I feel like I have a confession to make. While I’m happy that my daughter got a chance to relax over winter break, the combination of a work-from-home mother and her 4-year-old daughter trying to coexist in the same house for two weeks turned me into a really horrible mom. Honestly, I became the worst version of myself. And it made my mom guilt soar to new, surprising levels.
I realize that just last week, I was vowing not to over-analyze or critique my parenting quite so much. But I guess I join countless other New Year’s resolutioners in failing at my goal less than a week after it began. (Hey, have you hit the gym yet? Or thrown out the holiday treats? I’m not alone here.) Honestly though, I feel like this year’s winter break gave me a big insight into my own work life balance and my abilities as a mother.
When people hear that I work from the comfort of my couch, their first or second comment normally sounds like this: “It must be nice to have so much extra time to spend with your daughter,” or “That’s great that you can be home when you have a little one.” There’s always this assumption that working from home means I’m capable of being a mom and an employee at the same time.
That assumption is oh-so-wrong. And I realized just how amazingly wrong it was when I tried to take care of my daughter during the work day while she was home on winter break.
My original thought was that just a few days of working with my daughter at home wouldn’t be so bad. She would have plenty of new toys to keep her occupied. I might have to take more breaks to get glasses of water or put clothes on a Barbie, but in general, I’d be able to get small blocks of work done as needed. The reality of my situation was very different.
As the days went on, I found myself popping in movies at an increasing frequency. When I asked my daughter about all her new toys from the holidays, she said that they weren’t much good if no one was playing with her. Once her cousins came over, the situation got only marginally better. I was still bribing them with popsicles and cookies for a little good behavior, during which I furiously worked as quickly as possible.