The Office

It's time for the another edition of Pauline's Stationay Blog Hop. Today's post comes from the uber-awesome Robin O'Bryant, who somehow manages to make my excuses about not having time for actual paying work (because I have a kid and do the stay at home thing) sound like really bad lies (because she has three and does the stay at home thing.) She even indents. Which means I might not invite her back cuz shit like that just makes me look bad. Learn it, live it, love it, mama writers. It can be done...

Having children is more than a full time job, it requires constant vigilance. Like a soldier on the battlefield your senses are on high alert. The smallest squeak of a floor board or creak of a door could signal an emergency. A cough or a sneeze in the middle of the night could mean an early morning doctor visit. There are no lunch breaks, no relaxing commutes home sipping on a mocha-choca-latte and no trips to the water cooler to visit with friends. You don’t even get to clock out at the end of a hard day and go home. As a freelance writer I work from home and many people think I get the best of both worlds. I guess that’s true, but I also get the worst of both worlds. I don’t have to get dressed or put on makeup to go to work, but I don’t have an excuse to buy “work clothes” either. I get to be with my children all day everyday…but I’m with my children all day. Every day. Even when I’m working, or on the phone with my agent, or trying to call my editor…the (cute) little monsters are still there. Working from home has meant my Starbucks is my coffee pot. Occasionally, (read: everyday) I get interrupted so many times while trying to drink a cup of coffee, I end up nuking it in the microwave  until my coffee tastes like it has cigarette butts floating in it. Since we moved from South Carolina to Mississippi, my productivity has taken a nose dive. While I always find time to write my columns, I have other writing projects that need my attention, as well. When we lived in Mt Pleasant, S.C., I averaged around 2,000 words a day on my various projects: articles for websites, blogs, freelance pieces or working on one of my books. I thought for the last few months that my tendency to work less was due to the fact I was playing more. I’ve made such a great group of friends so quickly, and so have my children. We have had a good time getting to know people and “play dating” (as defined by me, attending as many play dates as possible.) This week I was attempting to type with my 17-month-old sitting in my lap randomly pushing keys on the keyboard and with my 3-year-old standing so close to me with a pair of scissors I was afraid for my own safety. Then it finally dawned on me, I finally figured out why I haven’t been able to get any work done. In our home in South Carolina my office was practically in the middle of my kid’s playroom. I would write while they sat happily beside me (as opposed to on me) and played with their toys or colored. Due to the sheer amount of glass in the office of our new house in Mississippi, I hesitated to even allow my children in the room, much less provide them with toys to toss about. Last week I’d had all I could take, my writing journal was full of tidbits, which were becoming more illegible and nonsensical as the days wore on, and I really needed to sit down and get some work done. I went to the kitchen and grabbed the child-sized table and walked back to my office carrying it. “Momma! What are you doing?” Aubrey, my 5-year-old, asked excitedly. “I’m making you and your sisters an office.” I huffed, struggling to fit the table through the doorway. “Where Momma?” “In my office.” I plopped the table down and went back for the chairs. “You are going to share with us?” She asked incredulously, following me through the house. “Yep.” I grabbed their art supplies, (scissors and all) and a basket of toys for the baby and sat down at my computer. Over 100 emails and 2,000 words later, I stood up, stretched and asked them to show me what they had made. My 5-year-old had written several books of her own and my 3-year-old had written the letter “E” on about 100 sheets of paper. The floor was littered with crayons, toys and homemade confetti. I completely ignored the mess as I walked into the kitchen to make lunches for my office staff. After we ate I put the baby down for a nap and asked my two oldest girls what they wanted to do. Emma, my 3-year-old, looked at me seriously through a mop of blond curls and said, “We want to go back to work, Momma.” As we walked back into the office, Aubrey’s eyes widened as she took in the scope of the mess for the first time. She stood in the doorway with her hands on her hips and shook her head in disbelief. “Momma, I don’t know what you were thinking. You should have known this was going to happen. Just look at this mess…” I walked past her to my computer, smiled at her disbelief and said, “You’d better get back to work.”

Robin O’Bryant is a stay-at-home-mother to three daughters who were all born within four years, she has since learned where babies come from, and gotten herself under control. Robin survives the drama and hilarity of motherhood by making fun of herself in her self-syndicated family humor column, “Robin’s Chicks” and on her blog by the same name. (www.robinschicks.com) She has completed two non-fiction books which are represented by Jenny Bent of the The Bent Agency in Brooklyn, New York.