In light of my recent shift from WOHM to WAHM and the changes in schedule, environment, and mindset that shift entails, I've been thinking more about a variety of working mom issues and felt compelled to revive Working Mom Wednesday. (And to make a new button for it :0)
The awkward part of talking about "working motherhood" is the implication that stay-at-home-moms don't work. NOT SO. If "work" is defined as the use of energy (is that right, physics people?) I undoubtedly expend more energy per hour when I'm with my kids than when I'm alone at a desk. It is HARD WORK to care for young kids for their entire waking hours. I have absolutely nothing but the highest praise for SAHMs. So please never see me denigrating moms whose work is childcare- and home-based. (And in the same vein, I hope SAHMs won't accuse me or any mom who works for pay of not caring about her children or "letting other people raise them." That's insulting and untrue.)
All that said, let me restart the series by sharing just a few observations on my first week and a half of freelancing from "the home office."
- To clarify, since many people have asked: No, the kids aren't staying home with me now that I'm working from home. They are still in day care/preschool five days a week, and foster children we are privileged to parent will also go to school during the day. I spend the bulk of my day in the office/craft room off our bedroom, doing much of the same work I used to do from an office downtown, and working on growing a client base.
- I love the flexibility of this new arrangement, which was the main reason for the change in the first place. I can make the girls' dentist appointments in the middle of the day if I need to, be home for the plumber to come, or whatever else needs doing. When I need a break from the computer, I can put a load of laundry in; and rather than battling traffic at the end of the day, I can be getting dinner started.
- I am the consummate introvert. I knew this before, and evidenced it whenever I returned to my office after a long meeting saying, "Ah, the blessed isolation of my cube!" And that isolation was only an illusion, since my wonderful coworkers were barely more than a whisper away. I crave alone time and don't mind having the house entirely to myself for up to eight hours a day.
- I love my home office. My desk is a WWII-era piece my grandfather had. It has a panel on top you can lift to reveal and raise up a typewriter stored within. (My uncle has the typewriter, though.) Charlotte loves to hang out with me while I'm working, sometimes sitting right on the desk. I have to close the door when I'm not in there, though, because she will eat my plants. (I brought them back from the dead by taking them to my office about five years ago, and now they're back in her sights.)
- I don't always stay home, though. I'm enjoying working at Panera or Starbucks for a few hours at a time some days. (I love Starbucks, but Panera is my preferred place because you can drink endless refills of coffee for only $2.99.) I also go into the office for a weekly meeting, and have church and other activities, so I'm not totally cut off from humans outside my family :0)
- I do miss standing up to work. It was a growing trend at my office, and I joined in on the "stand-up desk revolution" a few months ago, when I felt like I was always stretching and squirming in my chair. My muscles felt tight and I could never get comfortable. Standing (or sitting on a bar-height chair, as I often did) was great. Now that I've been sitting most of the time to work again, I find myself stretching and straining a lot. The kitchen counter and my craft table aren't quite high enough to stand, but barstools both places do help!
- If you are a parent, what is your employment story? Did you stop working when you had kids? Did you or do you plan to work outside the home again at some point? Do you work from home?
- What topics would you want to see addressed in a Working Mom Wednesday post?
- Would you like to write a guest post for the series? I would love to share some other people's tips and insights, so please pitch me your ideas!