I have been a work-out-of-the-office mama.
I have been a work-out-of-the-home-office mama. I guess some of you would call this a WAHM.
Each one comes with different parenting challenges, there’s no question. And I’m really not trying to start any kind of mama wars here—it’s just a fact, really, the two are different. I have done both, and for me, working from home wins, every time. FOR ME. I often think about this time thing though. When I worked out of the office, I would literally count the hours that I was spending away from my kids, the time I was spending on public transit (several hours a day) instead of spending that time with the three most important people in my life.
The beauty of working in an office, of course, was that when I left the office each day, I’d leave my work on my desk. And then my seconds, minutes, and hours were mine to spend as I liked—i.e., quality time with the kids.
The beauty of working in a home office, of course, is that I spend almost every hour with my children—the face time is, well, overflowing. I am home in the morning to see them off to school; I am home in the afternoon to see them when they come home from school. We have the opportunity to spend hours filled with a mix of somewhat tedious tasks, like being “bathing overlord” and “homework warden” but also the fun stuff. Only, the thing about working from home is that you never really get to shut off from the office. There’s no desk to leave that day’s work on—there are calls that come in at 4:00, 5:30, or 9:30pm, there are emergencies, there are conference calls. My kids come home at the end of the day and want to tell me about their exciting days, they want to talk about their friends and their tests and their teachers and what they did at recess and who they sat with on school trips and the Scholastic order form and math challenges, they want snacks and drinks and help making playdates.
And I want to share all those moments with them.
But I have work that needs to be done—my work day doesn’t end just because they are home from school at 3:25. (And let’s not even talk about the fact that the working mom is also the one who is supposed to cook and clean and make braids and buns and be the chauffeur and empty the dishwasher…)
And…there’s the rub.
You knew there’d be one, didn’t you.
I am trying to make things work for everyone. I get up at 6am, a full two hours before anyone else in the house wakes up, to get a jump start on the day. I drink an excessive amount of coffee so that this 6am wakeup call doesn’t have me falling asleep in my dinner. We hired an amazing cleaning lady to come once a week—she does all of the laundry. All of it.
And I now make sure to take breaks for my kids—and for me.
I eat my lunches hunched over my laptop…so I can do the weekly math challenge in the afternoon.
I leave grocery shopping for my husband to do on his way home from hockey…so I can hear about the 6th grade gossip.
I serve breakfast for dinner (a lot)…so I can do things like BAKE CHALLAH WITH MY GIRLS ON THURSDAYS AND FRIDAYS.
Oh yes I do.
And since so many of you have asked me for the top-secret recipe, I thought today I’d share it with you.
I’m feeling giving today.
The Work-Break Challah
1 pkg. yeast
4 cups flour
1/2 cup butter (or margarine, if you want to keep the challah dairy-free)
3/4 cup sugar + 1 tsp.
1 cup warm water
1 tsp. salt
1. In a large stainless steel bowl, dissolve yeast into warm water and and add 1 tsp sugar until it bubbles
2. Add eggs, butter (or margarine) and sugar and salt. Add flour, 1/2 a cup at a time. Dough should be sticky.
3. Cover with damp towel and refrigerate overnight. Remove from fridge. Divide into 2 pieces. Divide each piece into three pieces.
4. Braid. Cover with damp towel.
5. Let rise 1.5-2 hours until it doubles in size. Brush with egg yolk and optional topping (equal parts sugar, flour and butter, mix together with fork until it crumbles)
6. Bake on greased and floured cookie sheet at 375 for about 30-40 minutes.
Makes 2 loaves.
It’s certainly not a perfect work-out-of-the-home-office situation, and it’ll probably never be perfect, since kids don’t really understand the WORK part of work-at-home. So, it’s not perfect, but it’s working for us, for now.
It’s totally worth the work break and the breakfast for dinner. I promise.