The Importance Of A Clear Work-To-Mom Transition

NOTE from 2021: When I noticed my blog was getting hacked in February of 2020 I did some quick fixes and somehow all of my draft posts from the previous 16 years ended up assigned to that month. This is one of those posts. I used the context to “guess” when I actually wrote it so if anything about this publication date seems off to future me…I wanted this note here to explain possible errors.

I work from home, this is not secret. I do web-development type things for 25 hours a week. Most weekday morning I get up around 4am and I do 1-2 hours before the kids wake up. The transition from Work-to-Mom is easy then because I shift into Get The Kids Ready For School mode and since it’s 7am, there’s rarely any URGENT work issues I’m having to abandon to get the kids ready. I become “Mom” seamlessly and with little residual “Work” mode to deal with.

But the afternoons? Those are an entirely different story. Depending on the the day and what needs to be done, depends how how successfully I finish my day at 2 when I go get the kids. In a perfect world there’s the right amount of tasks that need my attention and I have everything I need to do those tasks with nothing else interfering and BAM! Done at 2pm!

But some afternoons it’s not that smooth and I run to get the kids while thinking about work and sometimes I’m even responding to email in the carpool line. Then I get home and some M,W,F we have to do homework with Wes and it’s tough because ACK! STILL WORK TO DO! So for a weird 30-minutes to an hour window some days I’m trying to be WORK KIM and MOM KIM and it does NOT work.

And there’s nothing I can do about the work schedule part, which is why most days I do my best to be done by 2pm, but I can’t always do that. And the days I can’t do it it’s Mom Kim that fails miserably.

Monday was one of those days. Mom Kim did nothing but yell for hours. Now, in my defense the kids were a little demonic. There as a poop and wall and toilet brush incident I’d rather not live again. So, some of the yelling? Maybe warranted. But I don’t really like resorting to yelling even if they might be demonic. But, some of the yelling maybe necessary. But the rest? NOT AT ALL NECESSARY. Yet it Just. Kept. Happening.

I went to bed feeling like total shitake mushrooms.

So! Tuesday! I compartmentalized. AND IT WENT SO MUCH BETTER. Homework with Wesley took twice as long as usual and I still KEPT MY COOL. And then? AFTER Homework? I went back to work. See? The key is not THINKING about work while I’m BEING a Mom. Because they two DO NOT blend well at all. If days like Monday happen I either need to postpone Mom things for a bit while I put out work fires, or I need to let the work fires simmer while I do Mom things.


Now, like I said, most days I don’t need to do much after the kids come home. But on the days that I do? I really need to work on making sure I’m only going for one thing at a time. Work or Mom. Because the loser when I try to do both is the kid in my target zone.

And for the record? E is not clear from that target zone even at college. He made the mistake of calling me during the TERROR CODE RED time on Monday and HE got the blast of Shitty Mom Mode too.


So, I’m working on the transitions. Clear switches from Mom to Work Kim. Because it’s impossible to be both.

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