As I walked up the hill to our house this morning after taking the girls to school, I considered all the things I had to do today. Several of them were normal house-y things: grocery, laundry, dishes, call the tree guy, price the yard sale stuff. Others of them were work-type things: finish those photo edits, turn in that thing my publisher asked for, write that article, prepare a post.
I could feel my heart rhythm speed up as I picked up the pace to the front door. My breathing got a little bit more shallow than it had been, my craving for coffee shot through the roof. When I begin to feel the weight of this pressure, I become the opposite of productive. And lately, I’ve been feeling this weight more than usual. I wash a load of towels, and then forget about them. The next morning, I have to wash the same load again because hello, they stink now. I’m wasting water and brain cells. The fog is thick and getting thicker.
And today, I realized one reason why: I am a mother who works from home. Since I signed my two book contract last January, I have been working from home. I would write on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 until 2, and I basically wrote the entire book that way. I finished one book in July, and as soon as the room stops spinning upside down and crazy, I’ll begin work on my second book due next September. But it has taken me this long to actually realize that I have a job. My time is flexible, which I love. It provides space for me to go to the girls’ school and eat lunch with them, to prepare the chicken for dinner in the middle of the day, to go to the grocery when there aren’t big crowds.
But the lines between home and work are hard to see, and I’m the one who has to draw them. I love what I do, so it’s hard to step away from it. But if I don’t take the time to step away from it, then heavy clouds of discouragement and anxiety will quickly settle in. Hence, the foggy mess.
Don’t get me wrong, I think every mother, outside job or no outside job, can relate to the foggy mess. I felt that way the entire first two years of motherhood. But I do think there is a unique stress that comes from knowing you have a job that isn’t home related, a job that has to get done in the space in between everything else. For you who work from home, can you relate to the foggy mess?