Wednesday, March 03, 2010

WAHM, in a picture

Remember how I abandoned my family for four days to get a job? Well, despite being late to the first day of training, I got it. Though I have yet to receive a paycheck, I did submit an invoice so I think it's the real thing. Let me tell you how it's going.

Or I could just show you. This is what being a WAHM (work at home mom) looks like:

I had set the girls up with a wholesome, engaging, non-DVD-based activity so I could get a few minutes to work uninterrupted. After a while I heard some suspicious noises so I stepped out of my room to check on the girls. The above picture is what I found: a tissue box emptied, winter gear strewn about the room, multiple hairbands being worn as necklaces by Magdalena, cardboard boxes pulled out, etc. What a mess!

But you know what? It was totally worth it. The girls were happy, I got my work done, and it only took a few minutes to clean up the mess later. And that's what being a WAHM is like. It's just a big series of trade-offs. If I work while they're awake, chaos generally (but not always) results. If I work during nap/quiet time, it means I don't really get a break during the day. If I work at night, sometimes that's lame because Jeremy is there and it's nice to hang out, you know? However, if I don't work during those times, then what's the point of having a job?

And it is a wonderful job. It is perfectly suited to my life situation and to my skills. It's not as mind-intensive as editing the dictionary, which is nice, and it doesn't require a lot of attention to the computer screen. I mostly just have to sit there and listen attentively and critically. Of course, that means I can't listen to music like I could with my other job, and that I have to wear headphones, which makes me less alert to growing chaos the next room over.

The other difference between this job and editing the dictionary is that free time is harder to come by these days. Back in the day, I did plenty of dictionary editing with a sleeping or nursing Magdalena on my lap. Now she's old enough to be running around emptying tissue boxes, as you see, so I pretty much always have two kids to keep track of if I try to work while they're awake. I also have preschool treasurer duties going on, which takes its share of time.

All in all, I am very happy to be a WAHM again, though I do think the acronym should work out to be WHAM. It certainly would describe the situation better.


Liz Johnson said...

Good for you. I say this kind of thing really can't be avoided anyways (this is what my living room looks like after I take a shower every day), so why fight it? They're having fun, it's not a big deal, etc.

I'm so glad that you have the WHAM thing going for you. :)

Crys said...

I'm coveting your computer. My friend just got a new it! She has her cable, wii, vcr hooked up to it. I've pretty much given up on the macbook pro idea but I think next year when Jason finally graduates and we have a job and the desk top dies I'm going to get a 27 inch mac :) Working at hard definitely gets a little more tricky when you have more kids running around. But then they will go to preschool/school or learn to read chapter books by themselves or play hand held games or be hold enough to hand outside with the neighborhood kids...good to find stuff to entertain oneself before you lose them forever :)

Jennifer said...

That's what my family looks like at the end of almost everyday...even when I'm around, so I'm with Liz--no big deal. I'm glad you have a job you like so much. I enjoy tutoring here and there, but it is a sacrifice of "me" time, like you said, but it makes me feel good about myself.

Andrea said...

Love the picture. It just captures the moment. I'm going to start working from home with a part-time job in a few weeks so I'm glad that Elizabeth isn't quite old enough yet to wreak havoc on the apartment. Good for you for balancing everything and not letting one thing detract too much from another. At least nothing was spilled or plastered on the walls, right?

Bridget said...

That's Jeremy's computer but he does let me touch it sometimes. I use a different one in a different room to work.

Jennifer, that's the point I'm trying to make, that even though being a WAHM cuts down on the "me" time, it has its own rewards. And for me, for now, it's worth it.

Mikael said...

ugh, this is what every room in my house looks like the moment I step onto my computer to send an email or do anything "for myself"... all I do now when I encounter a disaster like this (but mostly 10 times worse) is just kneel down and cry as I clean it up.

Anna said...

WHAM is much cooler than WAHM.

I think you are spot on about the difficulty of deciding which time you want to sacrifice: kid time, personal break time, or spouse time.

I just looked around my living room and then compared it to your picture and concluded that mine is much more trashed than yours was(mostly because of ground up food in the carpet right now). As a WHAM myself, I often think about something President Hinkley said to women. It was something like, "Sisters, you can have it all, just not at the same time."

Right now, because I'm a mom and because of the job I have, I can't have a tidy house, or get all the sleep I want, or be as excellent an employee as I want to be.

Somethings have to give, and those are the main ones.

Kristen said...

Loved this post as I can totally relate, and also really appreciated Anna's comment. Choices. Sacrifices. Give and take. Cost-benefit analysis.


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