Getting Real with Kira Hazledine
As a work-at-home mom, I do my best to find balance between my time at the computer and time spent with my children. 95% of the time I am in complete agreement that the work can wait. Play with your children. Appreciate the moments they crave your attention because kids truly do grow so freaking fast.
There’s that tiny percentage that I’m always killing myself over. The guilt of not coloring with my toddler or making weird faces at my infant for just a few hours so I can get some work done. The voice that says I should be ashamed because don’t I know how much they need me? How dare I be anything but a devoted mother.
Except I wouldn’t be that great of a mother if the bills weren’t paid. If diapers and snacks weren’t purchased. If I couldn’t afford gas to get my child to the doctor or the copay for health insurance. Sure, I could do the work when the children are sleeping but give me a break. Sometimes I’m so exhausted by the day that I’m not awake minutes past the children’s bedtime.
If I do force myself awake with that extra cup of coffee, what kind of mother am I the next day? A frazzled one that has too little patience and no energy to do any coloring or weird faces, regardless of the work that needs done. I’m buried in laundry and expectations, and those work deadlines are still looming. So I sit down at the computer to get some work done because I need to support my family. I need to contribute to our income.
And then that stupid voice. Don’t you see your toddler wants to play puzzles? Have you done tummy time with your infant today? You know it’s critical to their development. They’re only little once.
Tell that voice to stop everything, because it’s bullshit. It’s like every other voice that tells you that you aren’t good enough. That insists you shouldn’t take the time to shower because the kids need bathed and, wow, your partner looks exhausted too. You can skip that shower today. You’ll get some time for yourself tomorrow, because other people need you today.
Let that voice go.
As a work-at-home mom, there’s enough to worry about, and there would be judgment and guilt no matter what you did. The time I’m at my computer is considerably less than the 40 plus hours I put in at other jobs. The jobs that took me away from my family for up to 15 hours a day. The jobs that gave me only precious weekends to soak in my child’s growth and love.
So what if I have to collect plastic food made for me in my toddler’s kitchen as I navigate the keyboard with one hand and pretend-eat with the other? Sometimes there is an infant in my lap as I type while he sleeps. There are moments when I do have to say “not right now” because I made a commitment to finish a project. Maybe I freaking love my job and the work is important to me and to others.
I don’t want to feel guilty about it anymore. Most of the time, yes, the work can wait. And it does. But my kids will have to learn patience. My toddler already knows how to play independently for short periods of time, and I’m very lucky to have a huge support network to lean on when absolutely no work gets done whether I have deadlines or not.
Know that you’re doing the best you can for your family, and rest assured that your kids will understand that someday and be thankful for it. They’ll remember the short moments where you put the work aside to play for a half hour. They won’t remember when the work couldn’t wait.