Putting in My Eight Hours

Like most stay-at-home parents, I work. I have two part-time jobs; I’m a freelance writer and I teach a class of 2-year-olds at a Mom’s Day Out program. Most of my writing work is with local colleges and universities writing promotional pieces like department features and student profiles. I started teaching at the Mom’s Day Out program last year so the boys could go for free and enjoy the social interaction. I kept doing it this year so I would have a steady paycheck to help pay for John’s Montessori program. And the kids are really sweet too.

The freelance work I picked up over a year ago, and that’s the work I do because I love it. It keeps my finger in the career pool and all, but I really enjoy talking to interesting academics and making their esoteric research accessible to people who have no idea what they do or why it matters. It’s that little thing I do that is completely for myself.

Today looked like this:

5:30am-6:30am – This week I’ve been getting up every morning at 5:00am to work on writing projects. Today I slept in until 5:30am.

8:30am-1:30pm – Taught at Mom’s Day Out program.

2:45pm-3:45pm – Lesson planned for Mom’s Day Out next week while the boys were napping.

4:00pm-5:00pm – Interviewed individual for current freelance project.

It’s funny how despite the rise of the non-traditional workplace, people tend to think stay-at-home parents are all non-wage earners who MUST have ridiculous amounts of time on their hands. Most of the stay-at-home parents I know also earn an outside wage in some capacity. They are doulas, teachers, home-based salespersons, they own their own businesses, provide childcare, or they work part-time for their employers from home. And if they aren’t wage earners, it’s because they are contributing a large cost-saving service to their family in the form of things like homeschooling.

Yesterday was not a great day to be a work-at-home parent. At one point I was racing down a back county road, handing McDonald chicken nuggets and french fries to my boys in the backseat while I drove, and seriously questioning what great thing I though I was giving my children by “staying home” with them. It was a very atypical day with multiple client interviews and a huge miscommunication regarding childcare that I couldn’t have planned for. And it was the first time they’d eaten McDonalds since our summer travels in July, but to me it felt like a failure. I should keep a stash of wholesome, freshly prepared food in my bag FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS. 

I know it’s the little moments I have with them every day, throughout the day, even on days when I work a full eight hours, that make all the difference. It’s for them, but it’s for me too.

They thought chicken nuggets in the car was the best thing that had ever happened to them.

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9 Comments

Filed under brother bears, it's cold up here on this soapbox, life happens, WAHP

9 responses to “Putting in My Eight Hours

  1. Julie Melloan

    thanks for that, rebekah! i often think of how simple life would be if i dropped the kids at daycare at 8 and went to an office to work from 9-5. but…i wouldn’t trade the craziness of working from home and all the quality time with the kiddos.

  2. Yeah… the way i look at it, I work FULL time as a mom AND have two PART-time jobs. So I pull a 60+ hour work week. Add in waking several times a night to feed an infant… oh yeah, we stay busy us ‘sit at home’ moms! Thanks for a great post! Shoot and those weeks (such as this) when Yura works overtime… life is B-U-S-Y! I’m desperately trying to not do the ‘drive-thru’ dinners and haven’t since my mcd’s in the car meal back in August. But sometimes it’s so hard to remember to pack snacks. Thanks for the reminder, think I’ll head to the grocery tomorrow to stock up!

    By the way, E LOVES school and I am forever indebted to you and Abby for being so great to her and allowing me to have to juggle only 1 baby while I work at home a bit!

    • I’m so glad E is enjoying school. She is such a fun kid.

      Sometimes I think I’m setting my standards too high. I don’t hold anyone else to that standard so why should I hold myself to it?

  3. Debby Pruet

    Just to note – It is even OK to stay at home and NOT work for a paycheck. I work harder than I did when I had a job. I still do eventhough my children are in high school now. I volunteer – the unpaid worker!!:) .

    • You are definitely one of the people I had in mind when I talked about those who contribute a large cost-saving service to their family. I thought it would make the sentence too long if I said, “and people who handle all the logistical issues surrounding moving a family from one continent to another every 2-4 years.” :)

  4. Robyn

    Hey Rebekah,

    You moms have to stop striving for a totally unrealistic version of perfection. It sounds like you are a better mom, wife, and person because of all the things you do. Who says you can’t have it all – just have it all, your way. Do whatever works for you and your family… and give yourself a break. McDonalds is hardly the worst thing to give James and John… and they loved the chicken and fries. Give yourself the right to do whatever you feel is good for your family and then just enjoy the ride… and the chicken nuggets…

    • When I was beating myself up over the McNuggets, I thought about how if someone else told this story about themselves I would probably roll my eyes and tell them to get over it. Thanks for being that friend, Robyn. ;)

      • Robyn

        I am giving you an extra eye-roll… for good measure! We miss you guys so much… I just love the updates and pictures of those models you hired to play John and James… the resemblance is pretty good, but the models are way too old and big!

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