May 2, 2010

The World of the Work-at-Home Mom

I finally finished editing my last assignment and my weekend begins -- on Sunday. Thank goodness it's a long weekend. Otherwise, this Filipino mom would have found herself staring at Monday morning without even having been able to heave a thank-god-it's-Friday sigh. Because it's never Friday until your last assignment of the week has been submitted.

Welcome to the world of the work-at-home Filipino mom.

For those who have never experienced it, let me give you a small glimpse into our world: The good and the bad of working at home.

The good: You can take a holiday any time you want.
The bad: long as you've finished everything you need to do and submitted everything you need to submit, all of which are due today, in five minutes, or yesterday, or two days ago.

The good: You get to spend the whole day with your kids.
The bad: ...telling them for eight, nine, or ten (or eleven, or twelve) hours, "Please play with your brother/sister, baby. I really, really, really need to finish this today."

The good: No commute time. No traffic jams.
The bad: This Filipino mom likes her commute time. If I weren't painfully aware that there are three kids waiting for me at home, I would even love the traffic jams. They're the only rest time I ever get.

The good: You can work in your pajamas.
The bad: Who wants to be in their pajamas all the time? And if I dress up decent, my kids begin hyperventilating and asking me plaintively, "Mommy, are you going to the office today?"

The good: All the comforts of home.
The bad: None of the comforts of the office. No air conditioner. No coffee machine. No instant Milo. No fast food twenty steps away. No banks, no clinics, no National Bookstore. No "Please keep quiet. People are working." I have reenlisted into service my trusty ear protectors -- yes, the kind they use in firing ranges -- and my family knows it by its nickname, "my best friend." ("Kids, have you seen my best friend?" "The baby is eating it, Mom...")

Now don't get me wrong. I am grateful that I can work at home. Because though I'm still tied to my desk (a.k.a. dresser, because it's the only table in the bedroom, because I need to lock myself in there to get any work done), I can be with my kids when it counts most:

  • I can have meals with my kids. I am able to teach them to pray before eating. And wash their own plates after.
  • When a scream in the living room signals a fight, I can intervene and discipline them in the firm-but-loving (and didactic) way that only a mom can do.
  • And when one of the kids feels the need for a hug, I can give it. I often type with a baby on my lap.

What? Only three reasons?

Of course there are a handful of others. But those are the biggest ones.

And for this Filipino mom, the last one alone makes everything -- every difficulty, discomfort, lack of sleep and peace and quiet -- worthwhile.

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