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.