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Monday, September 10, 2012

I work from home, full-time. For 8 or more hours a day after I drop Anna at school, I sit at my desk or the dining room table and call into meetings, respond to emails, and do other nerdy web type stuff that I  enjoy but won't bore you with.

When I tell people that I work from home they usually comment on how perfect a situation it must be, and for the most part it is; if I need to run an errand, I run an errand. Out of milk? I can get in and out of the grocery store before the senior housing bus is even done parallel parking. I can wear whatever I please, my commute is 10 feet and traffic is a pair of flip flops left in the hallway.

But the flexibility also creates some pressure. Because I have a desk job while Steve is usually on a truck, I handle all the household admin except for the monthly bills. I make doctor's appointments, run to the post office, organize babysitting, call the bank, call the insurance company, buy birthday cards, thank yous and party gifts. When there's a lice alert at preschool, I pick Anna up and park her in front of whatever hideous show will keep her quiet and occupied while I work, then feel terribly guilty that she's watched 3 hours of My Little Pony while I sit with a headset on and my back to her. I make travel arrangements and plan weekends, respond to texts, RSVP to kid parties and potlucks, I fill out school forms and tax forms and 401(k) papers I don't totally understand. And I cannot sit to work if my house is a mess, so somewhere between waking up and sitting down, I'll clean out the sink, dishwasher if it's done, wipe off the counters, hurl Anna's shoes into her bedroom and Steve's bathrobe into ours, put plastic families back into their dollhouse, hang wet towels and refill dog bowls.

And then I sit to work alone until 3:35 when Steve walks in the door, which is usually when I remember that there's nothing defrosted for dinner and hope we have milk for the box of mac and cheese he'll make Anna.

Lately I feel like I'm not really doing anything all the way, you know? I try hard at work but know that my co-workers often stay later or start earlier than I can. I have a to-do list of work and personal tasks that grows as fast as I check things off of it -- build new web page, deposit freelance check -- and aside from work and the kid and the ever-stinky house, I have this blog (which I love) and my NickMom gig (which I also love), I do photo shoots (again, love) and maintain my Facebook page (ditto) and even though as I type this all out I can clearly see that it's a lot to handle, I feel like maybe I'm just not trying hard enough or organizing my time well enough, that we shouldn't be eating mac and cheese twice a week because it's too late for more than one dirty pot, that I need to get on top of the floors because all this shit sticking to my feet is totally grossing me out.

It might be that we were busier and away more with the summer here, and maybe the cooler weather will make more space for getting things done. It's the typical struggle of the working mom though, right? And the at-home parent too, I suspect. It makes more sense for us to handle household business, and I know it's fine if the floors are sticky and the sink is never empty and honestly none of that normally bothers me. I just feel really behind lately, behind everything.

Do you think it's the season? Have you found things slipping and notice yourself playing catch up lately, or do you feel this way all the time? Have any good ideas on the matter? I'll read them all just as soon as I get this toilet cleaned and call the vet.

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