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weeks ago, I underwent a seismic lifestyle makeover. Did I get divorced? No.
Did I do something foolish like give up coffee or chocolate? I think not.
put, I went from being a WFH mom to a WAFH mom. And what a difference an "A" makes.
until the end of last year, I had worked from home full-time. I cranked out
copy in my jammies, drove my kids to school between conference calls and was at
their beck and call for every forgotten lunch, overdue library book or gym class
accident that prompted a trip to the ER (true story). I was living the dream. I
had it all.
Or did I? Turns out, there's a dark side to everything—even being a WFH mom.
Since I was plugged into my virtual office 24/7, I never felt like I had any time
off. Not really. For each day that started with a pre-dawn team call there was
a late night or weekend spent incorporating edits and finalizing proofs. With
no excuses like car trouble, a sick child or inclement weather, I found myself
doing whatever it took to make a deadline. I inhaled stress and exhaled
exhaustion. Worse, while I was there for my family, I was never really there.
to say, my family took the news of my job's demise with mixed emotions. Worry
over our financial security was offset by relief when my smile returned and I
began making a sound I hadn't in years. Laughter, and lots of it.
my family adapted. We tightened our belts and before long, I secured another
job. An away-from-home job. Downtown. The eyes of my two youngest widened at
biggie, I assured them. I had done it before. While part of me relished the
alone time that I would get on my train ride to and from work, and the built-in
cardio workout that would come with walking from the station to my office, I
knew it would make for a long day. But
this wasn't about me.
Our house had not seen this type of morning chaos since the time I tried squeezing in early morning runs and a much-needed shower before my parade of boys rose.
daily routine was about to be upended as well. My high schoolers had to be
ready earlier than usual so my husband could drop me off at the train that
would get me into work on time. Our house had not seen this type of morning chaos
since the time I tried squeezing in early morning runs and a much-needed shower
before my parade of boys rose. Further,
my husband would now have to take on all of the grocery shopping, cooking, and
laundry in addition to chauffeuring and running errands for my parents who live
nearby. Assuring me he was up to the task, I noticed a glint in his eye that
told me he was relishing some alone time of his own.
start day loomed. Like a nervous student prepping for her first day at a new
school, I packed my lunch and loaded my briefcase with photos and a few cherished
work-related knickknacks. Still, the jitters persisted.
Would I get there on time?
Would my co-workers like me?
How would I find my way around?
Would my stuff fit in my locker, er, desk?
worst of all, what should I wear?
stared at my closet. It was stuffed with casual clothes and a few dressier
pieces I had accumulated for any special occasions that happened to dot my
calendar during the past few years. Undeterred, I yanked at the hangers until I
found what I was looking for: three favorite suits I had retained from my
managerial days. I dusted off their shoulders, checked the sizes, laid them on
my bed and tried assembling an outfit that could pass as business casual.
selected a black-and-white flecked suit jacket, my black pants and a white
shell. Boring, but classic and, best yet, no panty hose required.
next morning, as I headed out the door, my youngest handed me a new piece of
art he had created for my workspace wall, and my husband handed me a gift card
to my favorite coffee place that had locations at both ends of my train route.
I have asked for a better launch to my new WAFH career? I think not.