Every day when I come downstairs, it’s to three little hopeful faces asking the same question. Six little words that manage to pull on my heart. Every. Day. I don’t know any other group of people in the world who go through as much self-questioning, doubt, and guilt about every little decision as moms today do. I am a work from home mommy because I have to be, for many reasons.
Depending on how I’m feeling and how the old guilt barometer is faring, the “Mommy are you done your work?” means the following:
- Are you finally going to spend some time with us, your poor, neglected, unloved children, who are going to grow into career criminals because you’ve failed to demonstrate maternal love?
- We’ve been waiting all day, so you’d better take us somewhere awesome, do something spectacularly fun, or otherwise entertain us at a whole new level or we’ll show our displeasure in any number of loud, jarring ways.
- You’re ruining our lives with your constant work. How come you never have time for us?
- Why are you always working?
- Why can’t you ever just play with us and have fun?
- I’ve been saving this poopy diaper just for YOU so now you can do the honors!
- This doesn’t mean we’re stuck with you now, does it?
- We love you and we missed you! We’re so happy to see you!
Sometimes it means:
- Are you done with your work now?
I know, I know, it’s all in your perception. I have no idea what my kids really mean when they ask it, but when I’m feeling stressed and guilty, I just assume they mean that I’m letting them down, and that even though I’m giving them all I’ve got it just isn’t good enough. Which does not produce great results in terms of my behavior. So it really is a vicious cycle.
But I do take consolation that 99.9% of the time when they ask it, it’s asked hopefully. As in, they still like me and want to spend time with me. Everyone’s always telling me how fast this time goes by and to ‘enjoy every second’. I’ll be honest, some seconds just aren’t that enjoyable. Some should be but aren’t because I’m too stressed out about money, making ends meet, or trying to complete my ‘flexible’ work and still spend time with my littles.
I don’t know if most moms in my position feel this way (that we suck for not being full time stay at home moms) or if every mom feels guilty that they’re not the other kind. I’ve noticed less ‘mom-shaming’ lately, but I don’t know if that’s because there IS less mom-shaming or if I am just missing out on all of it because I don’t give a crap about social media anymore and don’t tend to remain on friendly terms with ‘shamers’ of any kind.
Be that as it may, my ‘work’ day is winding up and it’s almost time to get back to my favorite job, which always starts the same way: Mommy, are you done your work?
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PS I’ve written 10 tips on dealing with multiple (conflicting) priorities. If you’d like a free copy, just click here!