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Confessions of a Working Mom in Quarantine

June 18, 2020
by Mary Cornette

To be real, work-life balance has always been a struggle for me. 

In New York City, many of my friends enjoyed the freedom of freelance. As a mom, I thought WFH would be ideal for me. I would be able to spend more time with my kids and less time commuting. But somehow I couldn’t do it. Although I’m a big introvert—my hidden extrovert demanded office life. I needed space to focus and feel like a professional. I needed a connection with coworkers. I would take a job, work like crazy, burn out, quit, get depressed from not working, rinse, and repeat. I never managed to strike the right balance.

When I moved to Greenville and started working at FUEL , I knew I needed to manage my burnout rate and discover a healthy balance. And for the past year, I’ve had the healthiest work-life to date.

And then it happened. QUARANTINE.

Suddenly I was forced to work from home. And parent. And teach Kindergarten and 3rd Grade… wait, WHAT? Not to mention withstand an endless loop of cooking and cleaning… ugh.

Work-life outside the office was an adjustment, to say the least. But through it, I’ve learned HOW to work from home and actually enjoy it. Sometimes I work a little too much, but I’ve always done that. And sometimes my kids drive me crazy, but they’ve always done that.

I didn’t plant a garden, master any TikTok dances, or tick off any home reno projects, but I workout often, spend more time with my kids, and eat dinner with my family every night. I’m mostly okay with things not being perfect. And I’m grateful for the time I’ve had working from home with my family — there is no one I’d rather be in a foxhole with.

To explain my experience and also offer some helpful tips, here is:

A Quick Start Guide for WFH Moms in Quarantine

STEP 1: Panic

Wallow in a state of being overwhelmed. Whine to anyone who will listen. Call your mom.

STEP 2: Adapt

Setup a work and teaching schedule and follow it religiously. Create a comfy workspace. Snack often.

 STEP 3: Revel

Revel in the fact that you’re an amazing teacher and an attentive parent and a dedicated employee. Wear makeup and nice tops on Zoom calls. Cook healthy meals and exercise daily. You can do it all. Look at you go!

 STEP 4: Regress

[Kids revolt against rigid routine.] Obsess over work. Annoy husband. Neglect kids. Blow-off teaching. Shower infrequently. Drink too much wine.

STEP 5: Balance

Find balance and mental space. Do your best. Hey, a ponytail with earrings for a video conference is good enough. It’s not perfect, but it works.

STEP 6: Enjoy

Appreciate this special time in life. Connect with friends, family, and co-workers whenever possible. Drink wine [in moderation].

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