Happy Work at Home Moms Week! What It's Like to Be a Work at Home Mom.
I'll be the first one to tell you that I have the greatest job in the world: Not only do I love being a writer, but I absolutely love the flexibility afforded to me by working from home. There's precious little I miss from working in an office, and the things I do miss have nothing to do with cubicles and everything to do with paid vacations.
When I began my career as a freelancer, I didn't know many other people doing what I did; five years later, my time networking in the field and the downturn in the economy have seemingly yielded freelancers on every corner, and many of them are moms. And so, of course, we now have Work At Home Moms Week (who decided that, anyway?) to celebrate the wonder of ... being on-duty 24 hours a day. Heh.
If you're thinking of dipping your toes into the work-at-home waters, let me tell you about my day today. Today wasn't remarkable in any way; I think it was pretty representative of what my usual life is like as a work at home mom. You know, full of glamor and such.
5:30 a.m.: Alarm beeps. I turn it off and pull the covers over my head.
6:00 a.m.: I hear my son rattling around in his room above ours. I get up.
6:02 a.m.: Pour my first cup of coffee.
6:03 a.m.: E-mail.
6:30 a.m.: I push back from the computer, take the dog out and make sure both kids are up.
6:45 a.m.: Finish coffee while making breakfast smoothies for the kids. Try to nod and/or grunt in the right places as my son tells me about his latest made-up Pokemon creature.
6:55 a.m.: Make sure son's backpack is loaded and homework is not forgotten.
7:00 a.m.: Pack three lunches. Remind son of his allergy meds. Holler up the stairs for my daughter to get out of the shower.
7:15 a.m.: Say good-bye to son and husband.
7:16 a.m.: Back to email.
7:28 a.m.: Start dishes left over from night before.
7:30 a.m.: Assure daughter her outfit does not look dorky.
7:32 a.m.: Assure daughter her hair looks nice.
7:34 a.m.: Assure daughter her lunch is something she'll want to eat.
7:36 a.m.: Ask daughter to please stop talking and feed the dog.
7:45 a.m.: Send daughter off to meet the bus.
7:46 a.m.: More coffee and more e-mail.
8:00 a.m.: Notice the time, start doing actual work. You know, the assignments I'm paid to turn in?
9:00 a.m.: Grab a yogurt from the fridge. Call my doctor's office to ask for a prescription refill. Send an e-mail to the school about an unresolved problem. Eat the yogurt.
9:05 a.m.: Back to work.
9:06 - 11:20 a.m.: Write. Answer e-mails. Confirm dentist appointments for tomorrow. Write. Play a few moves in Scrabble on Facebook. Write. Delete some e-mails. Steal a piece of candy from an Easter basket that's still sitting on the kitchen counter for some reason. Write.
11:21 a.m.: Daughter calls from school to say that a wire on her braces broke. Awesome.
11:22 a.m.: Call orthodontist to schedule emergency appointment.
11:24 a.m.: More e-mails that lead to a phone call with a client.
11:38 a.m.: I'm hungry. I throw some leftovers in the microwave and take the dog out while they heat.
11:45 a.m.: I grab my empty plate (and water glass and coffee mug) and take them back to the kitchen.
11:46 a.m.: Shower. Hey, early today.
12:05 - 2:45 p.m.: E-mail. Another phone call. More writing. Check in with husband via IM. Another couple of Scrabble moves. Read blogs. Write. E-mail. Maybe just one more cup of coffee! And possibly a snack.
2:46 p.m.: Son gets home from school.
2:48 p.m.: Suggest the same list of possible snacks I have suggested every single day for the last five years until he decides on one.
3:10 p.m.: Take the dog out again, check son's assignment book, remind him to grab a book, get into the car to go pick up daughter.
3:12 p.m.: Stop for gas. Dammit.
3:17 p.m.: Sign daughter out from school early.
3:35 p.m.: Stop at optical place to pick up daughter's glasses.
3:55 p.m.: Arrive at orthodontist.
4:00 - 4:15 p.m.: Frantically return e-mails from my iPhone, typing with one finger.
4:40 p.m.: Back home again. Dispatch children to do their homework. Sit down at the computer to write.
5:00 p.m.: Husband arrives home and informs me he'll be making dinner. I congratulate him on his utter awesomeness.
5:01 - 6:05 p.m.: Work. Am interrupted more times than I can count: Daughter needs to use my pencil sharpener, son wants to know when he'll be getting his Nintendo DS back, husband wants to know if the school answered my e-mail.
6:05 - 6:55 p.m.: Dinner. It's my favorite meal -- something I didn't have to cook. (Actually, it's shrimp stir-fry, which means that my son eats the shrimp and moves the veggies around on his plate for a while, and my daughter eats the vegetables except for the onions and makes disparaging comments about the shrimp.)
7:00 p.m.: My husband does dishes while my son gets ready for bed and my daughter heads back to her homework. I take the dog out.
7:05 p.m.: Back at the computer. I still have several assignments to finish, including this piece for BlogHer about my typical day as a working mom.
7:23 p.m.: My daughter -- who has been swearing she's "almost done" with her homework all evening -- is standing here with a book and a "question." The question turns out to be something along the lines of "I'm too lazy to figure this out, so please tell me the answer," and when I resort to my standard demurral ("Hey, guess what! I already went to 6th grade, and I don't want to do it again!"), she stomps and yells about how she'll never finish now because I won't answer her. I am so, so mean.
7:25 p.m.: Back to the computer. My goal is to be finished for the evening by 8:00, when the kids go to bed, so that I can spend the evening doing something wild and crazy like sitting on the couch with my husband watching DVRed TV shows we haven't had time to watch earlier in the week. The reality is that it will probably be closer to 9:00 before I'm done for the night, and there's a 50/50 chance I'll doze off on the couch later.
Yep, it's a dream come true. I'd totally celebrate it all, this week, but I'm not sure I can fit it into my schedule ... .
BlogHer Contributing Editor Mir writes weekly about life as a work-at-home freelance writer over at Cornered Office, blogs near-daily about issues parental and otherwise at Woulda Coulda Shoulda, and posts all day long about the joys of mindful retail therapy at Want Not.