A while back, a friend asked me to watch her sick kid. “I can’t take him to work with me,” she said.
There was a long silence as I thought about the implications of that statement and about the importance of this friendship. I thought about reminding her that my own kid—a kid I love very deeply—was in daycare because my work requires a great deal of concentration, concentration that is tough to come by with a kid at home.
This led to me feeling a bit guilty.
Why couldn’t I find a way to watch my own kid? Am I just being selfish? That led to me feeling angry about feeling guilty which led to me wanting to say a lot of things that would not have been good for the friendship.
So I ended up saying, “No, I can’t do that. Sorry. I’ve got to go. I’ve got another call.”
The incident got me thinking about the disconnect between work-at-home moms and the rest of the world. People just don’t understand what we do all day long, do they?
11 Things that Friends of Work-at-Home Moms Usually Don’t Know
(But we all secretly wish they did)
#1: Work-at-Home Moms do, in fact, earn money. It might be true that some just earn enough money to buy souvenirs at Disney once a year. Many of us, however, earn a salary that is equivalent to a full time office job, and some of us out earn our spouses.
#2: If you think the people who launched Facebook worked a lot of hours to make it a success, then you are beginning to understand the daily existence of a Work-at-Home Mom.
#3: Some of us decided to work at home for the flexible schedule. Others did it because we are more productive when we’re wearing pajamas. Still others did it because we enjoy bossing ourselves around and we don’t enjoy it when others boss us around instead.
#4: If you come to the door unannounced and you wonder what smells, it’s might be our breath—because we’ve been that busy.
#5: If you hear us screaming obscenities, it’s might be because the power went out during an important Skype conference call. Or it might be because we forgot to turn on auto save.
#6: Many of us have our kids in daycare because we can’t get our jobs done while whiney voices are saying things like, “Mommy I’m bored!” “Mommy can I stick a butter knife in the electric socket? Pleeease?” and “Mommy, I just spilled juice on the leather sofa. Just letting you know.” Others have their kids at home but wish they were in daycare.
#7: Some of us who have our kids in daycare can be a wee bit sensitive about the question, “Where are your little ones?” At times you might hear us respond with sarcasm like, “Oh, him? I think I left him at the mall a few days ago. I’m sure he’ll be fine” and “I keep him locked in his closet while I’m working.”
#8: We didn’t choose to work at home so we could baby sit your children. See points #6 and #7. We also didn’t choose to work at home so we could run errands for you or walk your dog.
#9: When we don’t work, we don’t get paid. We don’t work on vacations and weekends because we’re work-a-holics (although some of us are) or because we’re addicted to our iPhones or email (although some of us are). We do it because we don’t like hearing the word “foreclosure”.
#10: We are not happy when the schools close due to snow and we spend a lot of time thinking about why the officials who make these decisions are trying to torment us. If you want to become our BFF’s for life, offer to watch our kids on a snow day.
#11: When you call during our work hours and you get voice mail, it’s not because we’re not home. It’s because we have Caller ID.
Alisa Bowman has been a work-at-home mom for 11 years. She is the author of Project: Happily Ever After, a memoir about how she saved her marriage. She is also the creator of ProjectHappilyEverAfter.com, a gathering spot for recovering divorce daydreamers.