They view me through the harsh, fiercely critical lenses of hormonally imbalanced teenagers when encountering their mom sitting at her computer in her pajamas at 3pm.
"Can you drive us to the mall to get something at Urban Outfitters?" they request, as if you are manning the concierge desk at the Ritz rather than the desktop P.C. on your Scandinavian glass table in the sun room home office.
When you insist you are working, they roll their eyes. "Seriously? You're just sitting around in your pajamas all day," the young one challenges, branding you with the scarlet "L" for LAZY. Sitting? Yes! Still in my pajamas? Guilty! But other than that, I'm doing a lot more than eating troughs of Kashi flakes and painting my toes teal green.
It is hard to convince them that despite appearances, I do work. I write from home and also manage their lives. Those are two full time jobs.
It is harder to convince them I once had a life away from the suburban San Francisco cottage where we now dwell. I once worked for global cable television and national magazines and even once one summer as a rover at Bullocks Sherman Oaks selling everything from soup to knits. Oh, and one summer, I was able to escape returning home from university by waitressing for a commune-owned restaurant in Goleta, where Jackson Browne dined on avacado cream pie.
I once was somebody who got dressed to go to work. Sometimes I wore blazers with scary shoulder pads. Sometimes, a greasy apron. And once, gacho pants for my first job hostessing at an El Torito in Encino at the tender age of sixteen. My girls can hardly make a bed at sixteen, let alone usher hungry valleyites to their red leather booths and flirt effectively with older bus boys.
Still, there are visible signs mommy is doing more all day than eating mini chicken and apple sausages and sneaking episodes of SNL, Girls, and Keeping Up with the Kardashians on the plasma. Here are 10 I compiled to argue your own case at home. And by the way, getting dressed each morning really helps if your children are highly visual learners like mine.
10 Signs Mom is Working at Home For Real
- Her work gets published. Yes, if she is doing nothing, how does that byline and content magically appear?
- She has a business card. Her name and email is on that business card. She gives that card to other humans and sometimes they contact her for work-related conversations.
- Mail arrives containing paychecks. The checks are written to your mom and she is allowed to cash them and get green paper money that she can use to buy you outsourced factory made items you don't really need at Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters.
- She ignores you when you badger her while she is tapping on the computer to drive you places and make you snacks because she is engrossed in the actual work she is completing.
- She ignores you when you badger her when she is on the phone conducting an interview for work, one she cannot postpone because it took all week to make contact with the subject. When you yell at her, it only makes her look foolish to the party she is interviewing, a professional who probably is fully dressed and working in a real off site office.
- She has 1,000 Facebook Friends, which is a fairly high number for a mom who does nothing all day but lounge around in pajamas, with the exception of famous people like Christie Brinkley who has thousands of friends because she is somebody.
- There is often no fresh bread or Noah's bagels in the breadbox. This is because you eat your mom out of house and home, eat like ravenous lost boys rather than glamor girls, and mom is too busy working to run out daily to market and gather fresh loaves of bread land fish and jam like the girl with the pearl earring. You are not that well fed because mommy works, sometimes in her pajamas and at home.
- The lady of the house is well fed, packing on pounds because she works at home and sometimes can't get up to walk the pug or hop on the elliptical yet can feel ravenous when blogging about organic wine and fair trade chocolate. Sometimes, happy hour starts at noon which can truly aid the writing process and make mommy feel less isolated in her solitary career as a writer.
- Occasionally you hear your mom yell at the computer because either it is misbehaving or the site is misbehaving or a colleague is behaving and yelling at the LG monitor is the modern digital method of venting at the water cooler.
- The reason your mom can quote witty lines Lena Dunham composes for her brilliant new show, Girls, is cause it's mom's job to know these things since she writes about culture and entertainment and style and must be kept abreast of the latest. And if you will take the time to notice, mommy's pajamas are actually trendy Boyfriend lounge wear from Steven Alan—not some landlady moo moo she lazes in to do nothing all day.