As I reach the of the end of maternity leave, and begin my return to work, I’ve started thinking of all the ways going to work is easier than being home with kids every day. So far, I’m at about 853 million. Here are 15 of them (15? Only 15? I know – right?):
- When you’re working, you might wake up to about 497 (albeit demanding) e-mails. These can be addressed at some point during the day. When you’re home with kids, you awaken to a 3-foot-tall creeper in Spiderman pajamas, poking you 497 times. Because he needs a bowl of Honey Kix. Now.
- Conference call participants talk over one another and then apologize and stop talking. When you’re on the phone at home, at least one “participant” is hanging on your leg yelling at you so loudly that you can’t even effectively communicate to the pizza delivery man that your screams of “get DOWN!” and “be QUIET!” are not intended for him.
- Watching webinars can be painful and occasionally make you feel narcoleptic. Watching Paw Patrol can make you borderline suicidal.
- Once in a while a coworker might ask for help working the coffee maker. But at least they don’t start yelling your name every time they need the refrigerator opened, or a straw stuck into their frigging Capri Sun . . .
- When work colleagues get tired they’ll get themselves a coffee or a 5 Hour Energy. When preschool-aged “colleagues” at home get tired, there is an epic meltdown that inevitably precedes a WWF match to get them down for a nap.
- Clients will rely on you (read: pay you) to clean up their messes. At home, you’re literally wiping asses and cleaning up vomit, poop, and Legos all damn day. And no one is paying you. Like, ever.
- When your computer flashes a blue screen of death, you can call IT and 9 times out of 10 they can figure out and fix the problem. When a baby unleashes screams of death, you are “tech support” and yet you have no effing clue what the screams are about.
- If you lose changes you made to a Word document, (it sucks but) it’s not the end of the world. You can typically get it back. If you lose a pacifier or beloved stuffed critter at Gymboree, you’re fucked. There’s no getting that shit back.
- For the most part, associates at work do what you tell them. “Associates” at home, on the other hand, need to be asked no fewer than 89 times to perform simple tasks like brushing their teeth or putting on clean underwear.
- Coworkers bathe, groom, and dress themselves without needing you to remind them to do so. At home you are solely responsible for the hygiene of naked little mongrels that smell like feet (and like it that way).
- With limited exception (like, holiday party after parties), colleagues don’t vomit on you. And when they do, it’s jell-O shots or Jameson. Not curdled milk.
- Work days can be scheduled so that you know about when you might have to deal with a client/ coworker/ supervisor throwing fits. Outlook cannot, however, tell you with one shred of reliability when you will have to deal with an “ohmigod the world is over” tantrum.
- Clients can be challenging. Sometimes they even whine and scream. But it’s usually because they have a legitimate crisis. Not because Demi Lovato is singing “Let it Go” instead of Elsa.
- Coworkers will pull “crazy” pranks, like occasionally (as in, once) switching out your ID badge with their own. At home, kids will “switch out” your ID badge with toilet paper and flush it down the toilet. With your keys and phone.
- Clients will sometimes want you to – figuratively – wipe their asses. With kids, you are literally wiping asses . . . All. The. Damn. Time.
Oh, this list could go on and on forever. Every morning as I am shuffling my most challenging clients out the door, I am reminded of more ways that work is a break. Of course, now that I am back to work, I know there are some really tough days ahead of me. Like, Saturdays and Sundays. And Fridays when I work from home. And Monday through Thursday before 6AM and after 6PM . . .