One of the effects of the heavy rains brought about by the Habagat and Typhoon Maring for me was being able to stay at home with my 1.5 months old son, Joaquin for a “very long weekend” of 10 days. The suspension of classes, public holidays and a school holiday allowed me to have a taste of the Work at Home Mom (WAHM)’s life.
If I was to grade myself as a WAHM on the first few days of that “very long weekend,” I would give myself a failing grade. Being a college professor, the week after midterm exams is a very busy period. I had only finished checking 60 out of 200 exams. Computing for the midterm grades was another matter. My husband, Wally & I made it a rule that we will not bring work home (as much as possible) so we can truly give quality time at home. But alas, I had no choice. On the first day, I actually left the house and headed to my favorite milk tea place but there was a nudging feeling in me that I could have spent more time at home with Joaquin.
And so the next few days, I was actually at home but was really focused on checking the exams. Since I was at home, Joaquin was constantly beside me, copying everything that I was doing. I gave him a blank exam booklet and some pens so he can check along with me. Apologies to some students whose exam booklets were checked in 2 different shades of red and purple pens because Joaquin was constantly getting the pen I was using.
When I got to inputting the grades on my laptop, Joaquin was trying his best to reach up the table and type along with me. With it, you’ll hear a very cute little voice saying “mom. . . . . mom. . . . . mom. . . . . ” (on an indefinite loop!)
And with that, I have come to three realizations about this so-called WAHM life that I desire to have.
1) IT’S NOT AS EASY AS IT SEEMS. Three cheers to all the fulltime stay-at-home moms and work at home moms! There is of course the notion in me that when I work from home, I’ll have all the time in the world to spend with my little one.
Yes, there’s no need to travel to and from the office. No need to wake up early or even take a bath. But there’s a ton of things to do at home – office work or for the home. Oh and there’s the baby who is the main reason for wanting to work at home. When that adorable baby comes up to me being his cutest self just so I’ll mind him, I’ll have to say goodbye to all the other things. Mommy duty calls.
2) THERE MUST BE A PLAN. A eureka moment for me was when I realized this. I should make a schedule or a list of activities to do while at home. Of course, I’m sure that the schedule won’t be followed 100% but at least there’s general guide to follow.
Spur of the moment activities are always fun but there must always be a back up plan. Joaquin is in the stage of play and he easily gets bored with what he’s doing. There should be a lot of activities lined up. I’ve learned that we shouldn’t pack our children’s day with activities here and there. It’s a healthy developmental milestone for them to learn to be able to play and entertain their own selves. So, some quiet time and safe personal play time for him will surely be part of the plan.
3) I SHOULD NOT FORGET MYSELF. It seems like a noble idea for mothers to give up everything – career, finances, social life, etc – to care for the children. Yes, it’s a calling to be a mother and we are perfectly capable of putting everything else on hold for the sake of the children.
But I’ve realized that we shouldn’t totally give everything of ourselves, we should always leave a part of us with us so that we will not be empty. We actually love our family better if we love ourselves well. Quiet time outside the home, meet up with dear friends, shopping or time at the spa will work wonders for mothers, especially those who do work from home.
With much reflection, I know that being a WAHM is something I really desire. I hope to be able to prepare myself for when that day comes. It won’t be happening anytime soon but I know that with God’s grace, it will come at His perfect time!