Stay-at-Home Working Mom – Curse or Blessing?

I started working as a freelance translator after my first baby was born in 1995, back when the Internet was a baby itself. Websites were few and far between, and I remember being amazed at the possibilities of e-mail connecting me with my family in Europe once they made that investment. I did not go online more than three brief times a day to retrieve my mail, because my online hours were limited, and I was blocking my phone while online. My baby daughter would be crawling around under my desk, pulling at any cord she could find while I was localizing software on a machine running Windows 3.1, with a 14 inch CRT monitor. A year later, my second daughter was born while I was working on a large localization project, and I remember having her on a pillow on my lap, nursing, while I was typing.

I always thought I had the best of both worlds, being present, albeit sometimes not 100% available, for my kids, and keeping my brain going while dealing with diapers, building blocks and baby bottles. It was never easy, though I had a day care provider who was flexible enough to take them at a moment’s notice when work fell my way.  Whenever both babies would nap at the same time, I would make a mad dash for the computer and work on my project, and evenings were always about finishing or getting ahead on projects.

Fast forward 14 years. My workload has stabilized, kids are out of the house full days Monday through Friday. I am glad to say that I was home every day they were sick, and I was there during their long summer breaks. I was never bored or unfulfilled, though sometimes stressed and on edge when a project did not go as planned. But would I have wanted to work in an office or stayed at home a full-time mom. Definitely not.

Working at home when the kids are little is not for everyone. It takes flexibility, patience, energy, focus, commitment, responsibility, spontaneity, excellent time-management and hard work. There’s never an autopilot program for the workday, because kids aren’t predictable. But it can be done, and I would do it again.

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