I’m one of the many Americans lucky enough to be able to work from home. For me, instead of going into Cheddar’s headquarters at 5 am to anchor our morning show, I walk downstairs at my in-law’s empty house, where my family is now staying, into my makeshift studio.
I am a full-time tv anchor and a full-time parent to a 17-month-old, who currently has no playdates, no playground visits, and no grandparents around to babysit since they’re out of town — activities that would normally break up the day. Instead, my husband and I have orchestrated an elaborate schedule, switching back and forth on who gets to work and who gets to parent. It’s exhausting and chaotic. But today, I’m going to focus on something else, something incredibly special.
Jill Wagner, her daughter and pup.
Today, instead of watching my daughter wake up at 7am on my smartphone through our Nest camera, I was able to peak into her room on a long commercial break and get a real-life smile and “MAAAMA!”
Today, instead of my daughter’s nanny taking her to a music class in the neighborhood, I took her to a virtual music class in our living room. I created a homemade shaker using rice, and we danced around the room to “Get Your Sillies Out.”
Today, instead of learning about my daughter’s day through a series of text messages and photos, I was the one taking the pictures and sending them to our nanny and grandparents and friends who need a smile.
Today, instead of hearing secondhand about one of my daughter’s “firsts,” I was there when she did something new. In this case, she put her doll in a toy stroller and said “baby.” Sounds silly, but it was amazing. And it’s something different every day.
Today, instead of seeing the food wrapper in the garbage or container in the dishwasher, I was there when my daughter ate the lunch I prepped the night before when she was sleeping.
Today, instead of my daughter crying when my husband left the room (he works from home permanently, so she’s used to him being around -- and she’s a daddy’s girl through and through), she cried when I left to go back on-air. (No, I don’t like when my daughter cries! But I appreciated the reason.)
Today, instead of rushing out of the office and commuting home for 30 minutes on a crowded subway, only to find my daughter in the middle of her afternoon nap, I walked upstairs in 30 seconds and got a huge hug.
Photo courtesy: Jill Wagner
And today, instead of racing through dinner so we could get our daughter to her 5pm free play session at the local kids’ gym, our family ate and talked and read books and then went for a leisurely walk around the block. It was really nice.
As a working mom, I am constantly worried about what I’m missing at home. So in our new world of non-stop worries, I will happily scratch this one off my list.
This isn’t to say I want to work from home forever. I love my job. I love going into a studio with bright lights and sitting on set with co-anchors. I love laughing with colleagues after a show and brainstorming ideas in person. And I love that I have something that’s mine, outside of the house.
But for today, this very stressed out, guilt-ridden and career-focused mom is choosing to focus instead on these little and very special moments.
I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled WFH complain-fest tomorrow.