Is the number of hours you work in a week greater than the number of hours your kids are cared for by someone else? (Go ahead, do the math. I’ll wait.)
Are you not quite a Stay-At-Home Mom, not fully a Work-Outside-The-Home Mom, and yet also not technically a Work-At-Home Mom (mostly because you’re not home enough to get any of the work done)?
If you’ve struggled to define your career status with one of the typical labels, you might be a Work-Anywhere-Possible Mom (WAPM).
Maybe you’re starting your own business, freelancing, or cobbling together a few different work-from-home gigs. Maybe you’ve taken on a volunteer position for your school or church and realized it’s practically a full-time job. Or maybe you’re hustling to turn your creative hobby into a profitable enterprise – something that looks glamorous and brave in a filtered Instagram square, but is actually 87% paperwork and 42% trying to explain to your relatives what you do.
Are you a WAPM?
Whatever your work duties look like, if they happen in stolen pockets of time, at odd hours, and with all the predictability of a newborn’s sleep schedule, you’re most likely a Work-Anywhere-Possible Mom (WAPM). Here are 10 signs to be sure:
- You bring your laptop with you everywhere you go—just in case. You can debate the finer points of every coffee shop with free WiFi within a 5-mile radius.
- Your friends from the kids’ school think you’re a stay-at-home-mom and you’ve never really bothered to correct them. They also wonder why you still haven’t signed up to volunteer in the classroom this year.
- Your gym has amazing childcare and you use it constantly. Every once in a while you even work out.
- You haven’t sat at a proper desk in a quiet room since 2010.
- Your kids know that the occasional “Guess what guys? Bonus screen time today!” means one thing: Mom has a conference call.
- You’re a mobile efficiency wizard. While other parents scroll Facebook in the school pickup line, you knock out a solid 20 minutes of work using half a dozen smartphone apps. Sure, an hour at an actual computer would be nice, but you take what you can get.
- One busted toddler nap can set you back a whole day in work time. In fact, you’ve started measuring your work time in naps, not hours.
- When your spouse has a day off or gets home early your first thought isn’t about family togetherness, but how long you can hide in your bedroom with your laptop before anyone notices.
- You fantasize regularly about one glorious, uninterrupted day of work. You’d be overjoyed at four hours.
- The paycheck, when it does come, seems hilariously small relative to the Cirque du Soleil-level acrobatics it took to piece together the time necessary to produce said paycheck. And that’s before taxes.
A Double-Edged Sword
For many moms, and hopefully for you, the WAPM perks outweigh the headaches. After all, professional flexibility, creative fulfillment, and entrepreneurial opportunities are privileges not every working parent enjoys. But it’s not all cappuccinos and comfy leggings either. The dual challenges of being both available to your kids and committed to your work are more tangled, more overlapping, and more often directly at odds than in more traditional work/life scenarios. You feel fortunate, of course. But you’re stretched thin. Really thin.
If this WAPM life sounds like yours, you’re not alone. You’re also way overdue for a raise, a promotion, and a vacation. Or, at the very least, a full laptop battery, an epic toddler nap, and the best darn seat in the coffee shop.
We'd love to know....how many of YOU would consider yourselves a WAPM? Any tips or tricks on how to make it work??
Sarah Powers is a seasoned Work-Anywhere-Possible Mom and wrote this post from a coffee shop with free WiFi on her husband’s day off. Sarah is a podcast personality, digital content professional, lapsed blogger, and avid Intagrammer. She lives in Orange County, CA with her husband and three children, who still don’t really get what she does on her computer all day. Listen to Sarah chat about motherhood every week on The Mom Hour podcast, or see what she’s up to on Instagram.