As mothers, we’ve all heard the quintessential, two-word exclamatory statement that is supposed to be golden advice: “Don’t blink!” The time will go by way too fast, right? Before we know it, our tiny bundles of joy will walk briskly across the high school graduation stage and begin their journeys into the world.
So, you can imagine my surprise when I realized that even though I may have blinked a few times, this whole young motherhood thing went painstakingly slow.
If I’m honest, my time with small children passed at a snail’s pace. Each time they did something on their own, I rejoiced. Wasn’t I supposed to be sad when my kids hit milestone after milestone, traipsed through the door of preschool, and started becoming more self-sufficient? Last week, my 5-year-old put his shoes on the shoe rack without being told. I regret to inform you that I did not sulk in the corner as I looked through his baby scrapbook (I don’t even have one—I just said that for dramatic effect).
It suddenly hit me: I never got a break. I’ve never been away from my littles for more than two consecutive days. As a work-at-home mom, others assume I’m one of those women who really does have it all: being home with my kids and working simultaneously. But for WAHMs, “don’t blink” doesn’t apply. It’s more like “good luck finding time to blink.” I would have killed for a blink or two during the thick of motherhood and career building.
The truth is that as a work-at-home mom, I barely even have time to blink. I might get a few blinks in per day, but that’s pushing it. When would I have time to blink? As soon as I send an email to my coworkers, my child wants a snack. No time to blink. I would blink when I sit down to pee, but I’m probably listening to a meeting or yelling at my child to stop dragging the cat by its tail during said pee break.
Blinks are few and far between when I’m editing a spreadsheet on a video call while simultaneously wiping a kid’s butt. I work 8-5, but there’s no time to blink before work when I’m holding my hairdryer in one hand cutting a lunchbox salami sandwich into perfect squares (sans crust, of course) with the other. There’s no time to blink after 5:00 when I’m sautéing vegetables my kids won’t eat and trying to tackle common core math homework and trying to figure out how my youngest broke his new glasses—all at the same time.
Blinking on weekends isn’t a thing for WAHMs because we are too busy playing catch-up of some kind: Catching up with our kids because we half ignored them during work, or catching up on work because we half ignored it while we paid attention to our kids.
I am blessed to have had my babies at home with me as I pursued my career in higher education. There is nothing I would change about being the one who played, soothed, and laughed with my kids during the tiny pockets of the workday when I was able. For the last nine years of my life, I worked from home and raised kids. I can assure you that I didn’t have time to blink.
And when they both began school full-time this year? I didn’t cry. I finally had time to blink.