To The SAHM And The Working Mom, From A Work-From-Home Mom

by Jen McConnel

I’m sorry it took me so long to reply to your notes; I wasn’t entirely sure where I’d fit in your conversation. Sure, I know we’re all more alike than we are different, and I know that at the end of the day, we want what’s best for our children, our families and ourselves, but the “us vs. them” mentality of the Internet doesn’t really seem to have room for moms like me, who bridge the divide by working and parenting from home.

In the spirit of understanding and supporting each other on this wild ride called motherhood, here are five things you might not know about me, the hybrid mom who works from home.

1. I feel like I have to do it all. Even though my husband is super supportive of my work, the fact is that because my office happens to be in the dining room, I feel like I’m slacking if I don’t put in a full day of work and clean the kitchen and run a couple loads of laundry. The first time I hit a deadline after my daughter was born, I was reduced to a neurotic, sobbing mess, worrying that I was shortchanging her by completing my work. Once the work was done, I was afraid I’d skimped because of my new mom responsibilities.

I have to keep reminding myself that I’m only human, but the “shoulds” of both my work and my mom roles keep trying to smother me.

2. Scheduling is a bitch. Although I’ve gotten pretty good at working efficiently during nap times (thank goodness for baby wearing!), I still feel a tug of guilt every time I have to hand the baby to my husband to finish a project when he gets home from work. Also, there’s always a little voice in the back of my mind when I’m playing with my daughter that wonders if I’ve done enough work for the day. It’s no longer about work–life balance: It’s an exhausting juggling act, and my type-A personality is ever vigilant about keeping all the balls in the air. Add to it the fact that I finally start to figure out the new schedule when the baby moves the goal post again, and my work weeks never look the same—but that doesn’t mean I can give up craving an orderly schedule!

3. It’s really hard to find other moms who “get” it. My friends who work outside the home seem to have a tribe of other working mothers to lean on, and my friends who are SAHMs have their own community, whether virtual or face-to-face. As a mom who works from home, however, I struggle to find other moms with a similar situation, and because of that, sometimes I feel a bit isolated.

4. I’m in awe of both of you. I miss working out of the home and having set hours for my job, and I also wonder what it would be like if my brain wasn’t so full of tasks and I could focus on my little one (and the house) with total concentration. But at the same time, I know I couldn’t do what both of you do, however much I might wish I could. Working from home and parenting at the same time is hard, but most of the time it’s what works best for me, and I tip my hat to both of you for the work you do.

5. I think the fact that we’re even having this conversation is awesome. Seriously, can you imagine our mothers ever having this interchange? It’s great that there are so many ways to make a life, and I think the diversity of our choices will empower our children to go even farther than we have. There are so many amazing mom role models for our daughters (and sons), and I hope that they are able to add even more choices to the table when they are making their own family decisions in years to come.

When it comes right down to it, I’m lucky to be able to create a working life that includes my child (and a parenting life that includes my work), but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy choice. Still, I think it’s pretty great that we are parenting in a time where there are choices like this, and even if being a SAHM or a working mom aren’t my choices, I want you both to know that I value you and your work (all forms of it!). There’s no one right way to be a modern mom, but I think we’re all doing pretty fabulously. After all, the kids are fed and we’re still mostly sane at the end of the day—that’s something worth celebrating!

Love and respect,

A Work-From-Home Mom