Guilt trips: not as much fun as business trips, but at least there’s no packing required

by CountryFriedMama on November 15, 2009

I have been fairly obsessed lately with finding ways to make working from home work for me and my family.  In the spirit of this obsession, I hereby declare that this shall be:

Work-From-Home Week at Country-Fried Mama

Tune in each day this week for:

•    Tactical advice for those working from home with kids underfoot,
•    The ugly truth: when working from home becomes B-A-D, and
•    Interviews with several other moms/bloggers who mix work and motherhood.

Before I get to any of that though, I need to deal with the guilt factor.

After a couple of years focused almost solely on nurturing babies and honing my skills as a domestic engineer, I am working again.

I probably should have folded tiny socks tonight.  I should have spent some time with my husband before he heads off on a business trip in the morning.  I should have put away the breakfast casserole that is still sitting in the oven, 13 hours after we finished breakfast.

But I didn’t, because I had a deadline.  So, I sat at my cluttered dining room table and did my best to write a document for a client about a topic that kind of makes my head hurt.  I finished it, and even if it’s not quite right, even if I need to make some serious edits to it tomorrow, I can point to it now and say, “Look, I did that.  It is done.  There is a reward for having done it.  I will spend my reward on food, or clothes, or toys.”

There are innumerable rewards to motherhood, of course, but the job is never done, and there are few tangible rewards for having done it.

While “Mommy” will always be my most important title, I am pleased, suddenly, that it is not my only one.

That’s not to say I’m guilt-free about working.  And so, I will open Work-From-Home Week with the transcript of the following conversation, most of which happened in my own head.

* * *

Me: I think I need to get some help with Belly during the day.  I can’t keep up with my workload.

Country-Fried Daddy: Okay.  What are you thinking about doing?

Me: Well, it would just be a babysitter a few hours a week.  It’s not a big deal.

CFD: Okay.

Me: I just can’t get everything done during nap time!  She’s not an infant anymore, you know.  She doesn’t tolerate my working the way she used to.

CFD: Well, that makes sense.

Me: It’s not like she’s going to daycare all week. (Not that I find anything wrong with that, folks.  I’ve been down that road, too.) It’s only a few hours.

CFD: I agree.

Me: I don’t want to have to work every night after they go to bed.  It’s not sustainable.

CFD: I know.  You should hire the sitter.

Me: Well, stop judging me, already.

CFD: I’m not judging you at all.  If having a babysitter a couple mornings a week would help, then we should do that.

Me: I don’t know why you can’t understand where I’m coming from.

CFD: Umm.  Yeah.

* * *

While I tortured myself (and my husband) over the decision to bring in some childcare help, Belly has reacted well to it.  She has a dedicated playmate for several hours a week, and I have some time during which I can focus on an idea and follow it through from beginning to end without interruption.

The guilt is not gone, but it is diminished a bit.  Belly has made it easy on me.  She smiles at me when I leave the house, and she is still smiling when I get home.  If she kicked and screamed and cried, I might lose my resolve.

Speaking of kicking and screaming and crying, join me tomorrow when I talk about how to conduct a conference call while managing the temper tantrum of a  three-year-old.

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{ 4 trackbacks }

AdAge knows I don’t have time to clean my house | Country-Fried Mama
November 19, 2009 at 3:38 pm
I’m not ready for my close-up (but I need to get ready) | Country-Fried Mama
December 29, 2009 at 11:39 am
You’ve been Stumbled!
March 29, 2010 at 6:49 am
Food fight: why I’m rededicating myself to local, organic products, even if I have to pay more | Country-Fried Mama
April 28, 2010 at 3:05 pm

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Mel November 16, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Love the term “domestic engineer” for a working mother. It truly describes everything you must do during the day. Fix things when they are broken (toys, boo boos); juggling several needs at once (meals, school, potty time; play time, your work); problem solving (how to cram everything into a few available hours); making complex decisions based on available facts(what to do, where to go, laundry, housework, shopping); logging on to check work status(CFM, email, work work); communicating with all around you(CFD, Miss D and Miss A, PR, students). You deserve a big raise and a promotion….VP of Domestic Engineering Management.


jennifer, playgroups are no place for children November 16, 2009 at 4:05 pm

I’ve had a version of that exact conversation with my husband.

Good for you for having a title other than mommy. It’s a great title, but it’s also nice to have others.


Bubbe November 16, 2009 at 6:51 pm

your the queen of multitasking and giving your kids a huge array of experiences to boot! Do not waste any minutes on guilt :)


Zen Mom November 16, 2009 at 10:40 pm

You too? I’ve been having the same conversations (only in my head) about how to make money AND deal with a three year old in tow. Look forward to those tips.


faemom November 17, 2009 at 10:49 pm

Husbands. They just don’t understand. Ugh.
I’m looking forward to these posts.


Kim November 18, 2009 at 9:00 am

I have been looking forward to this series since you said you were doing it. I work in an office, and on the rare occasion, I have to work from home. I would really love to freelance, and have a more flexible schedule, but don’t have the confidence to do that yet.


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