Vicky from The Mummy Chronicles shares her story of becoming a work-at-home-mom.
Before I had my daughter, I worked a job that either had avalanches of work or incredible dry spells. Each day began at four thirty in the morning, with ten plus hour workdays, and a two-hour commute. I didn’t think twice about putting in overtime either. When I got pregnant, I just kept that pace up. It should have come as no surprise to me that the company didn’t prepare for my maternity leave. The avalanche of work continued to flow until one day my feet swelled beneath my desk and I could barely walk. I developed a suspicious pain in my side like pre-eclampsyia. Just like that, I was on bed rest until I delivered. I felt guilty too, as if I was betraying my co-workers. It took the doctor saying some pretty harsh words to me about the possible fate of my baby to take bed rest seriously. I figured I would be back to work in a few months and this rest would do me good.
Then maternity leave happened. Despite sleep deprivation, my typically cantankerous self showed signs of solace. I started writing again. I created a blog about this new life. I realized I now viewed returning to work as a countdown to lockdown. Time with my daughter would shorten from 12 hours a day to barely two. My writing, well there would be no more time for that.
My return to work was less than stellar. I was a wreck. I cried upon entering my office building. I felt sad, overwhelmed, and alone. As the weeks wore on, I realized I was always tired, irritated, and nasty. I hated our life. I found myself alternately crying or screaming in traffic as my daughter cried in the backseat. Images of Joan Crawford would flash into my head and felt a little too close to home. My husband, a terrific father, was launching a new business and career. Rock bottom was fast approaching our family.
Then, the spider bite happened. It was just a small bite on our daughter’s arm. We weren’t overly concerned. I worked long hours that week and wasn’t home to see her. My husband arrived home one night and inquired about the bite. I had forgotten about it. I looked at her arm. It was a ghastly red ring with a scabby mid-circle and a puss-filled center. My husband said, “Ooh, it looks worse than it did this morning.” “Worse?” I asked. “Yeah, much worse.” he said. At this hour, only the emergency room would be open. I howled with rage and worry.
At the emergency room, we slumped in our seats surrounded by people with broken limbs, and other sick kids. The wait was a minimum of seven hours. An hour went by and tears began to slide down my face. The stress of our life was too much. Everything was falling apart. We were not there for each other or our daughter. These types of things kept happening and derailing us. Our marriage was heading towards Divorce-ville. I quietly said to my husband, “I am quitting my job. We can’t go on like this. I’m quitting and that is that.” He nodded and quietly agreed. We both knew it was the only answer for us.
I worked for four more months while we constructed our game plan for the transition and I took side work as a writer. It buoyed my spirits that I could actually make money doing what I loved. Despite having made this decision we grew more stressed. I went to work each day feeling like a traitor stealing company secrets. The end seemed to be nowhere in sight. It seemed as if our goal was just always a bit beyond our reach. The day I handed in my notice, I felt I had finally hit the finish line tape at the end of a very long marathon.
Working at home a few months now we are settling into our routine. Some days are better than others. I divide my time between writing assignments, household tasks, and time with our daughter. The life of a work at home mother is a daily juggle just like anything else. It’s not all play dates and fun times. There are moments when I do long for conversations that are more adult. However, the freedom to create my own schedule, destiny, and that of our family far outweighs that longing. While working at home is not for everyone, it has made me appreciate my family more and be grateful for what we have. Not having to wake up at four thirty anymore is just an added bonus.
by Vicky from The Mummy Chronicles