Word spreads fast! I am no longer working “outside of the home.” So I am technically a stay-at-home mom, which suits me like a pair of too-tight jeans.
I say technically, because I do work – from home. I am constantly looking for and writing content, researching, calling, meeting, interviewing, etc. — all of the things I used to do for someone else. The difference is that I am not beholden to a manager or vice president; I am beholden to my readers. I have made a commitment to provide content worth reading. That is my job.
Since I am no longer running for the train or driving off to New Jersey every week, I have not positioned myself in my mind as a working mom. This lack of positioning has carried over to others as well. One neighbor told me recently “You’re home now, so we can get together anytime.” What I should have responded with is, “Yes, but I work Monday to Friday, 9 to 3, so we will have to work around those hours.” (Or, what I was really thinking was F-U, I’m busy!) Instead, I just stared at her open-mouthed because I realized that somehow I had conveyed to her and others that I am available, with lots of time on my hands.
How could I have less time now than I did before, when I was working out of town two days per week? I am new at this set-up and not so good at organizing my time yet so I really had no idea how much of my time my new job would require. The truth is that I work more hours now (and at varying times throughout the day and night) than I ever did before. I also absolutely LOVE that kind of workday.
I realized later, after a week of short-circuiting, that I felt guilty and very uncomfortable about not bringing in an income. I was also uncomfortable with what I thought was a lot of extra time on my hands. I guess in a subconscious effort to not appear lazy, I started saying YES to everyone who asked for help. I don’t just mean school and PTA stuff, I mean friends looking for jobs, carpooling, in-laws, you name it — I’ve gotten it done in the last few weeks.
I remember reading once that Oprah said there are always plenty of takers as long as you are willing to give. I now know that means that only I can stop the tornado of activity that is driving back to the help-wanted ads.
My new career goal is to learn to treat my time like gold.