According to Zero to Five: 70 Essential Parenting Tips Based on Science (highly recommend this book!), mothers who are working part-time reported less depression and have better general health than stay-at-home moms. This isn’t to say that SAHM are NOT happy because I do know some mommas who love being at home. But I can totally understand the sentiment of those moms who WANT to work. I feel like I am somewhere in the middle. I love being home with Lyra (and I love that I am able to do so) but it doesn’t fill me up. I need more.
That’s why I continue to be a consultant despite the stress it brings. Especially the industry I am in (international development) where it seems the work that comes in was due yesterday and usually involves trying to get in contact with an office in a developing country where the Skype is spotty and the person who has all the answers is traveling in a remote area and unreachable – true story. And yet, I still want to work. I need to work. Not that being a SAHM is NOT work. It is the hardest work I’ve done and its UNPAID. For my mental health though, getting time to use a different part of my brain and having a break from being Lyra’s ball and chain is much needed.
A few weeks ago I got a consulting contract and I thought I could work while Lyra naps but since she is a serial catnapper, my window to work is anywhere between 30-45 minutes. Which translates to, open computer, read through email chains to figure out what to do, open up Excel document, go back to decipher emails, go back to Excel and oh, she’s up. I eventually had to work at times when she was awake and that was damn near impossible. I didn’t give Lyra the attention and care she needed because my mind was split on her and working. The client I had probably received the worst work I’ve delivered. It was all around pretty crappy. I knew I could do better – on both fronts. So we made the decision to hire a part-time babysitter to help me during the week and make me feel sane again and not spinning out of control. And just making the decision, was a total relief. I felt like 10 pounds (really 13) lighter.
The babysitter started last Tuesday and you wanna know what I did with those precious hours? I went two blocks down to Starbucks, got a decaf flat white, hunkered down at the corner table and watched The Bachelor in peace (don’t judge). I did get some invoices out so it wasn’t totally a mind waste. (But even if I didn’t, who cares???) After a morning off, I felt totally recharged and energized. I can be a much better momma for Lyra and a much better worker for my clients. And when more contract work comes in, I can feel GOOD about working and feel GOOD that Lyra is getting undivided attention from her babysitter.