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What Acronym Do You Use?

I walk the fine line between stay-at-home mom and work-at-home mom. On some days, I’m a work-outside-of-home mom. Just ask the folks at my local Wi-Fi-friendly pizza joint where I make my office a few afternoons a week.

I’m the primary caregiver to my four children, but I’m also a writer and a full-time web entrepreneur. And I homeschool.

Yep, if the circus called, I’m pretty sure I could get hired as a juggler.

I’ve yet to find an actual acronym that works for my situation, or at least one that doesn’t have a ton of letters. Or piss off someone who actually is a SAHM, a WAHM or even a WOHM.

I’m sure I could figure out a way to make them mad at me, too.

But when you see all the fighting that occurs about moms and these 12 letters, I often wonder why we need them at all. On many days, I’m the epitome of every cliche you’ve ever read about SAHMs, WAHMs or WOHMs.

OK, so I’m not sitting around watching soap operas while shoving bon-bons in my mouth.

Do they even still make bon-bons?

And you won’t necessarily find me in my pajamas at 3 p.m. nursing that thrice-reheated cup of coffee—mostly because I’ve mastered the art of finding nightgowns that can double as actual dresses.

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I have yet to actually miss a doctor’s visit or science fair due to a work conflict.

But you will find me, with one hand, cleaning up pee in the kitchen cabinet that my almost 2-year-old has deemed her bathroom, while the other is typing an email to my business partner, all while the kids are alternating between dumping LEGOs all over the playroom and being poorly occupied by our ridiculously overpaid babysitter, Dora the Explorer.

I’ve said the words “just one more email” or “only a few more minutes” more often than I’d care to admit.

And I rely on my mom friends and neighbors to keep me abreast of my own kids’ activity commitments, often needing their help more than I could probably offer in return for last-minute babysitting or pick-up duty.

I have a nanny that comes a few afternoons a week so I can leave the house and focus on work. But each morning before I leave and every evening when I come back, the laundry calls to me. The dishes in the sink scream my name. And I’m driving one kid to ballet while we’re all eating dinner on-the-go, hoping that the applesauce packet counts as the day’s vegetable.

I guess it’s pretty obvious why I’ve never quite found a label that fits. Some people insist that because I work at home I must be a WAHM. But aside from the few hours a day where I might resemble a working person, I’m often tackling most of that work in the early mornings or late nights while my kids are sleeping.

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Then again, my life very often resembles that of a SAHM since I’m with my kids way more than I’m not, mostly due to my husband’s work as a military and airline pilot, and our choice to homeschool.

Between that and the fairly limited childcare that I now have, which I admit is more consistent than it ever was, it still doesn’t seem enough for me to claim the official title of working mother.

Perhaps it’s because over the years, I’ve integrated both roles into my existence, not due to any sort of grace or advanced skill set, but through much trial and error.

And because I had to.

Or maybe it’s because I’ve watched the use of labels bring smart women down into petty arguments about what they do or don’t do, with or without their children.

I stare at the clock on many days, counting the minutes until my sitter arrives and I can dive into the emails piling up in my inbox. I truly love what I do.

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And on others, you’d never know that I work because I’m too engulfed in playing tea party with warm bath water and bubbles to take care of the business that I should probably do right at that moment.

If anything I’m just thankful to be able to do what I do, no matter what it’s actually called.

I’m a mom. I work. I parent. Sometimes both at the same time. Does that really need an acronym?

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