It’s a whole new world, this work-at-home-mom thingy. After having worked in an office environment for the past 12 years and having recently left that behind to launch a business from home, I am observing all sorts of sights and sounds that take place on the home front on weekdays at times when I have not ordinarily been here.
In college, I took a cultural anthropology class (quick shout out to all of my U of M peeps who sat through Anthro 101 in the MLB; I know there are many of you)! I don’t remember much from this class I took first semester of my freshman year, but I do remember one thing my professor shared with us, and it’s something that all anthropologists to a new location or to a new culture should recognize. It’s the idea that your observations of differences in any new culture are the most glaring in the early days. Before long, you’ll be ingrained in the new culture such that you won’t notice the differences nearly as much as you did when you first arrived. The lesson: soak in the differences while they are just that and take note so you can share your findings.
I have cloaked myself in this anthropological way of thinking and am taking note of all that a weekday in the burbs between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. brings. And with my motherhood hat also firmly in place, I see this new world through not one, but two lenses. My early observations are as follows:
- Contrary to my earlier belief, the garbage is not always picked up in the morning. It was picked up at 3:17 p.m. on the day of this writing.
- My neighbors really like Amazon. The FedEx and UPS trucks make daily appearances on our cul-de-sac.
- Our home is on the verge of being overrun by an inordinate amount of extremely active squirrels (my sister/neighbor can attest to this in a rather personal and disturbing way — let’s just say that no one should ever discover a squirrel carcass in his or her bed).
- Just about everyone in the immediate vicinity of my home hires a lawn service, never the same one, and all come on different days and at different times.
What these early observations mean to the lay person is nothing at all really. What they mean to me, a working mom who is attempting to cram a lot of work into the two-hour window when her toddlers nap, is that there are a whole lot of motors, scampering animals, trucks and other outside noises threatening at any moment to wake my tots from slumber prematurely—and it terrifies me!
But back to some anthropology. If I were writing a book on the differences between work-at-home motherhood and work-at-the-office motherhood, I would, of course, provide the requisite recommendations to would-be work-at-home moms like purchasing a really great sound machine, fan or other white noise provider for baby’s room and setting up an office far from where your babies sleep. But I’d also make sure to include a reminder to the novice work-at-home-mom that in this new world, you most certainly can’t beat the view!