I’ve been working from home since the day my daughter was born and I wouldn’t change it for the world. But having spent the last 4.5 years combining my personal and professional life has brought it’s fair share of challenges. One thing I’ve noticed over the years are all the misconceptions about what it’s like to be a work-from-home mom. Some where along the line, people started thinking that I have become Wonder Woman and have gained an extra 10 hours every day to be both the ideal employee and the perfect wife and mother. Working from home is definitely not for everyone, but there are some things you should know if you’re considering switching out of a traditional office job. Here are some honest truths about what it’s really like.
1. My house isn’t always clean.
Moms everywhere agree that having a clean home is a constant battle that we rarely achieve it it’s entirety. And in case you hadn’t noticed, the more time you spend IN your home, the messier it gets from constant use. Working from home is no exception. Unlike cleaning your house and then heading off to the office, working from home means I’m still using the bathroom, kitchen and bonus room to entertain my daughter. It doesn’t mean that I have time to always clean up right away, which usually means my house is in a state of clutter for much of the week. Yes, I’m at home all week. But no, I’m not spending my days cleaning because I’m working!
2. I pretty much never get fully dressed anymore.
One of the perks of working from home means that I don’t have to wake up extra early just to shower, do my hair and makeup and get dressed. I can head to my office in glasses, a bun and PJ’s to get the day started. While that may sound like a dream, it’s turned into a bit of a lazy habit when it comes to personal grooming. Why bother putting on makeup if no one will see me? Why should I get dressed and waste a cute outfit when the only one who’s interacting with me this morning is my 4 year old? Sure, I go through the motions of putting on my clothes and showering, but I definitely don’t put in the effort I used to (unless I have a video conference call!).
3. My daughter watches more TV than I would like.
In a perfect world, I would only work when my daughter is asleep or at school. But because I don’t want to wake up at 3am and I’m not a night owl, I spend time each day working while she’s awake and sometimes while she’s watching TV. No, I don’t let her watch it the entire time I’m working, but yes she does watch several shows a day. We do our best to do puzzles, coloring and other things but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
4. It’s lonely.
I’m an introvert, but I still get lonely working from home. Mostly it’s because work-from-home moms are the forgotten mom. We don’t work at the office, where we have built in colleagues who we can chat with all day. We aren’t full time stay-at-home moms either so we often can’t partake in last minute plans that regular SAHM’s coordinate, or we sometimes get lumped together with working moms and never even get invited. Spending hours each day in front of the computer with no face to face interaction with other people can be hard, and it takes a deliberate effort to get your people fix each day.
5. I still don’t attend every school event or play date.
One of the biggest misconceptions about being a work-from-home mom is that I can now dote on my daughter’s every need and attend every party, play date and school play because I’m not at the office. Sadly, I often have to skip monthly chapels or miss park days because I have work to get done. When my normal office hours get pushed back because of an event we have to go to, I often spend it worrying about how I’m going to get all my work done without staying up until midnight. I’m so thankful that I DO get to participate as much as I do with all my daughter’s activities, but it’s definitely not every single one.
6. Some times I feel like I work all the time.
Most times, it’s a challenge to feel like I can really focus on my work because I’m often getting up to get snacks, dress a Barbie or help put the cap back on a marker. Sometimes I just throw in the towel and vow to come back later. Because of that, I often work in spurts all throughout the day which can be exhausting. I feel like I’m working all day, instead of being able to clock out and be done by 5. It feels like I’m working two full time jobs (mom and employee!) and that I can’t always do my best in either one.
7. I don’t have much free time.
“You must have tons of free time” is a common misconception about working from home. First, let’s be honest and say that NO mom has enough free time, much less one who works. My “free time” is spent doing things that require my house to keep running- grocery shopping, doctors appointments, hitting up the gym so I keep my sanity, and cooking. And because my work is so sporadic some days, I find myself without enough time to even get some of those things done. Free time is relegated to post-bedtime, when I’ve miraculously gotten my work done during the day and can take a bath and read for 15 minutes. ::sigh::
8. I am so thankful.
For all the challenges that working from home brings, it also brings so many joys. I have been able to spend every day with my daughter, and been a part of every milestone. I can stop working to help her finish a puzzle, and take a break to go play outside. We can have mid-day swimming lessons or morning tea parties. I would do anything I could to make sure I get to work from home for the next several years because I know I can never get this time back!
Are you a work from home mom? What truths would you add to this list?