It's not what you think. In no way am I promoting setting up a cot under your desk and making that your new digs.
Anyone who reads the bajillion (yep, that's a word) parenting articles written daily knows the various acronyms used to describe different types of parenting. SAH (stay at home), WAH (work at home), etc. Well, I have created a new one. From now on forth, please simply refer to me as a "stay at work" mom.
Being a stay at home mom is exhausting. Being a working mom is exhausting. Want to know what else is arguably more exhausting? Being a traveling, working mom who also works from home. I'm not a stay at home mom, because I have a full time job at a company that pays me to do work. But I'm also not a working mom in the traditional sense who goes to an office everyday because when I'm not traveling, I work from the "office" (term used loosely) that I set up in our spare bedroom. Enter the concept of the "stay at work" mom.
Why? Because I end up doing all of the things required of a stay at home mom when I'm also working from home. I am doing laundry, loading and unloading the dishwasher, grocery shopping, picking play doh out of the carpet, vacuuming, taking the dog out to poop, and any other fun chores you can dream up. You know, all the stuff we hate doing and wish we could afford to have someone else do for us. These days, cooking dinner has also been added to that list. On top of it, with my husband working his new job, I am now required to make dinner in advance for nights when I won't even be home... Who has the effing forethought to do that? I'm lucky if it dawns on me by 2:30 in the afternoon that I need to formulate a dinner plan...for that night. I don't know nothin about what's happening two nights from now when I'm in a completely different city. Thank goodness for those offensively large Walmart pizzas.
So, after I've spent the day moonlighting as my own housekeeper while also doing actual job work on those days at home, the next morning I've got to get up way before the crack of dawn, get on a plane, prep for visits with my peeps, solve problems, and have productive work interactions with a whole other set of people who are counting on me to be smart, resourceful, inspiring and just generally a pleasant individual. You know...the stuff I get paid to do. The stuff that I actually LOVE. Yes, I LOVE my job. Sorry if I don't love scrubbing the soap scum off of my shower or scraping the funk off of my blinds. Deploying home cleaning products doesn't exactly blow my skirt up. In my world, graduating from college plus fifteen years of working my ass off equals keep doing this career thing. That way I can buy that stuff that you spray on and walk away while it magically cleans your shower on its own. You know...the stuff that doesn't work.
What's so staggering to me in all of this, and what I somehow didn't expect, is the fact that when I worked an 8-5 office job, I was able to leave the disastrous mess that is my home five mornings a week and conduct my various work activities in a temperature controlled, regularly cleaned and sanitized environment. And, dude, the coffee was made fresh daily. Sure, I eventually had to return to "home, disaster, home" at the end of the day, but by then I was far too distracted by my commute, small child shenanigans and a series of disjointed conversations with my husband to notice the splatters inside the microwave and mountain of dust bunnies under the entertainment center.
Now, on the days I work from home, there is no escaping the heaping piles of laundry, crusty dinner dishes or tiny bits of leaves and dirt that accumulate on light-beige carpet. And after figuring out what the hell to make for dinner for the next three nights, picking up from school, managing the eating part of dinner, engineering bath time, couch snuggles, story time, laying on the floor until Dallas falls asleep and finally stumbling back downstairs, I often find myself reopening the old laptop and doing just a little more work. Sure, it's usually while I'm watching Scandal or Chopped... Ooh, or that new Holiday Baking Championship jam on the Food Network... Anyway, it still all makes sense.
So here's another one with no real solution. No magic pill or silver bullet, I guess. I can only imagine what this whole "stay at work mom" business will look like when Dallas is 7 and playing 4 sports, having sleepovers and needing help with real homework. Eek, I just got chills. I'd ask someone to hold me, but I'm sitting in an airport full of strangers holding a cocktail. Probably not wise.
Stay sane while you stay at work!!!