This past Fall, after sending out an invitation to join me for a cup of morning Joe to all the 1st grade parents, I received an email from one of the recipients that said, “Sorry, some of us actually have to work for a living and aren’t rich, spoiled stay-at-home Moms.”
Some of you may remember it as I wrote about it in my e-zine.
It’s never been easy, but this past week felt particularly difficult as a mom at home. Our family, like so many other families I know, is experiencing the pains of financial overwhelm. I don’t regret making the decision to stay home with my children 7 years ago. My values and my desire to create the kind of family life I’ve always imagined meant that I would put my energies into nurturing my babies and keeping the home fires burning. Despite the trials, it does have its rewards.
I imagined working from home becoming less complicated as our children got older and more independent. Somehow, the financial responsibilities make it necessary for me to figure out how to generate more income. I have had to think about the possibility of going back to work. I met with one of my favorite former bosses over dinner back in November. I felt a rush, imagining myself returning to the world I knew and loved prior to having my children.
My head began to spin on the way home from that dinner. I imagined the reality of such a change for our family. For seven years I haven’t had to figure out alternative childcare, after-school options, sick-care plans, or summer camp registration so that I could work outside the home. All of a sudden thinking about working again in my field felt overwhelming and daunting. I began to imagine the hurried mornings, the long days that would circle me back to my home in time for dinner, bath, and bedtime for my children. It is amazing to think about how much of their lives I would miss.
It wouldn’t be my arms my 4 year old would run into after preschool and I wouldn’t hear his tales of pretend play or the treasure he found in the gravel. I wouldn’t get to lie next to him on the couch for a story and a nap. There wouldn’t be an afternoon of sibling play or before-dinner-chores.
It isn’t easy working from home. There are days I envy the moms who have figured it out so that they have the uninterrupted time to work in their field each day, leave the work at the office so that when they’re home they dedicate their time to their family. Designing my own business at home has meant stolen moments to write, read, and coach. Mornings, evening, weekends, naptimes, …these become work hours. When I’m not working, I’m cleaning, guiding, cooking, and chauffeuring.
I’m committed to make working from home a success. Although, it meant moving out of our home, renting an apartment, and ultimately sharing a home with my parents – something we have found incredibly successful, it has always felt intuitively right. We’ve taken the road less traveled. There’s no easy path, but on the road to creating simplicity and nurturing a slow childhood, I hope I can be a source of support to others.
In a culture that defines success as making and doing more, I’m choosing to swim upstream with no regrets – pass the bon-bons.