I've been working at the Statesboro Herald for nearly nine years. I was a fresh-faced college graduate when I was hired as editor of Connect Statesboro, which has since rebranded as Discovering Bulloch magazine, back in 2011.
I'm still at the Herald, just with a different job title — and not nearly as fresh-faced as I used to be.
A little over two years ago, I gave birth to my first — and so far only — child, a precious baby girl named Adelyn. Since then, the Herald has been gracious enough to let me work remotely, which allows me to forego daycare and spend my days with my sweet girl at home.
It has been one of the greatest blessings of my life, the ability to both contribute to my family's income while also being present for each one of Adelyn's milestones over the past two years. I've been there for her first steps, her first words and countless other firsts in between. It's an opportunity — and a responsibility — most mothers aren't fortunate enough to find, and I will be forever grateful to the Herald, a company that's been a big part of my life for nearly a decade.
But in case I lost you with all those warm fuzzies, let's get one thing clear: Being a work-from-home mom is also really, really hard.
Have you ever taken a conference call in your front yard while trying to keep a 2-year-old and two puppies — perhaps not the wisest decision to take in not one but two stray puppies, plus their mama, when our own baby is still in diapers — corralled and out of trouble?
I have. It's reminiscent of a goat rodeo, complete with meltdowns and fence breakouts and poop running down someone's leg. All the while my phone is muted — thank the Lord for the mute button — so my coworkers can't hear the three-ring circus imploding in the background as I try to focus on the conversation at hand.
And then there's the ever-present mom guilt, the feeling that while I'm able to both work and stay at home, I'm not doing either very well; I'm simply doing my best to keep my head above water.
To be sure, I couldn't keep any of those balls in the air without the help of my husband, Matthew. He cooks, he cleans, he helps with the laundry — and when he gets home from work each day, while I'm shifting into full-on work mode, he's fully committed to daddy duty.
But sometimes I forget he doesn't have the benefit of spending 24 hours a day with Adelyn, so he's not quite up to speed on the workings of our little toddler — like how dangerous she is when left unsupervised for more than 20 seconds.
One recent evening, he made a trip to the bathroom — and we all know women have given birth to children in less time than it takes a man to use the bathroom — while I was holed up working in another room, and he didn't think to pat Adelyn down like a criminal in a maximum-security prison before leaving her alone to play.
Turns out she had a bright red crayon squirreled away, and the world, including the furniture, the walls and the cabinets, was her literal canvas.
Thank the Lord, also, for Mr. Clean Magic Erasers.
With a dress code consisting of oversized T-shirts much older than my child and applesauce-crusted leggings, it's not a glamorous gig, being a work-from-home mom, and there are so many women who manage the responsibility better than me. But the joy — oh, the joy — found in each and every day spent with my girl makes it the greatest gig in the world, so I'll keep juggling these balls as long as life allows.
Linsay Cheney Rudd is the editor of Moments magazine and a page designer and copy editor at the Herald. She can be reached at (912) 489-9428.