A few months ago, I sat in my car, waiting for the bell to ring so I could go into my son’s school and pick him up. I had a quick idea for a writing pitch, and knew I needed get it out or it would be forgotten, along with about 20 other things I was supposed to remember that day.
I furiously searched around the car and found a napkin. I was pretty sure it hadn’t been used, but I couldn’t be sure. It didn’t matter though — desperate times call for desperate measures. I was kicking myself for hopping in the car empty-handed. I had nothing to write with either. My cell phone was forgotten on the table at home. It was a good pitch, and dammit, I needed to write it down right now. I cringed as I plunged my hand under the backseats, but it was worth it. I had never been so happy to see half of an orange crayon. I jotted my idea down: “reasons women should masturbate,” and left it out in plain sight knowing I would forget it otherwise.
As my fourth-grade son and I settled in the car, chatting about his day, I had already forgotten about my self-stimulating napkin. That is, until he started reading it out loud, taking his time sounding out “mas-tur-bate.” Of course, he asked me what it meant, and I told him. I then followed up by saying it is perfectly normal to masturbate, and fine to do it, as long as it’s in the privacy of your bedroom.
The way I see it, I was multitasking. A pitch for work lead to a talk with my son that I needed to have anyway — done and done. Moms are made for this shit.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Women who work are badass, women who stay at home are badass, and women who are doing both at the same time are fucking hardcore.
Working from home means you have moments when you are simultaneously on the toilet, soothing a crying child, and answering an email. You know how to pull your shit together really fast for an important call. A deadline can get moved up without a lot of notice, and you know you have to deliver, sometimes in between playing trucks or taking care of your sick daughter.
You squeeze as much as you can out of each moment. Multitasking reaches a whole other level when you are momming and working during the same hours. You discover really fast that’s the only way to do it because your kids and your boss tend to need you during the same time.
Keeping your parenting role separate from your work role is possible, just not all the time. Dinner often gets prepped with one hand while you are still in work mode, and of course, mom mode (because we are always in mom mode). Your balancing act is strong. You strive to work smarter, not harder, this way you can give more to your family, your job, and yourself.
You are rarely bored. Hopping from work duties to home duties keeps you on your toes. When you only have to deal with one of them at a time, like if the kids are playing nicely and you can focus on work, or you are all caught up with work stuff and can make cupcakes with the kids, it feels like a vacation.
You can get away with things such as taking a Skype call without dressing your bottom half. No one will know you threw on a blazer or sweater over your nightgown, and it makes you deliciously happy. (Unless, of course, your toddler busts in like the Kool-Aid man, followed by the baby in a walker, and you can’t stand up because you’re not wearing pants, but you decide it is worth the risk anyway.)
You find yourself looking for special toys or movies for your kids, and then saving them to bust out when things get dicey and you have a deadline. And when this works, you feel like a freaking superhero. You get really good at giving your children a look that says, “Don’t you dare bother me right now unless you or someone else is bleeding.”
I love what I do, and a huge part of that is because I am still able to be home with my children. I want to work, but I also want to be with them. I decided a few years ago I didn’t want to have to choose. I like that they get to see their mom in action getting stuff done for work as well as scrubbing the toilets. (They also see me binge-watching old episodes of Desperate Housewives while devouring Cheetos. I can’t be on all the time.)
Women are multifaceted, and mothering is not a one-size-fits-all kind of gig. We all know that because it is pointed out to us all the time. Even though I’m frazzled and harried at times, I enjoy working from my home because my job gives me some autonomy (and some money), and there is nothing more satisfying than nurturing your kids and your dreams.