I created an entire business just so I could be a work-at-home mom. But is it a blessing or a curse? It depends on which day you ask me. Let me tell you what I really think.
I hate being a work-at-home mom because:
- No one respects that I'm actually at work. My husband, friends and family still call me throughout the day and expect me to be able to talk on the phone even if it's my precious work time.
- My children are almost more tortured having me work at home because throughout the day, I'm constantly having to tell them, "Not now, honey. I have to work". (If I worked at a "real" office, I'd only have to say good-bye once during the day.)
- When I'm on the phone with an important client, my child almost always comes in whining, pulling on my clothes or knocking over my pencil holder. If my husband or nanny manages to keep them out, I undoubtedly hear them whining or crying and then I'm tortured because I know I could calm them down.
- My office is often a mess and important papers are covered in crayon scratchings because I'll let my children do almost anything in my office just to get another minute on e-mail.
- My e-mails and phone conversations are incredibly brief so I can just get my point across, but now everyone thinks I'm rude and abrupt.
- I wake up to start work at 5:00 a.m. so I can work alone while my family sleeps. And then my 5-year-old decides to wake up early and join me. So I set him up on the computer playing "Dora The Explorer" so I can get some more work done. I try to focus as I type up some e-mails, but I can't really work for two consecutive minutes because he keeps needing my help.
- I've done live radio interviews from my home only to be embarrassingly interrupted by the barking of my dog.
- And at the end of the day, I realize there is no end of the day, because my office never leaves me. Most of us work from the time we wake up until our heads hit the pillow. But who are we kidding? We're even working then!
I love being a work-at-home mom because:
- I get to be with my kids from the time they wake up until they go to sleep at night.
- I didn't miss out on their first steps or their first words.
- I can drop work any time and take my kids to the park without having to ask anyone's permission.
- My kids get to see me work and see that I get joy and stimulation out of being productive. I like to believe I'm a good role model for them.
- My daughter can see that you can have it all: a career, a family and happiness.
- As I write this at 6:00 a.m., I can look over at the video baby monitor and see my sweet baby sleeping happily.
- I get to decide when I go to work, when I eat and when I take a break, and no one's watching a clock but me.
- When I go out for a meeting, I can also squeeze in some personal errands and not have to worry about a boss disapproving of my long lunch.
- I can wear my pajamas all day long and no one ever has to know!
- I no longer have to sit in a car to commute, which automatically gives me an extra two hours per day, which adds up to a whopping extra 21 days in my year!
- My work is my home, and my home is my work, which can be a benefit for the write-off's alone! (Ask your accountant.)
Now, perhaps if you measured my two lists, the hate list might actually be longer. But the perks of working from home are invaluable. At the end of the day, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. But boy, it sure would be nice if my friends and family realized that I really am working!
Lisa Druxman is Entrepreneur.com's "Mompreneur" columnist and the founder and CEO of fitness franchise Stroller Strides. Druxman is also a nationally recognized speaker and author, and is considered an expert in the field of fitness, particularly pre- and postnatal fitness. She hosts a free monthly webinar during which she answers questions from fellow mompreneurs. If you are interested in participating, contact her at email@example.com.