Working From Home Is The Shits.

There’s nothing more misleading than the term Work At Home Mom. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s a load of horse crap. I’d rather say horse shit but there are children around, children who can practically hear through a keyboard. Whenever I tell people that I work from home I get one of those knowing looks that I take to mean, “So you don’t have a job.” I mean, how many jobs can you really do from home besides the ones you see offered in the back of the classifieds; “Make $500 a week stuffing envelopes in your spare time”, or “Make thousands of dollars a week as a phone sex operator”? But I do have a job – a real job – as a writer except that it’s almost impossible to actually do your job when you are at home.


You see, the person who stays at home is the one available for the biggest to the smallest household issues regardless of whether or not said person (me) brings in her share of the household income (okay, maybe not her share but some). If you don’t work at home you might think that a person who does has it made because they can be flexible if their child is ill and needs to be picked up from school or if the dog suddenly needs to go to the vet because he accidentally ate all your Valentine’s Day candy or if the cable guy can only narrow down his arrival time to sometime between 7 a.m. and midnight. But once you are the “at home” parent, things can easily get out of control. Case in point –today: my daughter, the sweet, lovely, smiley Elby, was constipated. Not just “I can’t poop, but maybe later. Let’s bust a move and get to school!” constipated, more like constipation on the level of the flu and at various times of the day pneumonia. It had started the day before with no relief so I knew she wasn’t faking.


“Mommy, rub me. It hurts so much.”


“Okay Sweetie” I oblige. I’m a woman, I’ve dealt with constipation on a non functioning level. Of course, I’ve never taken a personal day over it. But then again, my daughter is three – about to be four – what’s she going to miss in school besides making play doh from scratch or finger painting? Is my writing day important enough to send a whimpering, constipated girl to school? I decide no. School is just not going to happen. Even if I sent her, she’ll just be sent home when they realize how upset she is over her “no poop” situation. Sure, they might sit with her on the potty and read her a story but I know my daughter and it won’t work. So I stay home.


“Mommy, can I have a show?” Elby practically whispers from her curled up position on the couch.


“Sure, baby” I answer and switch TiVo from The View to Diego.”


My nanny Liz leaves for the park with the twins. “Damn, I need to write” I think to myself and head to the computer to capture some precious Diego time.


“Mommy, can you rub me more?” comes the plaintive voice of my baby.


“Okay, sure, here I come.” The phone rings. It’s my agent. I know it’s about the cover to my new book which is NOT DONE.


“Hang on baby, I need to take this real quick.”



You explain it all sooooooo well. I wish everyone understood what the Work at Home world is all about.


I am a Dutch SWAHM, working from home as a legal translator. Just discovered your blog and I really like it. I recognize a lot of what you are writing about and enjoy your style immensely. I love working from home (I used to spend long days away from home as a conference interpreter, but that really did not feel right) and have devoted two web sites to the subject: (which is of little concern to you I suppose, as it is in Dutch) and (which might be more relevant).
Anyhow, best of luck with writing and mothering, keep up the good work.


I am a SAHM about to embark on my own business. I currently instruct for Baby Boot Camp. Am I nuts for thinking that "WFH" is going to make things easier?? I thought I could just take my toddler to work with me, instructing workouts. maybe not?


I understand completely! When my son was nine months old, I tried to do some part-time work from home. It was a nightmare. I think the most time I ever put into it was maybe 12 hours in a week. I ended up putting him in daycare around one year, and then decided if he was in daycare I may as well work full time....which inevitably led to Mommyguilt, and me quitting my job to stay home with him again....which led to him missing his friends, us leaving him in school, and me working from home (again). Now, even with him at preschool, I find it hard to get anything accomplished. There's always dishes, laundry, grocery shopping....the list goes on and on.

Has anyone really succeded in the work--mommy balance???

We started off the school year home with pink eye and it lasted a few days and a week later returned for a few days. At least my son is 10 and mostly self sufficient!
We do like watching the videos on
they are amazingly inspirational!


Right there with you sister! Last week I had to leave my toddler sreeching in the playroom because I had dared to picked up the phone, and retreated to the farthest bathroom in the house to be able to hold a semi adult/coherent/professional conversation with my client. Thankfully the client is very flexible and understanding, but still! I am profoundly grateful to be able to be here for him, but it does present big challenges personally and professionally.


That sounds very difficult! I have a flexible job, and could often work from home but I almost never do. I can't get anything done. Are there kids out there that just entertain themselves so their parents can work? Perhaps those children could have a word with my tots.

Hope your little one is feeling better!