Saturday, March 10, 2007

Working Moms

So it would appear that I've officially entered the ranks of working motherhood. I'm not quite sure when it happened. I mean, I've been getting paid for my work for over ten years. But somehow because I could squeeze it in around the edges of my life, because I could at any moment drop my work to play with a child or go to the doctor or watch a soccer game or spend hours kneading dough to bake bread or make cupcakes for a teatime, I have still always felt myself to be a "stay-at-home" mom. Work for me was a "hobby" - a way to stay engaged in writing and the adult world, not a way to pay the bills or to even satisfy some deeper need for self-expression (though both of these have turned out be real benefits - money and self-expression).

For the last seven years, my business of online teaching has steadily grown and in the last three years, has leaped forward by such a large percentage that our tax bill shows it. (Groan) My income is no longer supplementary for lacrosse gear and violin lessons. It's primary. The hours I commit each day to working have become intrusive to the point where I feel like I have to schedule my time of work so that my kids know it's a "no enter zone." Of course it's been that way for some time, but usually those hours happened after they went to bed or before they got up and occasionally, an entire afternoon or weekend when the business was heavier.

But suddenly I'm swamped with real demands that have no clear end. I have appointments with CPAs, investors, bookkeepers, bank accounts managers, payroll companies and more. Suddenly I have to file all kinds of documents for the IRS and keep better records and know how to pay what when and to whom.

These tasks don't fit neatly into controllable hours where I'm "on" or "off." Add to it that right now I have to, HAVE TO, get this thesis done while finishing off grad school, and my time for children has become classically NOT stay-at-home mom level at all.

I really hate that.

But I find myself also having a lot more sympathy for those who have been working all along and who juggle mothering at the same time. I feel deeply grateful that I didn't have to do that until now. I've had to let go of my idealism again and hope that my children have had enough of me to date to adjust to this genuine change in lifestyle. It's much harder for me than I thought it would be.


Dalissa 365 said...

Investor's? Do tell. I am surprised you don't already have a book keeper then again, maybe I'm not. We were drowning in all of those things you mentioned before we got a book keeper and accountant. I've always admired how you've been able to walk the line between working mom and stay-at-home mom. I think you are blessed in that your children are older now that you are moving in to more of a solid working mom. You are one amazing woman!

julieunplugged said...

Investment banker types to help with IRAs. Not investors in the business. Shudder.

So much to consider when running your own business.

I was at a wedding tonight and thought of you and Jeff the whole time...