Mom Guilt And Mid-Life Crisis: A Typical Day In The Lives Of Moms Who Work From Home!

Two moms give us an account of a typical crazy day in their lives as they balance parenting and work-from-home.

Two moms give us an account of a typical crazy day in their lives as they balance parenting and work from home. 

Mom guilt, kids barging in when meetings are on, and the sound of utensils in the background– who knew work from home could be this challenging?

Having said that there are both pros and cons to work from home, and every mom will have a differing opinion. Here’s our take on experiencing parenting with work from home schedule.

(This part of the story has been told by S)

Mom guilt strikes!

So here goes…Typically my daughter wakes me up (always way earlier than I want to). I wake up with the weight of the day ahead and start to rush. But as she reminds me, it is the only free time we get to spend during weekdays.

Mom guilt strikes and we squeeze in a bit of play – tossing a ball sometimes or a quick game of ‘Starbucks’ that she came up with where we order and fake-make cake pops and lattes (all the while wishing for the real thing).

Both of us are soon absorbed in our play (and kids are good that way, reminding us to stay in the moment!).

Expectation vs Reality: Clanking of utensils and whining of the kid!

The next hour is really rushed wherein I cook, exercise, shower and ‘dress’ for office – which is thankfully just in the other room. If this were a video, I’d imagine a cool montage, with peppy music playing in the background, but sadly it is only the clanking of utensils and whining of the kid in real life.

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It’s call time for me soon after and, of course, it is then that my daughter decides to pop in and announce her opinion of breakfast to my whole team!  ‘I don’t WANT poha again Mama! It’s boring…’she says.

And then I work, ‘supervise’ my daughter’s school and the inevitable virtual- meet issues which always pop up. My routine office calls are peppered with things like ‘Can you please stop sending messages! Sorry, not you…’ to my confused audience.

Where has the time gone?

When noontime rolls around, it seems like the day has only just begun. Where has the time gone? It can’t be lunchtime already? My daughter assures me it is and says she is STARVING!

I grab a quick lunch before my afternoon status call, and I leave my with her nose buried in a book, she hardly notices.

When I’m back half an hour later, my previously starving offspring is still there – her lunch barely touched. I chastise her all the while pushing food in her mouth…but really it hardly seems to register and we go through the same thing everyday!

Missing the coffee machine & dealing with background sounds

The post lunch lag sets in. Really working from home has it’s pros and all but the handy-dandy coffee machine (even with it’s powdery coffee) is sorely missed. Kiddo is in a similar lull with her homework, and both of us have similarly unproductive afternoons.

By the time it is 5 o’ clock, ideally the day should be over – but there’s another con with working from home (are there really any pros?)…folks at office know you really have no place to go.

So a quick snack and it’s back to the grind. Kiddo has dance classes so my office callers are now entertained with dance-y background music.

Some of them politely inquire about the dance activity, while others blithely ignore. It says something about my co-workers who I’ve never met , and they likewise get a quick glimpse into my life.

Then the workday drags on till hours of the night, depending on the level of busy-ness. The only change is in the background sound – as kiddo officially claims her ‘TV time’.

There are some pros to WFH, but…

So here’s the thing about work from home: While I like the fact that my daughter is with me at all times – earlier we would barely meet till almost dinner time after which all of us used to be pretty tired for anything else. We are no longer commuting in traffic day in and day out – so that’s a huge plus!

But I miss meeting co-workers and grabbing quick coffee breaks with them. My daughter sorely misses her school friends and online school doesn’t offer the same amount of connection with her teachers.

That said, this is our life now. And we have to roll with it. Still change is already on the horizon, with vaccinations, and we have to prepare for what’s next.

(This part of the story has been told by R)

My son is the sun of the house, he rises early!

Why do we have such early risers!! My little one might not sleep with the sun but he definitely wakes up with it! And he wakes up with questions! Questions like, ‘Mom do you know that Titanic caught fire when it was being built!?’ ( If he has been reading or being read to about the Titanic the night before for e.g.)

A few such questions and answers later, I am finally up. Groggy with eyes half open, I walk to the washroom promising myself that I am going to get to bed earlier to keep up with the ‘sun’ of the house!

Amidst my son’s questions, I get some breakfast ready, which he eats, again with intermittent questions or plain information sharing– be it on school, friends, what he should become when he grows up etc etc.

My aunt had once told me, never let a kid’s question go unanswered. Those were times when I was blissfully unaware of what it is to have a ‘little adult’ around and their power of interrogation.

Mid-life crisis in the midst of work from home

Post breakfast, I transfer him to his teachers, virtually these days, to handle and tackle. And then I head out for my run, at least few days of the week.  frankly, I started this exercise schedule to deal with my post mid-life crisis.

One of the perks of middle age, at least to me, is that it has got me at complete peace with the present. And the flip side of it is that it has become a challenge to look forward to an exciting future. As much as I love kids, grandchildren don’t count for an exciting future!

Runs make me feel good, young probably. Post run, shower and breakfast, I am in front of my computer for the next 8 hours for work.

More pros than cons…

The con being  is that my son has six hours more of screen time( for school). And that is a big con.

Coupled with that is the fact that he doesn’t get to physically meet friends/teachers. It’s a world of online games and online friends, and Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok etc etc

We were anyway bringing up a generation where the dynamics involved in personally interacting with people was gradually getting lost -at least to some extent. Put this pandemic in the mix, and it has taken being online to a whole new level.  Hence for his sake, I want him back to physical school.

My work day conveniently rolls up until 2:30 pm( which is when we have our late lunch ) with probably a tea/coffee/healthy snack/chit chat break in between.

With the convenience of technology( conference calls, screen share etc ) and escaping the distraction of work place banter and coffee machine conversations, I feel I get a lot more work done at home vs being in the office.

My son misses out on playing with his friends, but he is reading a lot more. He is looking out of the window a lot more. Spending time with himself and with us a lot more. ( Trying to look at the positives here.)

Let’s hope this paradigm shift is for the better…

Come evening and once work is all wrapped and packed for the next day, the three of us head out for a stroll, or a walk or a bike ride. Our neighbourhood trail is where he meets his friends sometimes and that’s where they share all their ‘gossip’.

Life has had a paradigm shift for sure – we are more home-bound than ever before.  And probably it is making a different person out of all of us. The hope is that this change is for the good.

Image source:  Jhon David on Unsplash

(A version of this story has earlier appeared here:

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About the Author


We are an author duo who love writing together. We have written a couple of books together, Tete a tete with R&S and Anu and Isha. read more...

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