I’m A Work From Home Mom: It’s Not What You Think

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I work from home. And I am a mom. But it isn’t what you envision.

Work from Home Moms (and dads for that matter) can be considered as “lucky” by others because people assume they’ve got an easy job that allows them to keep their kids at home and care for them while working. Insert big eye roll here.

While there are some jobs that can be done from home while simultaneously caring for children, handling household tasks and basically momming ALL DAY, they are few and far between. I worked in a corporate office setting for 10+ years. When my husband accepted a new job 2 hours away from our corporate office, we moved, and I became a remote employee. My job description is the same, I just complete my daily tasks from my home office in more casual clothing.

So, let me clear up some misconceptions about work from home parents.

My kids can’t stay home with me.

There is no choice – the kids have to go to daycare. When people question why our children don’t stay home with me, I ask them this question – would you be allowed to take your children to your office every day? I wouldn’t. My husband definitely wouldn’t. The company I work for has a remote employee policy that, among other things, states children must be cared for by someone else if they are in the home during your work hours. With the exception of having a sick child at home and not being able to take off to care for them due to meetings that can’t be rescheduled, I don’t work if the kids are home with me. It’s unprofessional to have to constantly excuse yourself from calls and video conferences to take care of your child’s needs. Not only would I be doing the company I work for a disservice by trying to work and mom at the same time, I would be doing my children a disservice by not being able to properly care for them throughout the day.

It’s not as easy or great as you think.

I see posts on social media from time to time – moms who want to make extra cash while staying home with their children without having to work at night or in the early mornings while their family is sleeping. I applaud their enthusiasm and drive, but outside of MLM and certain entrepreneurial pursuits, those positions are few and far between. Remote employment is tough. You must stay focused and motivated day in and day out just to stay on task with your work. It’s easy to get distracted by housework and yard work that needs to be completed or if you’re not feeling well, it can be so tempting to lay down on the couch for a “quick” power nap and wake up 3 hours later wondering what year it is. On top of that, it is very isolating. The transition from in office to remote is beyond difficult. You are used to seeing and speaking to your co-workers, employees and other peers’ day in, day out for years and then you are thrown into a remote employment situation where you only see them if you video conference. The human (adult) interaction is seriously lacking and it can be difficult to fully understand what is happening in the office when you aren’t there to see it with your own two eyes.

Are there perks to this? Absolutely.

My position offers me flexibility should I have doctors’ appointments, the kids get sick or life gets in the way. But not all remote positions allow for that kind of flexibility. When I worked in office, I had some flexibility in the way of running quick errands, going to appointments that couldn’t be scheduled outside of working hours and the option to work from home should I need. Having the option to work from home when kids get sick or the air conditioner needs to be repaired is great. Doing it every day? not so much.

Working from home allows me to throw a load of laundry in the washer or dryer in between meetings. If I can take a lunch break, depending on how long it is, I can cut my grass or fold clothes or vacuum and mop the floors or even start prepping dinner for that night. I dress a bit more casually than I did when I worked in office. YAY for leggings and casual tops!

I’m not in the market for another position.

Someone recently told me “but you get to work from home.” No – not exactly. I have to work from home because commuting 4-5 hours total each day depending on traffic isn’t an option for me. I would much rather be in the office each day with my team. I know some will read this, roll their eyes and say get another job that will allow you to work in an office setting. Trust me when I say – it’s not as easy as it sounds. I love what I do. I’ve worked for this company for 10 plus years, I’ve put in lots of hard work and built great relationships with my co-workers that will, in the future, allow for further advancement. Leaving for another job at this point would most likely mean losing those advancement opportunities, taking a position in a lower salary range and not having near the flexibility I do now. So, I take the good with the bad and work hard to make the best of this alternative work environment.

The next time someone tells you they work from home, hold off on telling them they are lucky – ask them how they feel about it first. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

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