Moms who actually live through the work at home experience. As a copywriter, I work from my house, only occasionally leaving for a meeting or an assignment. I don’t have daycare, and I have four kids, only 3 that are in school. Just for fun, here is a typical day in the life of what it is really like to work from home:
Wake up at 6:30 am and sneak out to make coffee, hoping that no one wakes up and follows you so you can work for ½ hour without being interrupted.
Realize you are being followed by small creatures dragging blankets. They want milk, food, and to tell you stories about their dreams in vivid 10 minute detail. You forget about the coffee.
Make the coffee. Ask the little people to disperse and get ready for school, hiding until you can fully open your eyes.
Find backpacks, lunch bags, and shoes. Make them forge for their socks in a massive bin, because sorting socks is about as fun as…. Well it’s not fun at all.
Get kids to school. Enter house. Take a deep breath. Make more coffee.
Put toddler on couch beside you and give him an iPad full of Thomas the tank engine books
Sit down and open email. Look at email. Decide what needs to be answered right away.
Open most recent work file that was in progress and re-read it.
Write three words.
Hold hands with toddler, because he wants to and so do I.
Type two words with one hand.
Decide that there needs to be more coffee. Count blessings and French Vanilla Keurig cups. Realize that they are running low and write down on list of things to buy from Walmart.
Walk past stove on way to coffee machine and see that the top of the stove is all streaky from last night’s overflowing spaghetti pot. Get Windex and Magic Eraser and give it a once over.
Forget to make coffee.
Play a game of tag.
Sit back down with toddler. Get lured into downloading New and Featured apps. Play Toy Story matching games for ½ hour.
Answer three email.
Decide that a walk to the park is in order. Get dog and discover that she might have voided somewhere inappropriate. That somewhere happens to be the area rug, just slightly missing the hardwood that is.right.next.to.it.
Clean up poopies.
Go for a walk with toddler. Restrain self from answering email while at the park, despite the fact that it is marked URGENT and it keeps vibrating.
Clean toddler up, because he and the dog decided to roll around in the grass.
Put toddler down for nap.
Wonder about having nap myself.
Remember that you didn’t make coffee. Make more coffee.
Realize that the TV is on, and Handy Manny is flirting with Kelly again. Wonder whether Disney will ever get those two together. Would their children resemble the tools?
Watch your neighbor out the window while they jack up their car again, knowing that within a day or two the tow truck will come and get it anyway. Pat self on back for having innate ability to diagnose car repair issues just by listening to engine run. Wonder if there is an article in that somewhere.
Write for a half hour straight. Reward self for writing by going to Facebook and then shopping online for new towels.
Take your dog out for a poop. Step in poopie on the way, because the dog is really sneaky and didn’t realize that you just took her out.
Reheat your coffee, because you forgot it.
Call your cousin because you thought of something funny that happened 20 years ago.
Walk past your kid’s bedroom and feel stress level rise at the mess of blankets, pillows, and pseudo tents all over the floor. Clean bedroom, making beds and putting away toys.
Continue cleaning bedroom. Decide to do a load of laundry.
Write for an hour straight, which is a miracle.
Toddler wakes up. Feed him. Bolt out the door for after school pickup.
Return home, now with a houseful of kids. Put away computer and avoid phone.
Snacks, dinner, snacks. Play. Bedtime.
Stress over predictable bedtime stalling.
Get children to sleep. Sit down next to husband who is glued to a Netflix video.
Open laptop and work. Sometimes for 2 hours, sometimes for 4.
Midnight. Make lunches for school the next day. Walk dog around the yard.
Catch up on daily social networking until eyes are closing.
Sleep at 1 am.
There you have it. The never-ending glamorous life of a work at home mom. It’s stressful and crazy, and I’m sure with some extra child care I would sleep more than a few hours per night, but I love it. It suits me. It might suit you. You’ll never know until you try. And if you do, you might want to invest in a Keurig. Even reheated 3 times, that coffee is amazing.