Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Soggy-Boggy Days

The Soggy-Boggy Days. You know what I’m talking about. First the relentless cold and now the rainrainrain. The cold gets into your bones; the rain somehow gets under your skin and none of it is really, truly pleasing to the soul. Add to this the mindboggling question I’m throwing out to all the work-at-home moms—how do we make work work while we’re at home with the kids?

It seems these days that Kiddo is always needing love. “Want to hoooold you, Mama” he says, hanging on my leg and looking frustrated. He starting to know that he’s not the only shining star in my universe, not with me doing so much work which takes me away from him, even if only for moments. There's the work of the house, and then there’s the work of the school: refining and finishing curriculum, a parent handout, forms for everything under the sun—all that on my list, plus all the little details necessary for the school’s day to day operations, such as mounting the coat hooks or cutting the marmoleum to fit the space where our boots will go. While some developments will hopefully be accomplished as a process with the children involved (garden planning for example), there are plenty of necessaries to keep me busy.

One does wonder, at some point while gazing into her tea as her child bangs away furiously at a metal bowl full of playdough and makes her wish for temporary deafness, why on earth one would choose to start a business at the time her child is doing the “toddler metamorphosis”. It never even occurred to me what would be going on with us around this time, and that was probably a smart oversight. You can scare yourself out of following your dreams, trying to prepare for every contingency. In hindsight, I would never have chosen to do this at this time, and yet, if not now, when? Having this winter and springs lesson plans under my belt will make the work of the next school year as a whole a little less daunting.

The largest challenge for most work-from-home parents is simply finding the time. Our work time usually seems to come at a cost; some ten loose ends of housework must be diligently ignored and if you don’t have childcare, you rarely get work done. This relegates our work to naptimes, after-dinner, or even worse, after bedtime, just when your brain is truly working at its best, ha ha. Or we get stuck trying to carve out work time on the weekends, which our spouses can get a little grumbly about, because they want their weekends too. Only stay-at-home parents understand the idea that for us, the weekend is rarely the weekend. Our child’s pull on us is slightly lessened, but we’re still expected to be the embodiment of "home" for our families. When we are home, and yet we aren’t really there, this can be a bit discombobulating for everyone.

One of my biggest challenges has been to set up a workable office for myself upstairs in our bedroom. Not ideal, but it beats the basement. I need a place to escape, someplace to work that is mine, the proverbial room of one’s own, if you will. Perhaps that will come when Kiddo graduates and moves out, or once he’s at school I can appropriate the kitchen table for the bulk of the day until it needs to be set for afternoon snacks, homework and dinner. Until then, being out of sight is the only way to get a whit of work done.

If you noticed the previous post (posted below) consider this; I wrote that last week and only now have I had a chance to post it. My life feels like two minutes of opportunity at a time. We’re learning to use the timer to measure out ten minute chunks of “play by Kiddo’s self”’ time, but it’s going to be a while before I get a whole half-hour uninterrupted to work.

And now—ding!—there goes the timer. Time to head back to the playdough picnic that’s been happening off and on during the writing of this post. I’ve also built a fire, fed the cat and made playdough peas, spaghetti and cookies. And we’re going to make real pasta soon, because Kiddo’s requested a ‘recipe’ yet again. Yesterday, it was currant pancakes, and I should type a whole post on them because they were so good. Trying to balance the work with fun—trying to get any work done at all--- so, send your stories or tips on how you manage to make work work at home. Double star points if you are doing it with no childcare. We’d all love to hear from you.

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