Making time

Two years ago, I left my job as a newspaper editor to start a new venture as a freelance writer.

I had just had my second daughter, and dropping those two precious babies off with a babysitter every morning was just more than I could bear – especially when my paychecks were barely covering the cost of daycare.

So, I gave my notice and packed up my desk, ready for a life of bliss as a stay-at-home, work-at-home, super mommy.

I had visions of how my life would be. I’d get up at the crack of dawn to get to work while the kids slept late. We’d have hot breakfast every morning, and then I would spend the day playing and having adventures with the kids. We would head off to the zoo once a week, and hit up every library story time. The kids would nap every day, so I’d get all my work done then. Oh, and my house would be spotless and we would always eat home-cooked dinner. You know, because I’d have nothing but time on my hands.

Can you hear me laughing? I assure you, I am.

That’s not exactly how we roll.

The kids, they don’t sleep in. Ever. And I rarely get up before them.

My house is a mess most of the time. I have a two-year-old and a three-year-old, you know?

I’m not great at keeping up with chores. Who has time for that? It’s not at all uncommon for my husband to come home from working 36 hours straight to find the exact same basket of unfolded laundry sitting in the exact same spot it was when he left.

I work. A lot. I spend way too much of the day sitting in front of my computer and not playing with my kids.

So much for super mom!

There are parts of this that I don’t let get to me. Messy house, dusty shelves, unfolded laundry…I’ll get to it, I promise.

But staring at my computer screen and not my kids, I just can’t have that anymore. They’re growing so fast! Katie is almost done with her first year of preschool, and Claire is not far behind her. I only have them here with me for a short amount of time, and I’m not going to waste it.

I’ve decided it’s time to change my priorities. Instead of finding time for my kids around my work schedule, I’ve got to start planning my work time around my time with my kids. Not all moms are fortunate enough to be able to stay at home. I am, and I need to embrace it.

I started this morning.

Sure, I had work to do. I did the urgent things while they ate breakfast, and then I closed my laptop. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. We all got dressed and headed out for a day on the town. We hit up the library, the post office (one of Katie’s favorite places, really!), McDonald’s and more. When we got home, I did a quick email check, and then we read our library books and watched a movie we rented. And you now what? I actually sat down and watched the entire movie with them, instead of sneaking off to work while they were caught up in the flick.

By the end of the day, I noticed a difference. We had a great day. I didn’t yell at all, probably because I was less stressed from trying to do too many things at once. And they acted up less, probably because they weren’t fighting my laptop for my attention.

Did I have a lot more work to face after bedtime? Of course I did, but I think this super late night was well worth it (so much so that I spent even more time sharing it with all of you!).

I’m not naive enough to say this will happen every day. Deadlines happen, and sometimes they happen fast. Still, I’m going to do whatever I can to make sure days like today are our norm, and computer days are few and far between.

Work will wait, my babies won’t.

work

 

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Comments: 7

  1. kjclements 26 February, 2013 at 8:50 am Reply

    What a very honest post of a “day in the life of…” All mom’s are working moms and we all struggle/struggled with similar visions of our ideal perfect day/week/month/year…and then reality has a way of slapping us in the face. Computers are a necessary evil these days…but, if you are not careful, they can definitely suck time away from what is really important in life…and that is enjoying as many moments you can get with the ones that matter most in your life. Trust me, as you are finding out, babies (toddlers/teenagers) don’t keep!

  2. Beth 26 February, 2013 at 11:26 am Reply

    This made me cry, Whit. I love days like you just described. Cuddles and movies and McDonalds….Best days. You are a great writer, and a very in touch mom. I feel the exact same way. My kids will be babies for only a short season within my lifetime. Work can wait. Good for you! Can’t wait to have a couple days like this with you! I’ll bring my 3 year old and the coffee k?

  3. Samantha 26 February, 2013 at 1:05 pm Reply

    This is an awesome post! I know it is a hard struggle. I actually have a day job & home job so I struggle to find the time for it all and I have definitely noticed, as you mentioned, the days I don’t try to get it all done, we are all MUCH happier. A few things that I’m finding help me, services or software that allow you to do work ahead of time and publish it later. I find it easier to “group” my tasks than to spread them out. Good luck & I hope you find that “perfect” balance.

  4. Rachel 26 February, 2013 at 5:00 pm Reply

    I changed things this year too. When Tony is out of town, I don’t bring any work home, put the phone as far away from me as possible, and plug the laptop in so it’s not convenient to use. My short time in the evenings is spent completely with Taze. We usually don’t even watch TV- it’s games and coloring and crafts! It’s been great! You’re right, time is moving much too quickly!

  5. Amy 2 March, 2013 at 10:07 pm Reply

    I read this article in the Messenger and I really enjoyed it.

    • admin 2 March, 2013 at 11:31 pm Reply

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, Amy! Thanks for visiting me here, and look out for more in the Messenger! :-)

  6. Heather 20 May, 2013 at 12:06 pm Reply

    Honestly I could have written this post. I quit my job with my first son and opened a home day care that I had to quit when I had pregnancy complications with my second and now my stay at home job is working on my blog/networking talking to brands etc. And yes, I know I spend way too much time looking at my laptop then enjoying the days I have with my kids. I have changed my ways though since I started this whole stay at home mom thing. I write a to do list that includes blog “must do” stuff and “must do stuff with the kids”. Weekly play groups help with this also. But I find if you write it down, (If you are a list maker) you’ll get it done. So writing down the priorities of reading with the kids, or playing outside with the kids, it will eventually become routine. Great POST!!! I think every work at home mom should read this, its so relatable!

    P.S. new follower on both Facebook and Twitter!

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