Tuesday, January 8, 2019

20 Rules That Changed When I Became A Work At Home Dog Mom


I took this photo a couple of years ago. I was trying to sneak from the kitchen to our home office with a snack. I assumed all of the kids were napping. But. Nope. Despite my best efforts, I was busted. Within a few seconds, all 4 kids were at my feet.

When I became a Work at Home Dog Mom, the rules changed.

1. Be prepared to share every snack you make. It doesn't matter how quiet I am when prepping a light snack. They hear me. They'll wake up from the soundest of naps even if I tiptoe through a room like a pro or pretend I'm maneuvering through laser beams. The kids know. The kids sniff. The kids will follow.

2. I no longer have privacy in the bathroom. Our kids get really upset when I separate them from myself via gate or door. I don't do it. That includes the bathroom. When I use the bathroom whether it's to shower or use the toilet, I always have at least 2 kids in there with me. One wants to play fetch. One wants to be on my lap. The others are trying to grab dirty laundry or empty toilet paper rolls from the trash.

3. At least 2-4 times per hour I check on our kids. True story. I do it to make sure they're not getting into mischief or to make sure they're covered in their favorite blanket while napping. Throughout the day they move from room to room to room. I always know where they are at all times.

4. Completing any single task will take longer than expected. That goes for pretty much everything. For example, vacuuming our carpets every day takes twice as long. Willa likes to attack the vacuum. Lobo moves with the vacuum and barks at it. Because of this, I have to vacuum really, really slow. I don't want to run over their little paws.

5. Snack times will vary. Our kids get a little snack after their breakfast. Then, they get 2 afternoon snacks. Dinner is served between 5-5:30. They also get a bedtime snack. The afternoon snacks is what varies and it all depends on when the kids want it. Yep. There are no set times on those 2 snacks.

6. Don't expect to sleep in.  During the week, I get up between 3:30-4:00 a.m. Lisa is up shortly after. We have a morning routine before Lisa heads off to work. On the weekends, at least one of our kids needs to go out around 6:30 a.m. More often than not, we make coffee and stay up. On a few occasions, we'll sneak in another hour of sleep.

7. I quickly got into the habit of looking down while I walk. Tripping over chew bones and toys and the kids running under my feet is a given. Years ago, I got into the habit of looking down at the floor when walking around our home. This has prevented a lot of accidents. Sure, I have my many Not-So-Graceful-Moments, but I'm getting better. Knock on wood, I haven't sustained an injury in a long time.

8. I've had phone conversations with clients in the bathroom. Door shut. While sitting on the edge of the tub. Or, outside when the wind chill is 20 below 0. I can fully attribute these moments to our kids feeling the need to bark at birds chirping or squirrels farting.

9. The guilt trips will happen. If you don't believe me, read about what happens when Lisa and I try to leave our home together for a few hours. You can read that here.

10. Dog hair will be a permanent clothing accessory. I sweep and vacuum every day. We wash throw blankets every week. However, with 4 kids who are allowed on our furniture, it's inevitable that our clothing will not be dog hair free. Ever. And, that's okay. Dog hair adds charm to any piece of clothing.

11. I sometimes have to explain those weird noises while I'm on the phone. Like when one of the kids growls viciously at a squirrel farting or makes a baby dinosaur noise while yawning. Or when I'm shivering because I need to have a phone conversation outside when it's below 0. The people on the other end of my phone conversation assume they're alien noises. At times, I've had to explain.

12. I polish my nails unless Lisa is home. It never fails. The moment I polish my nails, one of the kids will need to go our or will want to play fetch. Or, they'll get into some sort of mischief that will interrupt the drying process. And yes, that includes quick dry nail polish. Trust me. I know. It's always easier when Lisa is home. She's lost count how many times I've yelled, "My nails are wet. Can you take (insert name) out?"

13. Learn how to type and use a mouse with one hand. I took 2 years of typing in high school. I can type 120 wpm. However. I lose that speed when I have to type with one hand. I've learned to improvise. Why? One, or more, of the kids may require 235 games of indoor fetch per day. Or, they'll want to be picked up for extra snuggles. And everything between.

14. Have a tech device to work from at the kitchen table. The kitchen is where I'm at a lot of time throughout the day. We have a home office, but I spend a lot of time in the kitchen preparing meals and snacks for our kids and for Lisa and myself. This happens every single day. Weekends too. For that reason, there is a laptop on the kitchen table most of the time.

15. Trying to get comfortable in bed will be no easy feat. With 4 kids and 2 adults, a queen sized bed just isn't cutting it. Getting comfortable at night slightly resembles a drunken game of Twister. Or, at the very least, once we find our comfy spot, Yoga. Our goal is to invest in a comfortable king sized bed in the near future.

16. Say goodbye to days off and vacations. Being a Dog Mom is a 24/7 job. The work I do in addition to being a Dog Mom happens every day as well. I don't get weekends off. I don't get week long vacations. We don't go on day trips or overnight trips or travel to popular destinations for a week. The longest we ever leave the house together is 3-4 hours. For us, that's a treat.

17. My usage of sticky notes has become obnoxious. These sticky square pieces of brightly colored paper are no longer just limited to my desk in the home office. They're on the kitchen table. Counters. DIY Dog Mom Project worktable. Kitchen cupboards. It's almost embarrassing, but...

18. Wine. Because sometimes, at the end of the day, the sound of wine being poured into a glass is very therapeutic.

19. Our home is filled with a lot of dog themed stuff. Clothing. Slippers. Plates. Mugs. D├ęcor. Tote bags. Bowls. Kitchen scrubbies. Leash and pup apparel holders. The list goes on. Over the years, I've noticed that more and more people gift us dog themed stuff for our home. We. Love. It. When you walk into our home, you know we're Dog Moms.

20. No doorbells or knocking required. Our kids will let us know you're here well before you get to our front or side door.

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