Yikes! It’s Summer and I work from home.
I’m not sure how I feel about it. This is our family’s first official ‘school is out for the summer’ summer. As a WAHM this is the first year since before I had kids in which I felt I have been able to be me! That is I have been able to spend some time doing things that build me up and build me a future.
Those precious 4 hours every week in which both kids are in school have been like sitting on the beach sipping a fruity adult beverage. Hah! I wish. The truth is I have worked harder this year professionally that I have ever worked before – even more than when I worked in management working full time. I have cried, I have struggled. I have worked so freaking hard!
The progress I have made professionally this year has been incredible. I feel so alive, rejuvenated and satisfied.
And now, as of today, it’s coming to a screeching halt as I pick the kids up from their last day of school. I have three months ahead of me where honestly I just don’t know if I will get anything done.
I know, parents who work outside the home are probably rolling their eyes and also freaking out – about who will watch their kids this summer. And there are those other SAHM’s who are so overjoyed that they now have extra time to do arts and crafts projects with their kiddos.
But I’m speaking from that other bunch of parents. The ones caught in the middle – between needing and wanting a career that brings both income and flexibility to be there for the family, and simply wanting to just enjoy every blessed moment with the kids. I need my lifeline (my work), and they need me.
I’m overjoyed that my children are old enough to finally really enjoy the pool time, summer sports and real playdates. And I am absolutely petrified at the anxiety of the thousands of extra “Mommy come play with us.” whining that I will hear. I’m not sure I can do it. I’m not sure I can handle it.
I don’t know how I will make it through the summer with my sanity and career (all those hours of effort and discipline) intact.
So here is what I am going to do:
I will simply adjust the daily schedule a little. I will play more and shift worktime to after bed time. I will take some work outside with me while the kids romp around outside. And I will put work aside to simply be in the moment (as much as I can).
Honest, two weeks ago is when I started counting down the days until school starts up again – the glorious moment when both kids are in school All Day Long. Hallelujah! (Seriously who doesn’t celebrate that?)
Working from home has taught me some unique skills along with good lessons for the kids.
One being that is important for my kids to respect the fact we need me to work and that I have every right to be working. They know they get more playtime with me than many of their friends do with their moms. They are learning my short blocks of work time will be followed by quality fun time with me. I’m setting a good example to my daughter that Moms can be good moms and have a career too.
I’ve also learned how to seriously focus during these limited working hours and how to completely engage with my kids outside of those blocks of work time.
So am I panicking? Yes, I am.
I don’t want to see all my efforts fade away from three months of craziness and extra play. I wish there was some kind of solid guarantee that my work absolutely will pay off and bring me greater results than I hope for. I don’t want to take a single step backwards or lose the discipline and focus I’ve worked hard to establish.
These are real solid concerns of parents who work from home. The unknown angst of not knowing if you can show up and work the next day while you toil today is real.
I also know I won’t ever get this wonderful summer time back with my kids. We will never experience this summer again. And so I will do what I have done as a Mommy thus far – cherish and make the most of it. I will schedule and unschedule and reschedule. I will be flexible, I will accommodate, I will breathe. (I think.) I will do what work I can when I can and I will hug, and laugh and play as much as this adult success oriented Mama can.
And come fall – the go-getting, laser focused, goal conquering WAH Mom will return. I may have to rebuild a little – I pray it’s only a little. I know how much I can achieve in a short amount of time. I know how fast I’ve built my career up to this moment. A lot can happen in such a short amount of time.
And that is why I will love my kids with everything I am. I will cherish, I will linger, I will smile, and I will make wonderful memories with my kids this summer.
Besides, it won’t be too long down the road and they will be dashing off on these sunny days to their friend’s houses and just beyond that – driving to their own baseball practice. For now I will enjoy these summer days where they still want me to play.
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*This article was originally published in May 2015 on Mom’s Magazine online. They have since closed up shop and I am now re-publishing this article as many WAH parents can related. This article provides encouragement and tips for WAH parents on work/life balance.
Image © Dollar Photo Club