Ever since Carson was born, I have been caught in a never-ending hurricane. Working from home with one kid was....dare I say....easy? Simple? Uncomplicated? We had a routine, Everett and I---babysitting hours and a babysitting swap and solid naps every day. I was still cramming work into the nooks and crannies of each day, but it was rather manageable. I still had plenty of time to read Elmo books on the couch and walk to the park and bake cookies in the afternoon. And then sweet little Carson came along and knocked me over. I gave myself a three month maternity leave to soak up his tiny fingers and toes, to breastfeed on demand, to take naps in the middle of the day, to shower or not shower. I needed that time to rest and breathe and find my groove as a mother of two.
Once January rolled around, it felt like a fresh start, as the new year always does. I was coming out of the sleep deprived fog a bit and craving some semblance of a routine. I was ready to get back to it---to the place where I could thrive as a mom and a writer and a wife and not feel like I was constantly paddling under water trying to stay afloat.
It became increasingly clear that the lines between motherhood and work were too blurry. I was trying to be a good mom all day, and I was trying to be good at my job all day. I was working while I was mothering and I was mothering while I was working.
Needless to say, that wasn't working. For anyone.
I think the greatest challenge of working from home with two small children is this: there is no line in the sand, no clear boundaries, no separation of church and state. I'm answering e-mails while doing puzzles. I'm jotting down writing topics while I breastfeed. I'm working on editorial calendars while racing hot wheels. My two hands are constantly doing two different things, and it's starting to feel a little insane.
This week marks a big change in our house. I've lined up babysitting for Everett for two whole mornings a week, effective immediately. It feels good, and weird, and there's a tiny bit of guilt but not much, and I feel lighter already.
It all boils down to: I want to be a good mom when I am mothering and I want to be good at my job when I am working. In order for that to happen, I need to stop trying to do both of those things at the same time.
It's not going to be perfect, but this is my tiny attempt at drawing a line in the sand. You have to start somewhere, right?