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Confessions of a WAHM

Editor’s Note: Carrie Olson Tagg is a graduate of Webster City High School and a former Daily Freeman-Journal reporter. Today, she lives with her husband and daughter in Pennsylvania.

When the quarantine started, it was recommended by a couple people that I write a blog post on my experiences as a WAHM (work-at-home mom). I thought about it, and a few days later, I vetoed that idea.

My work as a department store copywriter, along with my husband’s college teaching load, has allowed us to keep our toddler at home full time. And in a state far away from family (and with incredibly high daycare costs), this has been a wonderful option that we don’t take for granted.

“How do you manage it? A full-time job while caring for a toddler?” I could lie and say that it’s been easy, but let’s be realistic. Some days are seamless. She likes to nap, and she must have her PBS television fix (that allows for some emails and writing time.) But there are tantrums. My little girl will demand (loudly) for a sippy cup during a conference call. Many nights, I just need to de-stress with a glass (or two) of wine.

My schedule varies – some mornings I’m at work by 5 a.m. and other days I’m clunking away on my keyboard late at night. It’s a bit different now that the three of us are at home on lockdown together. The times might be the same, but it’s a little harder to manage all my responsibilities.

First, there’s the daily anxiety. Will my family and friends be safe? Will I walk into a grocery cooler with my fogged-up glasses, thanks to my face mask? When will normal life resume? And when can I have a moment’s peace to myself?

Second, the distraction. From the constant news to social media, it’s doubly hard to get any work done. I used to do a good job keeping the television off for a good portion of the day – but now, it feels like some days, anything goes.

And third, the constant exhaustion. I’m hungry and tired constantly.

So, a couple months ago, I’d probably give tips, like:

Stick to a schedule. (Better said than done in these circumstances. I feel like some days I’m mastering the routine. On others, I feel like I’m somewhat failing as a parent as the worries of the day get ahold of me.)

Set small goals for yourself. (Right now, this includes shoving a frozen pizza in the oven, taking a shower or remembering to order GrubHub on time.)

Get outside. (We have had a lot of outdoor time. But we have also had a lot of movie marathons, too. We just discovered our 2-year-old loves the movie “Airplane.” Who knew?)

Take time to yourself. (Throughout all of this, I have been able to get some “me time.” But this means re-watching old episodes of “The Office” and scrolling through Facebook until my thumb cramps up. Not exactly inspiring.)

No advice for parents here. I just admire everyone able to get through each day with their sanity (and a bit of humor) still intact. It’s all about inching closer to that new normal. We’ll get there.

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