Friday, March 19, 2010
If you haven't noticed lately, there are a great deal of moms who work at home, but are also the primary caretaker of their children. You know, the WAHPCTSAHM (Work at Home, Primary Caretaker, Stay at Home Mom).
They're easy to spot, they have their Blackberry in one hand and their baby in the other.
They're probably not the ones wearing Christian Louboutin shoes (anymore), and they may be in dire need of an updated hair highlight.
They may have a tall coffee stashed somewhere, but probably aren't sitting next to a friend in a coffee shop enjoying it.
You'll have a confusing conversation with them like this:
You: Do you work?
You: Do you have kids?
You: Oh, where do they attend daycare?
WAHPCTSAHM: They don't. They're with me all day.
You: *confused look*
And believe me, from all of us WAHPCTSAHMs: WE GET YOUR CONFUSION.
We live it every day when trying to explain it to our friends, family, and sometimes even our husbands.
It's hard for others to understand that when we steal a few moments away in our home office during the day or at nap time, it's generally not to shop Bloomingdales.
If we post a funny comment on Facebook, it doesn't mean we're not working. Instead, it probably means we popped over to social network about business, saw something unrelated and commented on it while we were there.
Want to understand more about your WAHPCTSAHM?
1. Don't be offended by our incessant Blackberry checking.
When I check my Blackberry during a baby gym class or while I'm at your house, it's probably because I'm waiting for a comment from my editor that needs to be clarified quickly or some other work-related issue. I have my Blackberry so I can work AND ensure that my toddler is able to participate in activities during the day.
2. Social networking isn't just 'social' for us.
When we're blogging or on Facebook, Twitter or any other social networking site at 3 a.m., it probably isn't to play Farmville. Yes, we may chat about mundane things with others on them. However, our ultimate goal is one thing: to network with others in our business-related area. Which leads me to...
3. If we're blocking you on IM, it doesn't mean we aren't friends.
I use my instant messenger for two things: email alerts and to talk to someone while we're doing business together. Other than that? My IM is 'Off' to (most) others.
4. No, we cannot have drinks, go to a movie, enjoy dinner, attend a Pampered Chef party [or any other socially-related event] with you at night or on the weekend.
For many WAHPCTSAHMs, our 'work day' begins at night or on the weekend after the kids go to bed or our spouse can take the next shift. This means that we will almost always say no to your social event. (Unless you're hosting a party with Colin Farrell. Then I'm SO THERE). But don't be offended. It's us, not you.
5. If we seem distracted during gossip time, we probably are.
We may be at little Jimmy's soccer practice in body, but maybe not in mind. Our brains are running at warp* speed and we're probably constructing an RFP in our head during the mom sideline gathering.
6. We usually can't do play dates at the last minute.
WAHPCTSAHM plan their days (and nights) around their work and child's activity schedule. If we say no to a last minute play date addition, it's probably because we're working.
7. Don't go away mad, just go away.
When we're done at our children's activity, WE'RE DONE. We're probably the first ones to rush out the door (or maybe even rush you out). Don't be offended. We probably have a deadline or want to squeeze in lunch before work...or maybe even a bathroom break.
8. Yes, our house is always a mess.
No, you can't come over.
9. No, we aren't better than you. We're just different.
Look, WAHPCTSAHMs aren't superwomen. There are days we cry. There are days we wonder what the heck we're doing. Yes, there are even days we fantasize about a 'real office' job. However, we chose to make sacrifices in order to raise our child ourselves AND be able to work. Which leads me to...
10. No, we don't like looking like this.
Let's be honest, when you're taking care of a toddler during the day and working at nights and on weekends into the wee hours, something will give. It may be the WAHPCTSAHM's appearance (see shoes and highlights comment above). No, I don't like not getting regular highlights, being 'ponytail girl' all the time, not having trendy clothes or being too exhausted to work out. But that's the way it is...for now. I see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it's called preschool.
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(*I first typed "warped." Coincidence? I think not...)