Parental Advisory: Earning all the money and taking care of the kids by yourself at the same time is hell. And only crazy people do it. Really. Less than 1% of white college-educated women raise kids alone. That statistic makes sense to me. Because 2% of white college-educated women get divorced. All these statistics come from the Bureau of Labor. Most of the women in this demographic get remarried. I am convinced that the women who do not remarry and actually do the whole child-rearing thing alone all have autism.
Public Service Announcement: Any woman who raised kids alone instead of remarrying and thinks she does not have autism should just email me. I will diagnose you myself. I don’t care that I’m not a doctor. Because, hello!, doctors freely admit they have no idea how to diagnose women with autism. You are lucky to have me diagnosing you instead of a doctor.
A lot of people ask me how I can possibly do all that I say I do each day, like there aren’t enough hours or maybe I am embellishing a little. Then they ask me to break my day down into a schedule so they can see how I do it.
The short answer is no, I cannot break down my hours for you. I’m like a chicken with my head cut off. Sometimes. Other times I drink to cope with the stress and then I fall asleep. Which, actually, is similar to a chicken with its head cut off, just after a little more time has passed.
My point is, how would I count those hours?
Also, before you get upset about me saying that I drink to cope, drinking alcohol is the coping mechanism of choice for rich suburban moms and also for high-powered women. And while I am not really either of those, I’m almost both of them, so that equals a predilection to deal with stress by drinking.
So anyway, I am really good at adapting my money earning to whatever time I have in between kid stuff. So, for example, when we were driving back and forth to cello lessons and spending 20 hours a week in the car, I changed how I earned money to be less about going into TV studios and more about being on the phone. I could work on the phone in the car.
When I ended up having to be on the phone 100% of the time in order to make enough money, I hired a driver. (Only after I totaled two cars in one year.)
When we moved from the farm so we didn’t have to travel for cello lessons I changed how I made money again. In Swarthmore I’d let people come to our apartment for a few days in a row and we’d take over the dining room table as I showed the person how they could build a business from scratch.
Now, in Boston, the boys study at the dining room table and mostly manage their own schedules. Homeschooling for me is lurking in the background to troubleshoot and keep them on track. Otherwise, they’d do things like punt on the bow tie and perform with an open collar.
So, I hired two people and I am working with a team, because managing a team requires checking in quickly throughout the day, which fits in nicely between the kids.
In each instance, I looked for tools to make things easier. When I coached two or three people a day I automated my calendar with Calendly. When Melissa got married I bought PicMonkey and told my son he’s promoted to my photo editor. Right now I’m looking at CloudPhone, because I have tons of people working on contract and part-time and I hate having to be the phone operator for everyone calling Quistic.
One of the things I worry about is that I’ll commit to the wrong business solutions for the wrong time in my life. Doing something like CloudPhone means I’m getting ready to grow a bigger company. And I can’t tell if you do the software first and then the guts, or guts first then software.
In each phase of my kids’ lives I have tried to adjust so I could do both kids and work at the same time, so I wouldn’t have to choose. I thought I was killing two birds with one stone, but often I was just blindly hurling stones and killing nothing.
And also, I’m aware that PETA is asking us to stop using idioms that are abusive to animals. So I am telling you that I know I’m doing it, because the first step to change is noticing there’s a problem.
I think I did not answer the question about how to work and homeschool at the same time. Maybe I showed how not to do it. But this post is actually a good example of how I get so much work done: I do a bad job and hope a bad job is enough. And I keep going. Sometimes that works.