As a freelance writer and mother, I’ve been working from home and juggling ‘mommyhood’ for almost five years. While I have enjoyed the obvious perks of flexible working and raising my son, my full-time job at a hectic magazine environment was a walk in the park in comparison!
You’re more in control of your day, can take a lunch break whenever you want (in peace), and can go to pee without a toddler hanging off your leg. So the last thing I need to hear from people is how ‘easy’ I’ve got it. Yes, I realize I am fortunate, but ‘easy’ it certainly isn’t!
So here are some things you should NEVER say to a work-from-home mom, and other misconceptions . . .
1. Tired? At least you can take a rest whenever you want to.
Just because I may be meters away from a bed, sofa, or hammock does not mean I can have a power snooze at any given time. From the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep, I am constantly on the go — mind working overtime. Sending those emails, following up on those phone calls, school meetings, homework, finding Corey an outfit for his school’s ‘world book day’, and so on. Every minute of the day counts, so taking a rest (what’s that?) would just clock up some precious time. And YES, I do get tired at home, so don’t look so surprised!
2. What do you do all day?
Many people mistake working from home as NOT working at all. I guess I can’t blame their curiosity. How do I fill the typical 48-hour working week in the comfort of my own home? But if those people managed a challenging workload and a lively toddler simultaneously, they would not even question it! Contrary to popular belief, I don’t just swan off to cocktail lunches or shopping sprees with my girlfriends, or put my feet up to watch The Real Housewives of Atlanta. I am actually working (honest!) and hoping that I can finish an urgent deadline before the school run and the general mayhem begins!
3. What do you mean you never have time? You’re at HOME.
There is something ironic about working from home. When you’re at the office, the day could feel like it’s dragging on at times. But when you’re at home, it’s amazing how quickly the time goes. It’s not because of procrastination — it’s caused by that adrenaline burst that shows up when you’re at home and need to do EVERYTHING. I can be on my laptop, and my eyes will wander to the laundry that needs to be washed or hung up. Then comes my agony over whether I should just do it now , since it would only take five minutes (which of course, it never does) . . . and that usually leads to other distractions. Before you know it, you glance up at the clock and the day is nearly over! At least at the office, your work mindset is separate from domestic or other ad hoc duties.
4. You must have less stress now that you’re not at the office.
Stressful things that I don’t miss: 1. The rush-hour train commutes in to central London every day — those packed-to-the-hilt trains that are never on time and where you never get a seat! 2. Office politics. Who really wants to witness their manager’s meltdowns or mediate conflicts between fellow colleagues? Not me! Besides those things, nothing can quite prepare you for the different organized chaos that comes with juggling work with parenting. Especially when you have the added pressure of a sick child that so happens to coincide with that important meeting or deadline. Suddenly, everyone you have on-call for that ‘emergency’ babysitting favor have gone AWOL!
Stress-free? Ha, I wish!