Friday, November 4, 2011

WAHM to the third power

I started back to work this week. Thankfully I work from home and don't have to worry about fitting back in to my "career clothes," getting my whole family out the door every morning, trying to juggle pumps and bottles, and dealing with the whole dreaded dinner hour after an entire day in the office.  No bones about it, my WAH job is the hugest of blessings!  But that doesn't mean it's easy.  In fact, it's so much harder.  Because somehow I have to figure out a way to be an admissions counselor and a mom simultaneously.  A task that gets more and more interesting with the arrival of each new baby.

I started to get stressed out on Sunday afternoon thinking about work and all the other things I needed to accomplish that day and the rest of the week.  Then Julia started crying so I picked her up, snuggled down and the couch, prayed for God to calm my fears ... and then we both fell asleep.  I woke up an hour later feeling much better, still apprehensive but not so anxious.  And the week went fairly well.  Not perfect by any means, but by the grace of God we made it through.  And I'm confident that as we start to develop our new routine things will go even more smoothly.

On my second day back to work this week I had an hour-ish long meeting to telecommute in to.  Fielding phone calls and emails with three little ones is one thing, but committing yourself to a phone and computer for an hour straight is something quite different.  This is part of the reason I hired a Mother's Helper this summer but sadly he had to go back to school and with Jack in preschool I haven't really looked for a replacement.  So I started planning way ahead for this day.  By the time my meeting started I had Jack settled in the den with a movie and strict intructions to be quiet, Jude as far away from his brother as possible upstairs in his room with a snack and some toys and Julia asleep in the swing.  Of course, she woke up a little later and then I ended up bouncing her on my knees for part of the time.  When the meeting crossed over into lunchtime I pulled some pre-prepared lunches out the fridge, slipped them to my boys in their respective locations and got right back into the discussion.  And somehow it all worked out without anyone getting upset or injured.  Phew.

Trying to manage both "jobs" often manifests itself in peculiar situations.  Phone calls for instance.  My office phone is forwarded to my cell phone, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  You would be shocked at how many people think the office is staffed at 11 at night ... or 6 in the morning.  While I take care of a lot of my outgoing phone calls during nap time, I can't control when someone calls in.  If I get a call and the kids are being loud (i.e. not asleep) then I have to quick find a quiet place to chat.  In the "Beach Nest" this was our pantry closet.  It had a nice little light, and I'd keep a tablet and pen in there to take notes.  In the "'Burb Nest" I'd go into the very corner of the closet in the office, muffled behind Jon's uniforms because the walls were so thin.

He certainly doesn't look like the kind of kid that would lock his mama in the garage...

In our current place, I usually run to the office and shut the door (which is why Jack will sometimes run to the office with the calculator saying "I have a phone call.") But unfortunately, there is no closet of uniforms to hide behind.  I try to give the person on the other line my full-attention but sometimes it's hard when I can hear Jack testing out a new wrestling move on his little brother in the next room.  And if they're not playing, they usually try to come find me.  The other day Jack started pounding on the door and yelling for me to "Hey, open up! Open up!"  There's no lock on the office door and he kept getting louder and louder so I used my foot to keep it shut and stretched as far into the room as I could, while cupping my hand over the phone, to keep the noise down.  And then he got louder.  So I quick darted off into the garage.  Jack broke into the office and started pounding on the garage door.  Which does have a lock ... too bad it's on the other side of the door.  So in an effort to find his mama, Jack accidentally locked the door... and trapped me in the garage.  Now this really isn't as dramatic as it sounds, because I could easily just push the button and let myself out the main garage door.  But the door is really loud and I was still stuck on the phone with a very long-winded student.  So in the meantime, I could hear Jack running out the front door and pattering through the leaves outside the garage, still calling for mommy.  The good news is, both the baby and Jude slept through the whole ordeal.  I think I'm going to start searching ebay for a soundproof booth...

A newborn is actually quite easy from a work-at-home standpoint.  She sleeps most of the time and I've even been able to make a few phone calls while nursing.  I just have to make sure I'm talking extra loud in case she starts making her signature chugging sounds.  And when she's having a rough moment and needs some mommy time I've figured out a way to accomplish both simultaneously.  If I sit at just the right angle on the couch, I can rest a baby on my chest and still type with two hands on my laptop.  Perfect!


And then there's Jude, my ever-curious middle child.  He's very interested in the laptop - points to it all day saying "Mama, maaa-ma!"  He likes to watch me type ... and then thinks he should be able to do the same thing.  I have to keep a good eye on him now, otherwise he'll crawl up on the chair and go all concert pianist-like on my keyboard.  This week he wiped out an entire paragraph of some minutes I had been editing and replaced it with a bunch of random keystrokes.  I'm just thankful for the control-z function. 


And while there are some parts of this week I wish I could "control-z" they are quickly forgotten in light of a fantastic Friday night.  We spent it together as a family at Chick-Fil-A and Target.  And even though my attempt to find a suitable pair of jeans (several sizes larger than I normally wear) was unsuccessful, it was still nice to spend some time together as a family, out of the house.  And ending the night with a bowl of peanut butter chocolate ice cream while Jon has some Daddy/Daughter bonding time is a great start to a weekend of playing catch-up.  I catch up on work, Jon catches up on yard projects, and maybe we'll both catch-up on some sleep.  Okay, maybe not this weekend.  Then again, Daylight Savings Time has never looked better!


Anonymous said...

That picture of you and Julia is precious. Before ya know it she'll be too big and squirmy to lay like that =(

JSS said...

The photo of you and Julia should be the poster for WAHM! Loved it.

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