When you’re trying to balance working at home and caring for a baby, lots of things piss you off. Anyone who dares to ring the doorbell while your little one is napping. Your husband who gets to shower and put on a fresh set of clothes every morning.
But as for me, nothing pisses me off more than those angelic stock photos of work-at-home moms. Stock photos of work-at-home moms piss. me. off.
You’ve seen them. The baby sits quietly on the mom’s lap, smiling into the camera, while the mom grins at a computer screen like she just found out she won the lottery. Or the mom talks into a cell phone, flashing her pearly whites into the receiver smiling at some invisible business partner while her toddler plays contentedly at her feet.
I even saw one where the baby wore the same oversized glasses as her mother, holding a pen and scribbling on a notepad.
Allow me to burst your bubble. This is a lie. An evil, terrible, self-esteem deflating lie.
I’m not sure what photographer set up the placement for these photos, but here are 10 reality checks about what it’s really like to work at home with a baby:
1. That notebook the baby in that photo was cheerfully scribbling on? In real life, that’s your wall.
And trust me, the fountain pen you gave her to stop her screaming is not washable. Apologies to my landlord.
2. She thinks your body is an amusement park.
Remember when your college boyfriend told you that and you thought it was so sexy? It’s not anymore. It’s really distracting, and usually painful. She’s not just sitting on your lap. She’s sticking her fingers up your nose, pulling your hair, and — crap, why did you decide to wear those dangly earrings today?
3. You will send e-mails that makes you look like an incompetent weirdo.
There’s a reason the baby in that photo has such a wide grin. It’s because she just did something devilishly hilarious. “Dear Prospective New Client, attached please find my proposal fjd;nvskfjnvrjvntrvnwrv 540gvo3fnekvnfv.” Good luck with that new business.
4. You’ll be blind half the time.
Give me my glasses, sweetie. Sweetie, give Mommy her glasses back! Pleeeeease, darling, Mommy needs her glasses to see how pretty you are! Oh, forget it. I’ll just squint and guess.
5. The dog will never forgive you.
Darling, Mommy needs some time. Why don’t you go chase the dog around the house?
6. Your lunches leave a lot to be desired.
While your hubby is getting Chipotle or Chop’t, you’re scarfing down last night’s leftover casserole during the first five minutes of her nap because you’ve got no time to waste! Should you warm it up in the microwave? Nah, that 30 seconds will cost you!
7. You spend half your playgroup time convincing stay-at-home moms that you feel just as much guilt as they do.
Because let’s face it, moms and guilt are just a zero-sum game. When you’re not working, you feel guilty. When you’re working, you feel even more guilty. You need a drink just thinking about it.
8. In spite of what your friends and neighbors think, you don’t have it all.
But what you do have is a whole lot of grit, a ton of talent, and, hey, a PAYCHECK! You go, work-at-home mom!