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.