As regulars might know, I’m a work-at-home mom and a work-away-from-home mom, too. I normally teach during the day and then get two boys to bed before settling down for three or four hours of writing most nights at the computer. It makes for a full day, but it’s so nicely organized and routine now it works for me. Today though, in honor of my youngest son’s musical program at his little school, I took the day off work (the school work). I’m going to be a true work-at-home mom for the day. So far my day is insane.
The Routine Schedule
On a normal day, I have three or four hours of uninterrupted evening time after the kids go to bed. Today I’ll be lucky to get an hour and a half. The day started with the usual routine of packing lunches and getting backpacks ready. I had to track down two missing library books and write a note to the teacher telling her my oldest was a “walker” today instead of a “van rider.” I'd already called the after school program to let them know he wasn't coming - I might get fined or have to field frantic "missing child" phone calls otherwise. Then I loaded up two boys into the Large Mom Vehicle and drove them to school. I would have walked like a good neighborhood mom, but I was already behind schedule and I had too much to carry. I managed to get the first child dropped off at eight. (He’s a “walker” because I walk him across the parking lot – it’s faster than being a “car rider” where you wait in line to be approved to pick-up or drop off you own child – When you have a child in public education, you’ll understand)
Now, I pack the little man back into the Large Mom Vehicle and we set off in the direction of his school. By now it’s 8:15. He needs to be there at 9, so we swing by the store for a very quick errand - no cold stuff from the store, of course. I get him dropped off at 9. You have to chat with the teachers and such – it’s a day school Mom rule, and so I made it home around 9:30.
Now, I’m writing this, but by the time I get it posted it will be 10:30. I’ll be out the door to grab a special lunch (from Mom's least favorite fast food gross out) for my big man and I’ll be at his school – all checked in with my driver’s license swiped for security – by 10:55 when his class eats lunch. I’m out of there again at 11:30. Fortunately his school is in the neighborhood and I’ll be home just a few minutes later.
I’ll get back to work and have about an hour to write another article I need to get delivered today. Then it’s time to head off for the big Christmas program put on by three-year-olds. The show is at 1, but seats are hotly contested by the other moms, so I’ll need to leave here at 12:30. I might eat something beforehand, or I’ll just use that time to find the damn camera – have to video these precious moments you know.
Once I’m there at 12:45, I’ll use fifteen minutes to get caught up in Words with Friends on the iPhone (It’s how I stay friends with people I never have time to talk to properly) and maybe answer an email via the phone. Then the production lasts until about 2 when it’s time to take the little man home. A quick swing by my school for a Secret Santa drop off and we’re back to get the big man at 3 from his school. Then we just have a small trip across the fourth largest city in the US to enjoy a Christmas party until it's time for everyone to pass out. I might do some more work then, too.
Tallying Up the Day
In my mind, I'd have endless hours of writing fun if I were to stay home. In reality it looks like I’d have about two hours if I want lunch, too. Of course, this is an unusual day with a special lunch I’ve been promising for months now and a big production with preschoolers, but a trip to the gym or grocery store or a volunteer hour or two at school would decimate a working schedule just as much.
My verdict? Being a true work-at-home mom is just as crazy as being a working-out-side-of-home-and-at-home one. Being at home you get to be at cool productions and eat some yummy Happy Meals with kindergartners. Being at work you get to bring home a yummy paycheck and play Secret Santa with grown-ups who bring you chocolate. There’s no simple answer here, but I’ve learned some things today and I’ve become motivated to find my camera a new home where it can live all of the time. I have five minutes left to get this scheduled for tomorrow, and I’m off again – have a great weekend!