All posts by Kristin Giuliani

A dangerous optimist. Wife to a stark realist. Work-from-home public health consultant and mom of three girls. Lover of truth, beauty and Jesus.

The Dirty Truth About Working From Home

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The start of this blog fell smack in the middle of a grant-writing consultancy. I knew it. I thought about it for about 14 seconds. Then I shrugged my shoulders and decided to start the blog anyway, knowing I wouldn’t be able to post anything until I turned in my draft. In a way, it was a good reminder of the dirty truth about working from home.

When I first started working from home, I thought, “This is amazing! I don’t have to pay for daycare, I get to spend wonderful quality time doing all kinds of inspiring projects with my kids and I get to have the freedom to work whenever and pick and choose my jobs! I can have it all!”

Wrong.

The dirty truth is, working from home while trying to stay home full time with the girls is a lot less fun and much, much harder than I ever expected.

Being home full time, in particular, is very challenging. It’s actually really hard for me to admit this. I have a LOT of fun at home with my kids. We go to the beach in the middle of the week. I get to have coffee with friends on play dates. I can hang out in my jammies all day and sleep in on those rare days that my kids also sleep in. Nick and I both gladly made the choice together that we would make financial sacrifices so I could stay home.

But…

I find myself constantly feeling I need to validate my usefulness to society, justify the thousands of dollars spent on my master’s degree, and to do something each day that cannot be undone by sticky, boogery little hands.

I grew up desperately wanting to stay home to raise children while simultaneously travel to exciting places and do big, important things. I knew somewhere in my subconscious that these two things were simultaneously incompatible. But the desire for both is still there. So when Nick started his graduate program 5 years ago, partly out of the necessity to bring in supplemental income and partly to satisfy my need to feel useful, I created a watered down version of both these desires. I found myself trying hard to do both things and doing neither very well.

I plunked my kids in front of the TV or, when I felt guilty about the amount of TV they were watching, I would stay up into the wee hours of the morning while I worked frantically on meeting a grant deadline. Cleaning stopped. Doing dishes stopped. Laundry stopped. Cooking stopped. Enjoying my children and husband stopped.  Exercise stopped. Sleeping stopped. Enjoying life stopped.

Then I would spend the next two weeks after a consultancy trying to piece our life back together and cleaning up the mess left behind. If I had enough time in between consultancies, we would reestablish some sense of routine and normalcy, and enjoy some beautiful time together before everything started all over again.

Surviving.

I feel like we’ve been just surviving for years now, probably due to the lethal combination of my terrible habit of overcommitting myself, Nick’s incredibly intense doctoral program, being very financially strapped, and discovering all three children have some major health issue.

Everything came to an explosive halt this past fall. I completely broke down. Nick shut down.  The girls melted down. It was ugly. Something had to change.

We are slowly working out a new normal. I am spending time alone NOT working. I started running and taking pilates. Nick and I started having dates again. I started doing creative projects with the girls again. I am cultivating friendships. I am working on saying no to projects that have too short of a deadline and trust that the money will come when we need it. I am considering other work possibilities. I am spending more time in prayer.

But mostly, I am changing my attitude. There was a time when I was focused on living vibrantly in the now – realizing that every moment is a gift that may not be here tomorrow. I easily forget these things when my survival mentality creeps back in. But then I read something that reminds me, like a punch to the gut.

I am looking for the joy and sacredness in the tediousness of things I do not enjoy and am not very good at – never-ending laundry, wiping poopy butts, washing dirty dishes, constantly dumping pee out of the little potty, the endless cooking and living in a house that is never quite organized or clean.

Much like my sister, I am working on being patient with myself when I work really hard at things that feel like they are never going to change.

It’s a work in progress. But I’m learning to realize that is okay, too.

 

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Meet Kristin

Welcome to our blog and thanks for joining us!

Laura and I started this blog to celebrate our two very different lives. To stay connected through the inevitable chaos. To have an excuse to take beautiful pictures and process through writing. To show the challenges behind the fabulous parts. To remind us of the beauty in the common and mundane. And to inspire others to look at their lives the same way.

We will take turns posting regularly, each discussing something “fabulous” or something “common” or examining the intersection of the two. 

But first, we want to introduce ourselves. I get to start.

So, hi there! I’m Kristin.

I am a dangerously fervent optimist staring ahead at my not-so-distant 35th birthday, 11th wedding anniversary and 8th year of being a parent.

I crave constant change and big, meaningful work that makes the world a more equitable place. I grew up wishing I could live and serve anywhere but the United States. My master’s degree is in international public health. In a beautifully ironic twist, I ended up in the middle of Iowa, about as far from any international borders as I can get.

And yet, I love it here.

But sometimes I get antsy for adventure abroad. Sometimes it’s hard to passively serve those in need from a computer in my living room. Sometimes it is hard to find the meaningful difference I am making amidst the chaotic monotony of raising small children. Sometimes it’s hard to be so tied to the lives of these precious people in my life.

It’s easy to see the excitement and adventure and glamour in the fabulous lives of people like my sister. And to only see the common in my own.

So this is my attempt to live richly where I am and to see the fabulous within my own common.

I hope it helps you, too. Thanks for joining us.

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