Friday, March 12, 2010

The Beliefs Behind the Work at Home Mother

Dog food.   Dog food all over the floor.  Dog food in the dog's water dish.  It happened in about six seconds.  One minute the dog was happily eating her breakfast. The next, destruction in the form of The Comedian crossed her path. 

To the right of the dog food disaster is a bathroom.  A lid to a pot is now in the toilet.  Directly behind the dog food mess is a trail of cereal bits and Matzo cracker crumbs that goes all the way down the stairs to the den and litters the floor in various spots in there.  Go back up the stairs and there is a Matzo cracker massacre littering the living room floor.  The dog, Lex, exacted her revenge on The Comedian in this crumbly spot.  Look up and you will see the staircase leading upstairs.  More crumbs of the cereal and cracker variety.  Stuffed animals and little plastic Strawberry Shortcake dolls lie abandoned and left for dead in the hallway, scattered in every direction.  The faint scent of strawberry-scented plastic reeks of mayhem. Watch out for more lids to the pots and pans on the stairs!  You don't want to trip. 

Standing on a chair in the kitchen is TD. She is in her underwear screaming about dress-up clothes. Her hair is wild like a creature from the jungle or Claire from Lost.  She wants a second, third or fourth snack. I refuse to cave to this ridiculous request when her breakfast sits nearby unfinished.  Across from her is me  hunched over my laptop trying to work.  Just 250 words. That's all I need to eek out and yet in this chaos I can barely spell 'shirt' correctly let alone string a sentence together.

This is the life of a work at home mother.  If there is a sitter or day care involved it is a bit different.  Then there are solid chunks of work time.  Many days though it is like this scene one.  It's maddening to have to continuously switch gears back and forth.  Work mode. Mom mode. Back to work mode.  Wait!  Diaper change! Wipe an ass. Back to work mode.  You feel unprofessional and like you are grasping at straws. So many days I wonder what mistakes I made that I didn't catch.  Did that person just hear your child scream like a banshee just now?  Can you just MAKE. ONE. FIVE. MINUTE. PHONE. CALL?  Please?!  It is hard not to give in and give up.  Eating a box of cheddar bunnies while my kids run in the yard would be so easy.

I can't let myself go to the dark place called jealousy by thinking about how H does not have to work in these conditions.  The most he has is chatty co-worker who can't shut up or the office slacker. He isn't applying butt paste or wiping snot off bedroom walls in between trying to sound intelligent as he discusses PTSD with some military base or attend a conference call where half the time I nervously sweat and pray for just ten minutes of silence. 

A work at home mother really loves her kids and has to fully believe in the value of staying home with them just as much as she has to really love her work if she is going to keep at it in this type of environment day after day.  It isn't always like this but on the days when it is I can be found wondering if writing about blush, organic snack food or consulting for a mental health organization is really possible or worth it.  It has to be more than my paycheck that tells me it is worth the effort.  It has to be. I love my job and believe in it  beyond the unrealistic notion of having it all. I want to be proud of something I did. I want to lay the foundation for future work after the kids are grown and out of the house.  I want them to grow up learning about all the different paths your life can take if you just believe in it strongly enough. 

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