April 6, 2018

Career Advice

Working From Home: Having It All Doesn’t Mean Doing It All Yourself

By: Janene Schmitz

In my last post I talked about the pros and cons of working from home with a baby and the challenges it presents. Overwhelmingly, my biggest challenge is time. It was relatively easy to get the work done I needed to when my daughter was napping three times a day for an hour and a half each time. Now that she is down to a single, two-hour nap, I am constantly stressed about the work I am (or am not) getting done, or worse, having to work while she is awake and has no one else to play with.

I started getting short tempered with her when she would not let me get an email out that really needed to be sent, then I felt bad the rest of the day for being frustrated with this innocent baby who just wants to be part of what mom does. Feeling like I was failing both my job and my baby was quickly eating away at my sanity.

Thank God my husband noticed too, and before I could actually become depressed (something I was quickly spiraling towards) we came up with a game plan. I either needed to quit my job, or we needed a part-time babysitter. I needed help with at least one area of my life, and it took me a while to accept this. I didn’t want help. I wanted to raise my baby all by myself, and I also wanted to keep working. Of course this is prideful, and not something I am proud of. But it’s still how I felt, and I had to come to terms with how I felt before we could make a choice. Accepting my feelings on this topic allowed me to see the issue more clearly and make a choice.

Ultimately, we decided that if I could find a babysitting situation I was comfortable with, we would give it a go. I listed out what I would not compromise on which included:

  • No more than two hours, three to four times a week. Just enough to get the work done without interruption so I was free to play with her and take care of her the rest of the day.
  • It made financial sense.
  • It had to be someone I trusted completely with my baby and could help at different times during different weeks due to the nature of my job.

It turns out that my friend (and Total Whine co-blogger) was totally game to take her for a few hours a few times a week, and Gianna ADORES her daughter and asks for “Ebbie” all the time. Evelyn in turn laughs her butt off at Gianna’s crazy antics. It’s a great tradeoff, and I had a huge weight lifted off me when I finally made this decision.

But – and there is a but – I am still coming to terms with needing help. I still get anxious about being away from her a few hours a day, even though I know she is in great hands and probably loves seeing another kiddo a few times a week. I love that it’s flexible and we can shift schedules easily each week. But I still don’t love that I need to do this. I wish I was able to do my job and not need help watching my baby. But why? What is pushing me to feel like asking for help is failing? For me, it all circles back to the “have it all” mentality that is so prevalent today.

Women today are constantly told we can “have it all,” but what exactly does this mean? No matter how you slice it, life choices involve trade-offs. I don’t know where or when this “have it all” mentality started, but it is misleading and can often lead to a mom feeling like a failure if she isn’t doing 100 jobs at full capacity.

Attempting to have it all, and do it all, on my terms was not realistic and left me in a very vulnerable emotional state. What IS realistic is making the choice to do what’s best for our family in our situation right now. I just needed some help getting there.

This post appeared first on Total Whine.