November 30 10

There is a new rule in our house: Mommy puts her laptop and iphone away between the hours of 4pm and 8pm. There will be no work done, unless it’s in the form of SK, 3rd or 4th grade homework.

Because herein lies the work-at-home-mom rub.

Well, fine, if we are getting technical, I don’t always work from home. Most of the time I work out of the office, which really is just this lovely lady‘s living room. But, the point is that I no longer work an 8-4 job. And the truth is that there were a million and a half reasons why I loathed having a typical cubicle job. Mostly it was the lack of flexibility and the lack of actual face-to-face time with my little monsters. I couldn’t take the kids to school every day. I couldn’t pick them up every day. I couldn’t take the kids to the dentist, doctor, optometrist.

And now I am over-the-moon. I have all the things that I didn’t have at my old job.

(My job is dreamy. I get to work in donut pants!)

BUT, when you don’t work a scheduled 4o-hour-week, you are, well, not working a regular 40-hour-week.

What I mean by this is that I drive at least two carpools a day; usually three. I sit in traffic on the way to work. I sit in traffic on the way home from work. I get three children ready for school. I feed three children 87 times a day. I go to dance on Mondays. Play rehearsal on Tuesdays. Play rehearsal on Wednesdays. Swimming on Fridays. I do dishes eight times a day. I do laundry eight times a day. I do homework 3x.

So, I work in between all of these things. I work in the morning before school. I answer emails while I sit in the carpool line. I make phone calls when the kids get home from school. I work in the early evening. I work in the late evenings. I work in the late, late evenings. In truth, I work way more than 40 hours a week and I am way more productive than I have ever been in my entire life. There’s no 4:00 magic time on my computer that tells me that my day is over. There’s no one to tell me to stop working. There’s no one to force me to take lunch breaks. There’s always something that needs to be done, somethings that needs to be answered, that needs to be emailed, that needs to be checked, that needs to be written.

I don’t know how to not work.

Until now.

I am forcing myself.

Starting today.

Between 4 and 8.

My kids need it.

I need it.

But mostly, the kids need it.


But mostly, I need it.

So, it’s official. From the time I pick them up at 4 until Isabella goes to bed at 8, I am theirs. There will be no “just let me check one little thing” or “you are just going to have to wait one second” or “I’m just on the phone, can you wait one minutes?”s. My faces will be in front of theirs instead of in front of a screen.

But after 8pm…that screen in mine!

I’m sure there will be lots of “it’s after 8! It’s MY TIME!”s and “you are just going to have to wait one second”s and “YOU HAVE BEEN PUT TO BED”s and “NO I don’t want to watch Cake Boss while I work”s. But they will get their time. And I will get mine.

I just hope mine involves lots of wine and cookie dough while I work.

Because I’m classy like that.

  1. This is such a great idea. I’ve been sucked into the mommy multi-task a lot. Today is my last day at my current “job” – which was more like a life – with the new job, I’m setting priority from the start.


    Comment by Cass on November 30, 2010
  2. ARE WE TWINS? This is the EXACT same issue we’ve been having over here, and I feel guilty if I don’t finish all my work/reply to emails, and even more guilty if I don’t spend time with the kids while they’re around. I really like your idea of carving out a time, and 4 – 8 seems perfect. (Hope you don’t mind if I gank your solution and implement it!)


    Comment by becca on November 30, 2010
  3. That sounds like such a great idea.
    PS: Love the donut pants. They’d match my cupcake bathrobe that I wear ALL DAY EVERY DAY. :)


    Comment by Amanda Brown on November 30, 2010
  4. I started doing this last year. From 3-8, I put my laptop away and focus on the kids and the house and dinner. It’s wonderful.


    Comment by Ashley on November 30, 2010
  5. Great idea Martell! I think it will be good for everyone!

    THE DONUT PANTS! My favorite! My fake Santa Claus pants can’t hold a candle to them!


    Comment by Kristabella on November 30, 2010
  6. You are lucky!!! Sounds like a good plan too.


    Comment by Tammi Marie on November 30, 2010
  7. I need a job that allows me to work in donut pants while eating cookie dough and drinking wine!

    But making time for the kids is awesome! They will love you for it!


    Comment by mapsgirl on November 30, 2010
  8. I also work at home and OMG I KNOW. It is so hard to find that balance. SO TOUGH when your kids are calling for you and a client is nagging you and you feel pulled in a million directions. It’s definitely simpler when you have Work and Home. When Home becomes also Work? It gets wacky. Good luck with the new rule, it sounds like it will work great :)


    Comment by Jen on November 30, 2010
  9. I can absolutely understand your post. I think My best buddy will even relate to you she has a kid and a house to take care of.. Hats off to you guys!

    This is Nancy from Israeli Uncensored News


    Comment by Nancy on December 1, 2010
  10. what a great idea- I try to do this as well and am always trying to get Big Daddy to do the same.
    most days he walks in the door and immediately b-lines it to the computer.
    Drives me a bit crazy.
    Family time is fleeting and should be a top priority.


    Comment by petitegourmand on December 1, 2010
  11. Good for you, Ali. You need that time for you guys. You devote so much of it to the other things you’re passionate about!

    Hope it goes well. I’ll be back to working from home in a few weeks and I don’t know HOW I’m going to do it.


    Comment by Amy on December 1, 2010
  12. It’s hard to stop working when you work from home. The work never goes away, and you never leave it. Good for you for setting a time to take a break.


    Comment by Avitable on December 2, 2010
  13. I fully support this decision…but I don’t have to like it, do I?

    I will miss you between 1 and 5pm (my time) every day.


    Comment by Meghan on December 2, 2010
  14. I am doing a version of this myself. My problem is my phone. Email. Twitter. Stupid games.

    But on the nights I have been trying to leave it in my purse until they go to bed.

    It’s hard though. Just know the first few weeks are the hardest. After that it does get easier.


    Comment by Issa on December 2, 2010
  15. I’m with Meghan, I’ll support this decision but I don’t promise to like it. I like it when my alimartell is ONLINE. :)


    Comment by Jen on December 3, 2010

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