Monday, March 26, 2018

A Couple Of Afternoon Wine Dates Taught Me A Thing Or Two

Since becoming a Work at Home Dog Mom many years ago, I've received an innumerable amount of emails and messages. The emails and messages are all over the charts. Questions. Requests for tips and advice and how to's. Comments. Suggestions. Compliments. Constructive criticism. The list goes on. And on. And on. Last month, a friend of mine who keeps up with my Work at Home Dog Mom blog posts, asked me a question that caught me a bit off guard...

"I know you love being a Work at Home Dog Mom. Is there anything you don't like about it?"

My answer was simple. No.

She didn't let me off the hook.

"There has to be something. Maybe it's not something you dislike, but more along the lines of it being something you miss or would like to have more of or something you'd like to change up a bit."

That made more sense to me because honestly, there is nothing I dislike about being a Work at Home Dog Mom.


At that moment, I reflected back to a conversation I had in January with one of my favorite humans. She visited for a munchie and wine lunch date.

There had been a misunderstanding with something I had written and published. For the first 15 minutes of our visit, she expressed how she felt.

I admired her candidness and honesty.

We spent the rest of the afternoon sipping wine and talking in depth about life, daily struggles, and a few things that had been weighing us down. There were tears and tissues involved. Both of us.

Throughout all of this, I admitted that one of my biggest frustrations and obstacles was the people in my life don't know the extent of what I do each and every day.

"People ask what I do for work. I've always had trouble answering that question because it doesn't fit in a nutshell. So, I highlight a few things and end it there. Before they lose interest. Because of that, people know about 20% of what I do on a daily basis. That makes it hard for me."

At that point, I was absorbing my tears with a Kleenex.

That particular lunch date broke down a lot of walls for the both of us. It also got me thinking.

While there is nothing I dislike about being a Work at Home Dog Mom, there is a minor void that I take notice to every single day.

Whether you're a Work at Home Dog Mom or a Stay at Home Dog Mom or a Work at Home or Stay at Home Mom to human kids, there is a level of isolation.

You're home. Most of the time. Working. Taking time out during the day to socialize and take a break from the hustle and bustle of it all is 'bout near impossible.

On the flip side, people don't visit because they know you're busy and don't want to be intrusive.

Truthfully, as a Work at Home Dog Mom, I sometimes feel isolated and brushed aside. After thinking long and hard about the question my friend asked me and the conversation with one of my favorite humans, I gained a little clarity.

With my newfound clarity, I have made a few small changes. For example, over the past few weeks, one of my favorite humans had several days off. During her days off, she has sent a text asking if I had time to get together for a glass of wine.

My first reaction was to say, "I'm SO busy today. I can't. But, maybe we can plan on another day..."

But, I didn't.

Instead of allowing busy to be an excuse, I made time. And, it happened. We had a great time. It was much needed on both ends.

Last week, I stepped further away from "outside of the box." I made afternoon plans with another neighbor friend. Here. Noon. Wednesday. Wine. Munchies.

Then, today, something happened. Out of the blue. Not planned. I was in the bathroom. I wasn't quite done with toilet time yet. I heard a knock on our kitchen door.

The knocks were consistent. A bit loud. The kids were going nuts. The first thing that ran through my brain was putting a sense of urgency on getting the back hallway door situated so we could keep it locked at all times.

I got up from the toilet. I heard my phone go off. Text. I ran from the bathroom to the home office, meanwhile trying to pull my pants up.

Amid all of this, I feared another "graceful" moment and having to explain why to Lisa.

"Yes, honey. I ran from the bathroom to the home office with my pants down. Yes, honey. I know. That didn't fall into the bucket of Wise Choices."

After the 2"graceful" moments last week, I didn't want to be in that situation.

The text was from Char. She and her husband live across the street. We've known them since 2012. They've become family to us. It was Char's birthday. She wanted to have a glass of wine with me to celebrate her birthday.

I sent a text back. Give me 5 minutes. Then, I'm all yours.

When I unlocked our kitchen door and opened it a bit, Char was still at the door. She had snacks in one hand and wine in the other. She apologized for showing up unexpectedly. I told her not to apologize.

For the next 2 1/2 hours, we sat at the kitchen table sipping wine, eating honey roasted peanuts, and talking.

It. Was. Total. Greatness. 

At some point throughout the discussion, I told her that I've been waiting for her to come over and visit. Her reply hit me like a ton of bricks.

"I've been wanting to, but I know you're busy. You're a Work at Home Dog Mom. You work 'round the clock. I never know when you're available. I don't want to intrude."

It was then I realized the Universe had shifted a tiny bit. Enough to make me take a few more steps back and look at the big picture in its entirety.

A good portion of stepping back and being on the outside looking in is recognizing faults on your end too.

I realized I was contributing to the problem because of my previous work schedule and my failure to update people about that.

Updating people translates to having face to face conversations and that's something I don't do a lot of. Out. Of. Habit.

When we moved here in July of 2012, my work life was completely different than what it is now. I was continuously in meetings throughout the day and sometimes into the early evening hours because of the time difference.

I had dozens of deadlines within a week's time.

I was only getting about 2 hours of sleep a day.

Now, it's not like that.

A lot has changed.

But, the people in our life don't know that. I have failed to tell people that I have a more flexible schedule. I'm able to take an afternoon here and there to enjoy the company of neighbor friends and beyond.

I have failed to let people know that they can stop by if they have a bit o' free time on their hands. The only thing I request is a few minutes notice.

And, if they visit unannounced, my hands will be stained with paint, I won't have a bra on, my hair will be in a sloppy bun, I'll need a couple of minutes to get the kids situated, and the kitchen table will be covered in DIY Dog Mom Projects.

Even if the visit is planned, I probably won't be wearing a bra because I despise those things.

But, as I've learned over the past couple of months, the people in our tribe don't care about that. They know I'm a Work at Home Dog Mom. The house won't be spotless. Neither will I.

As Dr. Seuss quotes, "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

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