Email: Friend or Foe

As my loyal fans and followers know, I stepped out of the workforce last April, shortly after returning to work after having my second child. I have a few rules of thumb with parenting and one of them is – do not make major life decisions while on maternity leave because it is like an emotional vacuum. So I returned to work, quit a week later, and haven’t looked back.

Everyone waxes on about how it’s such an adjustment to stay home full-time after being a full-time working parent. And there are definitely lots of adjustments. But 10  months in, I have only one thing I am still struggling with – email.

Here’s the thing – I hate social things like playdates. You would never catch me dead at some randomly organized playdate with people I don’t know. I like to pretend I am a misanthrope. I just hate BS small talk. Let’s cut to the chase – what spring fashions are you looking for this year, what insane things are your kids doing lately, what’s the latest celebrity gossip, and what are you having for dinner and will there be cheese in the meal and chocolate to follow.

These are the things I care about and sometimes it takes time to cut through the layers with people to get there. I’m really over that.

Yet I am also a very social person.

So I think part of the reason I don’t struggle with feeling “lonely” as a SAHM is because I have my posse of friends who are equally as addicted to email as moi. But the thing is, most of them are at work, so they are just being distracted from their dumb jobs or boring meetings – not emailing with their kids hanging around.

When I worked, I had this clear line – I walk in the door – I am all yours kid, no email, no phone calls – you get all of me because I’ve been gone all day. Well, now I am here all day and I need an outlet too. I do try to keep email responses to when they are napping and well, lots of time I don’t have time to do anything but that, but sometimes reading an email from a friend while all hell is breaking loose at home, gives me the laugh and rejuvenation I need to once again reprimand DD1 for assaulting DD2 for going too close to her favorite toy of the minute.

I do best with clear lines. Go to work, get stuff done, come home, focus on kids, they go to bed, do whatever you want. SAHM-hood doesn’t give you these clear lines. So while I don’t ever get wrapped up in guilt, I believe I am a good mom and give my children plenty of attention, I still struggle with this one. It’s that foggy line between needing some moments to myself but the paranoia of being “that parent.”

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