It’s 7 a.m. on June 1. The house is quiet. The sun is rising over the trees, shining its golden spotlights on the green grass still heavy with dew.
I have a decision to make.
Should I sit at my desk, working on the project with a looming deadline while the house is still quiet, before the kids get up and start bustling around?
Or should I lace up my shoes and go for a run, before the sun hits its peak and warms up the atmosphere to the point where all that dew on the grass turns into the heavy humidity of a southern summer day?
I don’t write much anymore about the challenges of being a work-at-home mom. The days of trying to schedule phone interviews for when I think both kids might be napping or outlining articles while sitting by the sandbox are long gone. With Caroline going into 11th grade and Carter headed to 8th, I’ve had years now where I can plan on hours of uninterrupted time to get work done, allowing me to be more fully present when I need to be — at soccer games, playing catch in the backyard, or introducing them to the humor-laden life lessons of King of the Hill.
But that doesn’t mean that being a work-at-home mom doesn’t still come with a few challenges, especially in the summer time. When school’s out, gone are my uninterrupted hours of peace and quiet at the house, when all I have to worry about is making sure the dogs are outside before jumping on a Zoom call. Sure, the kids can take care of themselves. I can tell them I’m going to my office and not have to worry about providing constant supervision during their waking hours. But there’s still a level of distraction that comes when there are other people in the house. Especially people who, at random times, yell out:
* Mom, where are my shoes?
* Mom, where’s the remote?
* Can I go out with my friends for lunch?
* When did you say we’d ride bikes?
Part of it is my own fault. Sure, I can close the door. But my radar is still alert, always listening for when the TV is on, or when the door opens for kids and dogs to run in or out, or when the refrigerator opens, or the bickering begins. Try as I might, I can’t tune it all out completely.
That’s why those morning hours are so precious. It’s one of the rare times in the summer when I can truly gather my thoughts, concentrate, and get good work done. It just so happens it’s also the best time of day to do any sort of outdoor workout. And I know from experience, getting a workout in a couple of times a week helps immensely with my ability to concentrate and produce good writing.
So today I chose to run.
I headed out the door, immediately regretting my decision. The dew soaked through to my socks, and I really could have used that hour to get a jump on editing for the day.
Then I came out to the field of clover and caught a view of the church. My outlook changed.
I’d made the right decision. Breathing in that cool morning air, running by the cows grazing in the pastures, and seeing a few of the first wildflower blooms of summer helped center me for the day. This. All of this would make it easier to tune out the kids and work in the afternoon.
And if not, there’s always tomorrow morning to work!