Let me start this post by saying that I love working from home. As you read through these points, you may be tempted to comment, “Well geesh — if you hate it so much, why don’t you get an office job instead?” I actually don’t hate my work though, or the fact that I do it within close proximity to my kids and husband. Being a work at home mom has given me the chance to spend quality time with my family and still contribute to our finances — and for both things, I am grateful.
But (wait for it…), there are things about the traditional office setting that I miss on occasion. I list
|At least my office-mates are adorable|
these things here to give other moms who are transitioning to a home office a heads-up. In my experience, the good far outweighs the bad, but when you become a WAHM (work at home mom), you will likely have moments when you pine for:
Work At Home Mom ‘s Miss…
- Your friends. You may not have liked everyone in your office, but you probably had at least one or two colleagues you could call your friends. Sure, you can still technically see those people and keep in touch — but it is not the same as seeing them, cooperating with them and commiserating with them on a 40-hour/week schedule.
- Your commute. Traffic stinks and gas prices stink worse. If time is money, than the minutes you spend in your car going to and from work cost you. These are probably things you have already considered as positives to working from home. Remember though that as parent, your daily commute may be the only time you can enjoy to yourself without little ones interrupting your thoughts and trying to sneak sips of your morning coffee. Plus you can pick whatever you want on the radio — without any complaints.
- Your work space. If you work at home, you definitely need a designated work space but it is unlikely it will have the same boundaries and organization as the one you had in the office. At some point, juice will get spilled on the book you are researching or Barbies will set up a picnic on top of your closed laptop. The border between work and home responsibilities will blur — literally.
- Your priority ranking. When you worked outside the home, the people who signed your checks depended on you to show up at a certain time and complete tasks in an assigned window. If you did not do these things, you stood the chance of losing your job. So your family likely made being at work on time, and for as long as you were required, a priority. When you transition to working from home, even in a scheduled position, your work moves down the priority list. Baby crying? You’re on. Delivery man ringing the doorbell? You better answer it. Sick kid, dog and husband? Forget getting ANYTHING done today. Again, this flexibility is an attractive part of being a work-at-home mom, but at some point you will find yourself saying “Can I PLEASE just get one work thing done before anything else goes wrong?”
- Your (steady) paycheck. If you have found a part- or full-time position from home with a set salary or hourly rate, then this point does not apply to you. If you are starting your own business or working as a freelancer/contractor, this may be the thing you miss most about a “real” job. In the end, you could end up making more than you ever did in an office environment (and if you factor in gas, wardrobe and child care savings — a lot more!), but payments will never be for the same amount, or on the same calendar date. This can be a headache when it comes to family budgeting and pretty much drive you completely nuts.
- Your time off. Again, if you work for a company that provides you with time off, then this does
I spend my lunch hours at pumpkin patches and playgrounds
not apply. But for the rest of you, having paid time off is no longer existent. You can take a day off when your child is sick, or really just if you feel like it, but you do not get paid for that day and your work remains (or even worse, your work is given to someone else). Planning family vacations as a business owner is about more than booking a hotel; you must work ahead and save up for the days you will be away from your desk.
- Your home. This seems paradoxical, but I am not speaking literally. You will see MORE of your home, but the way that you view it changes. It is no longer your “escape” from the stresses of your occupation but it becomes your one-stop location for everything important in your life. You do not take your work home with you because that is where it always exists.
- Your routine. When you worked specified hours, you probably had a wake up time, window for getting ready, set time to have the kids to school or child care, and knew the amount of time it took you to drive to work down to a science. At the end of the work day, you did it all in reverse. Even if this daily grind left you exhausted, it provided some structure in your home life. Yes, you can have routine in your work-from-home life (and you should), but like many of the other things on this list, it is simply not the same. The feeling of control over your schedule that you once had, real or perceived, disappears as work flexibility takes over.
Have I scared you off yet from becoming a work at home mom? Gosh, I hope not. There are many, many, MANY great reasons to ditch your office gig — especially when you are a parent. Just be prepared for the parts of freelancing that are not magical so you do not get too discouraged along the way.
Are you a work at home mom? What would you add to this list (or take away)?
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Tags: Freelance Friday