Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Balancing Act

I have the best of both worlds. I am a work from home mom. Not only did I get to keep a version of my job after Lady Baby arrived, but I get to do it from home. I didn't miss first steps, first words, or first temper tantrums. I have been here for every step of her life, dragging my lap top behind me. But (there is always a but isn't there?) it is not easy. There are time management issues. There are child management issues. There are house management issues. My issues have issues.

Balancing Act
Did you know I could do this?
That's skillz. With a Z.
When I was sitting at my desk very pregnant, I would daydream about life after baby (I was way too big to be productive and one must pass the time). Working from home seemed so doable. So uncomplicated. So not stressful. Ha! I scoff at my foolish former self, with her silly daydreams and full night's sleep. I assumed (ass=me) that it would be, wait for it, EASY. Wrong again, genius. It is far from easy. The only part that is uncomplicated is the step where I plug my lap top in, and sometimes even that is complicated because of those little plastic covers that you have to use a butter knife to get out of the socket. The rest is a balancing act of epic proportions. It takes organization, motivation, and brain power. Three things which I have been lacking in a big way for the last 21 months. 

Pre-child I was the manager of a two doctor optometrist office. I was in charge of a staff of five people. I ran the office, filled-in where needed, made sure people were doing their jobs, did all the billing and filed all of insurance. (Side note--you read the part where I mentioned I was in charge of other people, right? Now I can't even get a toddler to listen to me.) I wasn't Russel Simmons or The Trump, but I was very busy and in charge. Fast forward to month eight of being pregnant, also known as "get your schmit together time" and/or "last minute." We realized day care was super expensive and pointless, because I would basically be working to pay for childcare. Not to mention the late nights and general emotional exhaustion. So with heart palipatatons and a shaky voice, I asked my bosses if I could step down as manager and continue to do the insurance and billing portion of my job part time. Not only did they seem relieved (I later learned they thought I was going to quit all togheter), they offered for me to work from home. It was if a little fairy had come along and crapped my greatest wish right in the palm of my hand. Work from home? In my pyjamas yoga pants? With my perfect angel of a child snuggled beside me (This was my prechild daydream. I didn't know, okay?) How about "yes, please" times a million. I practically started to cry. Or I did actually started to cry. It's a little fuzzy, but either scenerio is possible. We did some negotiating on duties and pay. I would be contract and I would continue to do everything with insurance and billing and credentialing. I was prepared to begin living the dream, baby.

I do live the dream. Everyday I spend the mornings doing stuff with Her Highness. Activities, classes, playdates, and various kinds tot-enriching fun. I spend the afternoons working while she gets her beauty sleep. I also work sometimes in the evenings. Occasionally in the mornings before Alice wakes up. Often after everyone else in the house goes to sleep. When she is at preschool, I am at Starbucks or Panera working and eating muffins. Forget that last part about the muffins--not important. It is not unheard of for me to stand at the kitchen counter while dinner is cooking, doing work. I find the time whenever I can. Sometimes it is hours, other times I can only grab minutes. I feel like I am perpetually running and can never quite catch up. Sometimes the dream is a nightmare. There is always more to do. Never enough time or energy. It is annoying and frustrating and totally completely worth it.

If only I could talk to that chick daydreaming at eight months pregnant. I would yell at her, actually. "It's not going to be easy. It's not going to be relaxing. Yes, you can wear your yoga pants, but then when you leave the house people will wonder why you never make an effort even if it is just Target and baby music class, so you won't. You will wear jeans and flats and fix your hair. You will even wear eyeliner. You will want to nap while your child naps, but you can't. Because you are a work from home mom. The baby is not going to make it easy on you, so forget that. She is going to have colic and barf a lot. A LOT. She will also have a desire for 100% of your attention. So rest now hugely pregnant girl. And enjoy those comfy maternity pants. You are going to miss those."

Please don't think I am complaining. I know that I am one of the lucky ones. I get to have a foot in both worlds. While it is exhausting and at times frustrating to straddle lives, it is totally worth it. I love not having to rush out the door in the mornings, and I love that I am exhausted at night because I have been wrangling my child at the park, not because I have been seeing patients. Just don't expect my house to be spotless. Don't assume I have all the time in the world to cook fancy dinners and make homemade bread. And lord knows, when I say I am tired, please don't tell me to take a nap when Lady Baby does. Ain't gonna happen. I have work to do.


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