Failing as a Work at Home Mom

work at home mom

I love the term “Work at Home Mom” (WAHM). It’s much more accurate than working mom, or stay-at-home mom. I’m working, and mothering, from the home, and the onomatopoeia of the acronym works well too – it’s the sound of your energy hitting the floor by the end of the day.

Today marks a full week that I’ve been back at work. It hasn’t been easy. Okay, that’s sort of an understatement, as is “it’s going to take some getting used to”. The reality is, working from home with a baby to take care of is ridiculously hard. There are the odd moments when Harley sleeps and I’m able to focus on the work I want and need to get done. But most of the time, she is wanting my attention just as much as my work is, and I end up feeling like a failure on both accounts.

I know I’m not a total failure. I’m getting work done, and Harley hasn’t died and doesn’t spend the whole day crying or anything. But I feel like I’m not able to give the attention to her that she needs, and I’m also not doing as much or as well with work stuff as I should. They say women can “have it all” now, but instead I feel like I’m failing at it all.

Yes, I know I’m being hard on myself. I know that I’m doing good work, that I’m being a good mommy to Harley, and that I will find a rhythm that works well for me. But right now, it just feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day. How will I find time to get my work done, engage with Harley (instead of just holding her and typing while looking over her), write a blog, figure out dinner, have quality time with my husband, catch up with friends and family, and still have time for myself (just the basics, you know, like eating, sleeping and basic hygiene)?

I’m very lucky to have work that is understanding, and that I enjoy. I’m also lucky that if I decided not to work one day, we could afford to keep paying our bills and eating food. But I don’t want to give up work, I really do enjoy it so much and it makes me so happy to have something to focus on other than a baby. But I also see how women start to feel like all around failures – I’m not doing my best at work, I’m not doing my best as a mom, I’m not doing my best as a wife/daughter/friend, so what am I actually doing well?

This period is temporary, though. Harley will get older and be able to play with her toys for some of the day. And one day, she’ll be old enough to send to play group in the morning. But for now, I just need to find a way to work smarter, to get more done in the moments when she doesn’t need my full attention, so that when she does I can shine the light on her without being distracted. Easier said than done, but I know I’m able to find a way to make anything happen. At least, I hope so.

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