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Yes I get to work in my pajamas, and yes it is awesome. I love dropping my kids off at school in the morning and picking them up in the afternoon. I brag to my friends about the insane amount of money I save not putting my kids in daycare. (The numbers will blow your mind!) I love that I have yet to miss a milestone, a mommy-and-me breakfast or preschool performance. These are all the great aspects to being a work-at-home, stay-at-home mom.

As mothers, we are always striving to have it all. There are days when I am driving my kids home, looking in the rear-view mirror, watching them sing along to their toddle tunes, smiling to myself thinking you got this all figured out Patterson. But really I am kidding myself. Most days are filled with chaos, missed appointments and like most working mothers being spread too thin.

The Love

My relationship with working-from-home started before I had kids. Just like a romantic relationship I fell fast and deep. The autonomy, flexibility and my God the amount of work you can get done without the interruptions life in an office brings! I was smitten.

A year into our relationship (work, not husband), I got pregnant. The work arrangement partner I had fallen so in love with didn’t mind I was pregnant, in fact it was accommodating. Much more accommodating than any traditional workplace I had ever worked in before. I could throw up in the comfort of my own bathroom, satisfy my crazy cravings even during working hours and put my feet up while answering emails and tending to my career. It was a healthy, thriving relationship.

After having my first child, the love didn’t stop. I worked my schedule around my baby’s schedule. When she would sleep, I would work. When she would watch Baby Einstein, I would work. When she needed to be fed, I would take a break and feed her. Tummy time? Break time. Play time? Break time. Now don’t get me wrong, this also meant a longer work day. All those breaks meant an eight-hour day turned into a ten, or even 12-hour day, but when you are a stay-at-home mom you’re on the clock all day anyways, right?

Then I had my second child, that is when the relationship started getting sour. My relationship with working-from-home had entered it’s third year and it was about to be tested. I now had a newborn and a one-year-old to take care of on top of my career. Soon it would be too much.

Hate

I hate to say that I had to take some time off. I don’t say that because I think women should put themselves through hell, or they I was any less of a woman because I had to take time off to be a stay-at-home mom. Believe me, I think full-time stay-at-home moms are miracle workers. I just love my work, and I hated the fact that I had to take time off. (Confession time). As much as I love my kids, and I do I would do anything for them, I needed my work to keep me sane.

So, what was a girl to do? Well, this girl did what most of us moms do and sacrificed her career for a while. Two years to be exact. It was enough time for me to focus on my kids and get them to an age where they weren’t so dependent on me.

Now you may be thinking, everything is all good now right? Not so fast. My relationship with my work arrangement is now in it’s sixth year, and with kids in the picture, we are struggling. There are the constant interruptions by well-meaning children, rambunctious play in the background of business calls and the daily race to try to get as much done in the morning while they are at preschool so I can give them as much attention as possible in the afternoon.

Then there is the guilt. Yes, believe it or not, stay-at-home, work-at-home moms have guilt too. Am I spending enough quality time with them? Is it enough that I am here physically, available to them, but maybe not always present and in the moment? Having to walk away from a game or puzzle to take a business call. Turning on the television for an hour to catch up on emails. The guilt, it all adds up.

Love it or hate it…I wouldn’t change it

It’s the truth. For me it works. Even on days it is working against me, on the whole it is working for me. This relationship I have with being a stay-at-home, work-at-home mom is like any other relationship, it needs attention. It requires patience. But most importantly it keeps me close to my kids, and that is a relationship worth fighting for.

Kimberly Patterson

Kimberly Patterson is a writer, wife and mother of two adorable, over-zealous toddlers. She spends her days in yoga pants, pecking away at the keys on her laptop and pulling her kids off of whatever household furniture they climb upon. She has been published on The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Her View From Home, The Mighty, and several other publications. Read more of her insights at truthisinthewriting.com.

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