Today I Am a True Work-at-Home Mom and It’s CRAZY!

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.

Work Time?

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!

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Rebecca is a full-time everything. She teaches English and reading to her much loved, if challenging, high school students during the day and is a freelance education writer in the evenings. With almost ten years in the classroom and advanced degrees in business and information science, Rebecca specializes in materials that inform, educate and entertain. Rebecca indulges herself by pretending to have spare time and writing about the ups and downs of being a freelancing mama whenever she gets a chance.

8 thoughts on “Today I Am a True Work-at-Home Mom and It’s CRAZY!”

  1. OK, I need a nap after reading your schedule! ;p

    I work at home and I tell ya, my days are just as full as they were when I had a B&M job. The commute is shorter, but that’s about it!

    ~Tui

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  2. It does sound like this day had many things in it that were not typical. But I find that most days are like that, so I think you’re smart to take this day as a good test case even though there were unusual demands on your time.

    I work outside the house very part time–only about 10 hours a week (one daytime shift and one evening shift). The rest of the time I’m home writing during the day while my first grader is at school.

    My day is something like this:

    Drop him off at 8:15, in theory, although if I get him there before 8:30 I don’t need a late slip. That 15 window where he’s not really late saves me all the time.

    Get home by 8:30 or 8:45, and work until 2:30, when it’s time to go pick him up, and then I’m his mother all afternoon and evening until he’s in bed at 8:15, at which point I usually put in a couple more hours of work. If I’m really behind, I can sometimes sneak in another hour of work between picking him up and dinner time while he plays with legos.

    In reality, my 6-hour work day is all too often broken up by other things. I have to meet the roofer at the house, or I have to attend a meeting that I’m supposed to be covering for a local news site, or I was up til midnight trying to meet a deadline so I am too tired to be functional, or I really have to work a grocery store visit into the day, or there’s an early dismissal at school so I have to pick the kid up at 12, or he’s sick, or I’m sick, or I have to sit on hold for 45 minutes with the credit card company, or there are bills to pay and I won’t have time to do it on the weekend, or we have houseguests who want to chat over a leisurely breakfast, or I have a dentist appointment, or I need to fill a prescription for my son, or or or.

    Even though I work at home four days a week, there are many weeks where I don’t have a single day with an uninterrupted 6-hour block of work time.

    So far, though, I love working at home, and I love being able to pick my boy up at 3:00 every day. And really, I get more done and I’m happier when I’m busy.

    Reply
    • There are definitely advantages to being at home. I like balancing both (for now) because it lets me use different parts of my brain and I can fit more into my day. It’s just sad that the quietest time of my day is my 2nd period conference time when my classroom is empty. I save all of my phone calls – business, personal and school for that point in my day.

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  3. Um wow. So wait… you have to be approved to drop off or pick up your child at or from school?? And walking across the parking lot means you’re a walker?? And you have to be social with teachers? Crazy. Thanks for the warnings.

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  4. Hats off to you! When I worked in an office, the only thing I could do after the kids were in bed was collapse. Granted, the kids were very young and needed a lot more hands-on care than they do now. Now that they’re older and I’m full-time freelance, I can work in chunks throughout the day as need be. Very often that means working for a few hours after the kids fall asleep.

    (Love the image of the Big Mom Vehicle!)

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  5. Great article. And I agree that it is hard to juggle it all. I also have my own business, an online fashion jewelry store and I feel that key is to remember to put as much passion into your biz as you do to everything else. The pay off will come.

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  6. I´m starting to work at home, and think that sometimes is good because you if you need something you just go and do it and then comeback to work activities, but is a little difficult because i am always thinking on if i do this before i work, it´s a little bit complicated.

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