I’ve recently become a zealot of Chris Guillebeau’s entrepreneurial and world travel blog called The Art of Non-Conformity (chrisguillebeau.com) Chris is 30 years old and has never had a real job. He went to college and then went off to serve in Africa for 4 years. He preaches world domination, i.e. doing something that will change the world for the better.
What’s this have to do with being a work-at-home Mom? Everything.
We’re non-conformists. The world expects us to look like Kelly Ripa in the Electrolux commercial where we juggle the career, the laundry, the yummy cupcakes for our daughter’s sleepover, the dog food and our husband’s advances all at the same time. Not happening. Instead we feel more like we fell into our own dryer and got spun around a few times.
When I worked outside the home, more balls got dropped every day than got picked up. My daughter’s hair went uncurled on picture day because we didn’t have time. The permission slip went unsigned until my child told me the teacher said if it wasn’t signed by today, they wouldn’t go. The lunch bread was slightly stale but I used it anyway.
I’m ashamed of those things but the truth is…I really didn’t have time.
I was spending time on the less important things and letting the good ones slip through the cracks. I was racing through McDonald’s because I had to stay late and work on the company newsletter. My assistant had to run to get my son because I was on a conference call.
The day I stepped out of the rat-race and fired my boss was one of the best days of my life. I didn’t have a grand plan and I certainly didn’t have the money I needed but I knew that this way wasn’t working.
What I did gain was one big thing…peace of mind.
I’m sad for the things I didn’t do right and what I missed during my first 7 years of Motherhood. I delivered 3 babies, worked full-time and never skipped a beat. What helps me cope with that crazy time is that I did it right for the next 18. My youngest son hardly knew I even ran a business because I was always around…there in the morning before school, at every event, and home before he got home in the evening.
Did that mean everything became perfect overnight? Not hardly. My house was an even bigger mess because I ran work and home out of it. I still missed permission slips and we still ate out all the time. But I no longer felt like life was a frenzy…and I know I passed this kind of calm onto my kids.
Don’t worry about fitting in. Someone will always criticize you no matter how good you’re doing it. Simply strive for peace in your own heart. And perhaps a few messy peanut butter and jelly kisses on your cheek.