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Have you ever been multi-tasking so much you completely forget what you’re doing? That was my day yesterday. When you work from home, you’re constantly juggling work and family responsibilities. It’s enough to make your head spin. You start just wishing for bedtime so you can just get a little more work done while the kids are sleeping.

With so many balls being juggled in the air at once, something is bound to drop. I felt like a frazzled mama. Even though I didn’t get everything done between work and the kids, here are 5 simple things I do to keep from missing the little moments with them when I’m struggling just to get through the day:

girl gets chocolate

I was so busy that Sydney was able to successfully get way more Hershey’s kisses than normal.

 1.Single Song Dance Party – My absolute favorite part of working from home is getting to be silly and crazy with my kids when I need a break from my work. I put on my favorite happy music and dance with my toddler around the living room. It helps relieve the stress because seriously who can resist the giggles of a twirling happy toddler?

It puts work in perspective, even if it’s only for one song. So I encourage you when you’re just living to get to bedtime, take three minutes and just have fun with your kids.

2. More Kisses Please – My toddler used my stress to her advantage by repeatedly begging for Hershey’s kisses. With that sweet face and a lot of work on my plate I can honestly say she ate more than she should have, but it’s ok. Sometimes you have to use whatever you can to get just a few minutes of time to finish a chore or something on the computer. Just make sure you follow up with a barrage of real smooches on those sweet little faces and your stress will melt away (even if it’s only temporary).

3. Take a Real Break for Meals – I pride myself on eating lunch and dinner with the kids, even if my husband is working late. But in the middle of my crazy work haze yesterday, I’ll admit that I wasn’t fully present with the laptop open next to me. I know in the future I need to put it away during meal times. Not only do you feel better when you’re not mindlessly shoving food in your mouth, but you feel more connected to your family.

4. Forgive Yourself – I felt my frustration building every time my toddler threw her food on the floor or started pulling on me for my attention. Then, of course, I felt guilty for not paying as much attention to her as I should have. Normally I try really hard to only work during her nap times, but I had a lot of things I wanted to get done.

One day she’ll go off to school and I’ll miss all these little moments with her. Then again, she’s not quite two, so I think I can forgive myself for one day of not giving her my full attention.

If you find yourself just going through the motions with your kids, while praying for bedtime, it happens sometimes. The key is just to make sure it doesn’t become a habit. Parenting is a marathon and we can’t sprint through their childhoods. Trust me, work will always be there waiting for you.

happy toddler

This is the memory I want to keep from my very busy day- Sydney’s sweet smile.

5. Take a Picture – Take a second to snap a few pictures of your kids. Years from now, you probably won’t remember what you were working so hard on, but you’ll be able to look at their sweet little faces and remind yourself of why you work so hard. Photos have an almost magical power to remind you of all the things that really matter in your life, while blurring out the things that don’t.

Life is always going to get busy. There will always be days that you’re just praying for bedtime, whether it’s so you can get some work done while the kids are asleep or so you can break out your secret snacks and catch up your favorite show on Netflix. The key is to find a few moments to just be fully present with your kids, even if it’s just at the dinner table or snuggling during your bedtime routine.

How do you cope with days you’re crazy busy?

Erin Johnson a.k.a. The No Drama Mama can be found writing on her blog The No Drama Mama and Hudson Valley Parent when she’s not wiping poop or snot off her three adorable kiddos. This “tell it like it is” mama has NO time for drama, so forget your perfect parenting techniques and follow her on Facebook or Twitter for her delightfully imperfect parenting wins and fails. Her work can also be found on The Huffington Post, Money Saving Mom, Mamapedia and Worshipful Living.

WAHM Title Photo

From SAHM To WAHM

If you’ve ever breastfed your baby while taking a work call or locked yourself in your bedroom and put on a movie for the kids in order to get some work done, you’re probably a Work At Home Mom (WAHM). Until recently, I thought of myself as a Stay At Home Mom. Then it was pointed out to me that I do in fact blog so technically I’m a WAHM. Being home for my kids has always been my primary objective and blogging flowed out of my need for free therapy from being home with the kids all day. The longer I do it though, the more I love it and the more I see it as my job.

Motherhood TRUMPS Everything

As I’ve said before, I’ve experienced many types of work/home combinations from full-time work, part-time, SAHM and now I can add WAHM to my list. In EVERY situation, there is one fundamental truth – Motherhood trumps all. I remember my mom picking me up from school when I was sick and I’d have to sit in her office kitchen with coloring books and small toys she always had stashed in her desk until 5 pm when we could go home. If your child is sick, has an event or doctor’s appointment, everything else gets dropped. I think the worst is being sick myself as a SAHM. There is no calling out of work and having to take care of three kids with a stomach virus is the WORST. There are some pretty funny and challenging situations that arise when you work from home. Here are my top 5.

1. Dodging The Kids – It’s like a horrible game of hide and seek where you tell the kids you have some work to do and then you move with the phone and laptop from room to room trying to avoid the constant barrage of, “I want a snack,” “Can I play outside,” “What’s for dinner?.” I swear my kids have a Spidey sense about when a door locks anywhere in the house. Then there is this NEED inside of them to damn near break down the door if I try to shoo them away. When my son was three he broke a plastic maraca against my bedroom door while I was on a conference call. It doesn’t help that there is no designated office space in my house, but I know that there is no boundary they won’t cross. I’m sure it makes for a humorous sight, me running room to room begging the kids for just one hour of quiet time to work.

This is what being a WAHM looks like in a good moment post nap time dash.

This is what being a WAHM looks like in a good moment post nap time dash.

2. Nap Time Dash – Ok, you’ve got the baby or toddler down now the clock starts. You turn on the baby monitor and try to cram as much work as you can into that hour, if you’re lucky to get a full hour. You learn to work with what time you get. I’m sure some moms wait for their kids to go to bed at night, but that’s my only opportunity to hit the gym and leaving the house to go ANYWHERE on my own is a privilege I’m unwilling to sacrifice.

3. Multitasking Mania – So you find yourself breastfeeding and trying to scroll through e-mail with one hand, proofing text while folding laundry and a hundred times a day answering non-work related questions during your “work hours.” Can you imagine being in your office and having your boss barge in every five minutes to tell you a co-worker has stolen his stapler or to ask if it’s lunch time yet? Yeah, that would be something, but that’s just another work day in my house. Between breaking up fights, helping with homework, and making dinner I somehow manage to squeeze work in. My typical to-do list has at least half a dozen things on it which include blogging, usually next to laundry, unloading the dishwasher and making doctor appointments.

My office is wherever I can find a quiet spot in my house, but I'm always confronted with household tasks that also need to be done.

My office is wherever I can find a quiet spot in my house, but I’m always confronted with household tasks that also need to be done.

4. Fighting Cleaning OCD – I recently had a conversation with a friend who works from home. She doesn’t have kids, but she still falls into the cleaning trap. You have work to do, but that pile of dishes or laundry is really bugging you. She admitted to doing laundry while on the phone with clients. I do miss the separation of home and work sometimes. I NEVER thought about laundry at my office job. Imagine someone emptied their trash can on your office desk. Beyond being pissed, you simply couldn’t work until your space was clean. Now picture your whole house as your desk and that’s where I’m at.

5. You Must Be Free – There is a misconception that if you are home that you’re just watching TV all day. Let me tell you that my kids are not back to school like most everyone else and I am itching for some free time to work. Case in point, my husband just called to ask me to do something during my “nap time dash/dodging the kids” time to write. I love that recently my husband got a small taste of what my day is like and FINALLY understood this is no cake walk. There are no breaks, save those few minutes I attempt to wolf down a sandwich before someone asks me for another cup of water or a snack after barely touching their lunch. My kids were searching for the remote this morning and I can honestly say I haven’t so much as touched it in two weeks. You may also find yourself volunteering a lot because technically you’re home and you try to work out the balancing of everything else later.

Can I Clock Out Now?

Most working parents know when their work day starts and when it ends. There is also a good chance they have a job description. Working from home means that not only are the lines between work and home blurred, but occasionally they are downright broken. Work and home flow together like a rapid current that can’t be stopped. Sometimes I’m grateful that I’m here for my kids if they are sick or have off from school and sometimes I wish for some division of duties. I met a lady at church who works from home. She said she hired someone to help her with her business and when it became clear her employee wasn’t cut out for that line of work she had the employee watch her kids instead so she could work uninterrupted. Maybe that’s what I need hmm…

This is the WAHM reality most days. Sydney is upset because I dared to put her down to take this photo.

This is the WAHM reality most days. Sydney is upset because I dared to put her down to take this photo.

During the drafting of this post I’ve played the baby dash, taken a call from my husband, made a hair appointment for my daughter, made my bed because I can’t stand working in my bedroom looking at it, been asked for a snack, been informed about an irrelevant topic (I brushed my hair Mom) and I’m just now realizing I forgot to eat breakfast. It’s just another day in the life of a WAHM.

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