Be forewarned: I haven’t had any coffee today and I’m starving. Sorry if this may offend anyone which I’m totally not trying to do.
So the other day I was having a conversation with a friend about work; she complained about her bothersome boss and patronizing coworker and I did the same (Boss = Kids), and how much I am in need of a vacation from this summer vacation (fellow parents who do not have children in summer camp this year will totally understand where I am coming from here). We laughed and comforted one another, provided some words of encouragement and honest advice and then what threw me off shortly after was something I don’t often hear from others: “I really commend you for being able to juggle the work you do at home while raising and caring for the kids all day. Especially during the summer. I’d probably go crazy.”
As a mother and work-from-home blogger/freelance social strategist, I don’t often hear this.
Just last week, I was on the phone with a client and my kids were playing in the background rather loudly. I ran to shut my office door so that they wouldn’t be subjected to hearing the sounds of my kids yelling out “Poo-poo head!” or making pseudo fart sounds from their armpits or mouth followed by fits of laughter, and carried on with our business chat as usual trying to maintain my professionalism as best I can. Suddenly, you can hear my son crying for me from behind the door because his sister wouldn’t open a popsicle for him so he needed me to do it. I ignored his whines for help and continued with the conversation discussing ways I can assist this client in increasing visibility for a new product launch commencing in the next few weeks.
I apologized of course for the background sounds while quietly opening my door, quickly opening the popsicle for my son, and then closing the door again. Flustered, I take a seat back at my desk and tried to refocus.
My kids are typically amazing when they are told to behave and that mommy would be on a business call for the next 10-15 minutes. Not this time. And there have been many times they haven’t.
They’re 3 and 7. And usually, the tiny culprit of apathy is my sweet three year old son. I don’t blame him, he doesn’t know any better.
The client chuckled and said not to worry and that she has nieces and nephews so she understands. She then proceeded with mentioning that her sister who works full-time during the day tells her funny and challenging stories all the time about motherhood but that it must be more easier for me because of the fact that I can choose my own work hours and that I’m not as busy since I work from home.
Yeee-ah. That must be it. Total sarcasm, by the way.
Don’t worry, I did not respond with a feisty statement, you know, being extremely exhausted by this point physically, mentally and emotionally for all the “extra hours” I have in a day. Instead, I ignored it and carried on with my focus at hand.
After this chat, I still had to throw in some laundry and get dinner prepped so I would have time to edit photos for ONE post which would take a good 1-2 hours depending on how many pictures followed by completing content for another that was ready to be published that night which is another 1-2 hours or so.
You would think my close-knit and well meaning circle of family and friends would be a lot more empathetic or at least better at acknowledging the type of work I do on a daily basis (my actual paying work outside of motherhood), but to no avail. Even to this day, some of them still do not understand what I do, how I do it, how much work goes into it and that not just anyone could jump in there and “start a blog”. It’s actually quite degrading when someone I know would tell me that they’d like to start blogging too because it looks like fun, and oh, let’s not forget all the free stuff you get too! *side eye* Everyone just seems to think I have all the time in the world. And oh I wish I did. I really do. Perhaps then, I would be able to take up that calligraphy or German-speaking class I’ve always wanted to take, maybe even simply meet a friend up for coffee and dessert or even take a bath for half an hour undisturbed. Ooh, that sounds amazing.
Apologies if this sounds like a rant-y rhetoric, maybe it is; but what I want everyone to understand is that no matter what kind of work someone is doing, whether it’s at home, in an office downtown, a retail or coffee shop, etc. — dedication, grind, blood, sweat and tears goes into it.
If you don’t fully comprehend what someone close to you (or not even close to you, whatever!), is doing on a day-to-day to pay their bills and feed their families, please avoid commenting as if you do, most often undermining the true value and commitment they put into it.
Ask questions if you’re curious and try to better understand; don’t ever assume. And please stop with the comparisons. I don’t have a large village like some other moms do. I can’t simply find someone to babysit my children at the last minute or even at times, with a weeks notice.
I am thankful for my cheerleaders and mentors while I navigate this life with some semblance of grace and dignity, I really am. But please, PLEASE stop telling me that I have all the time in the world. If you’re playing Pokemon Go and happen to find that special and rare creature aka that extra time I so-called have running around somewhere near me, let me know.
And for the record, I do not play Pokemon Go (although it seems fun and cute and a great way to get out and about). I just don’t have the time.