Work At Home Moms (WAHMs,) this letter is for you

Work-At-Home Parents, I raise my twice-reheated cup of coffee in solidarity. I see you. We think we can do it all. We know we function better when we are busy and engaged, but I’m here to ask, do we really have to have quite so much on our plate? I’m tired, but I knew that was a part of this choice. I try not to cringe when the baby wakes up from his nap, but I do. I don’t want to admit I’m frazzled, because that just wastes precious time I could be doing something else. But it’s the end of the year, and please tell me I’m not the only one who is ready for some of this weight to be lifted. I don’t want an abundant life to just be handed to me, but it would be beautiful if it were just a little easier, you know? Let’s take a quick look in the mirror.

You might be a frazzled work-from-home parent if:

  1. You’ve ever worn two different shoes to school drop off

  2. You haven’t seen your countertop this week

  3. You know where every lost item is for every person looking, and are weighing the pros and cons of just burning the whole house down

  4. “Me time” has to be scheduled when the rest of the family is unconscious

  5. “Inbox: 0” sounds like a mythical land no mortal has seen

  6. You have no idea how to describe the help you need from your partner, and thinking about it all feels just as overwhelming

  7. A solo vacation is the only kind of holiday that sounds appealing

  8. You have so many things on your list that when you finally have time to work, figuring out where to begin is its own massive task

II.

My reality as a parent of a six-year-old and a one-year-old at home is that I wake up early, and I stay up late. I don’t know who these people are with balance, but it isn’t a word that makes sense for me. Does it make sense to you? My kids are young. They are lively emotional beings who don’t understand the meaning of deadlines and due dates.

I know that if you are a parent who works from home you have systems, you have tasks, and you have goals. You have tried a variety of planners to see which one makes sense or helps you be more productive. You may have even become a master of your schedule and find comfort in how militant you are with keeping it. Bravo! Make this beast work for you, that is why we do it.

Two things have become my priceless touchpoints when it all feels overwhelming, out of control, and too much: The story my kids will tell of what I was like when they were kids, and the people who will someday be impacted by a small ripple from the thing I’m trying to bring to life with my work. The people.

III.


I’m not perfect. But I’m learning as I keep going through all this, that all I can do is the best I’m able each day. Some days, I am Wonder Woman. Other days, I’m not even close. I’ll warm up my coffee one more time and try to get out of my pajamas before I pick my daughter up from school. I’ll wiggle her tooth when we get home, wondering if today will be the day it finally comes loose. My son will dance with us to the records we put on and eat snacks, and they’ll see we’re all in this together as we do our chores and read on the couch.

I’m in this with you too. It’s lonely. Our work environment is a space filled with mismatched socks, homework pages, and snippets of twelve projects all going on at once. And let's not forget the laundry. My colleagues are women I have met through the internet. My break times are spent in the Starbucks drive-through scrolling Facebook. But I’m doing it. I’m doing it! And so are you. It isn’t perfect, and it won’t be perfect. But we really are doing the best we can. We give our families and dreams attention and energy to keep growing.

parentingAriel Swiftaswift