In the mom world, there are different groups of mom labels; most notably known are “Stay-at-Home” and “Working” moms. Under these big umbrellas, there is a less judged, but more confusing label of “Work-at-Home” moms. Do I work? Do I stay home? What do I do all day? How do I work and stay home? I fall under this confounding category and here are a few of my simple truths about my work status.
1.) I am not a salesman. I don’t work for a direct sales company.
I get asked a lot if I work from home selling different products. Many people know about different, fast-growing companies who offer moms flexible at-home careers that allow them to build their own business. What these people don’t know is that there are other jobs and careers that allow and provide work at home flex schedules.Currently, I work at a Fortune company; a typical full-time, 9-5, Monday-Friday, white-collar job as a writer and project manager. I started working in the office full-time and in the past few years transitioned my flex schedule to working from my home office most days of the week. I go in once a week (sometimes) for team meetings and various projects or conferences.
2.) I need childcare, every day.
The bulk of my job is writing, conference calls, and managing time, projects, and people. I work with people in different time zones and globally, so I have some flexibility in my hours, but for the most part I have a schedule. Have you tried to get anything done for yourself with a 3 year old and an infant? Yeah, no, doesn’t work, ever. At least not for me!
My 3 year old goes to part-time preschool three days a week. My mom is our primary care and watches our 9 month old. My in-laws also help watch the kids one day a week. We are so grateful for our parents’ help. Both D and my careers wouldn’t be able to survive without our village.
3.) Some days, some things don’t get done.
My biggest struggle as a work at home mom is feeling like I’m half-assing both of my roles. I’m at home, but working, so I can’t devote my time to actually being around my kids. I’m working, but I’m at home, so it’s hard not be distracted if I hear my baby cry or my kid scream from two rooms over. Don’t even get me started about the never ending pile of laundr(ies) and dirty dishes that need to be washed.
I try my best to keep a schedule and take a break for lunch and align my ‘home’ tasks like doing a load of laundry or school pick-up to those “break” hours, but sometimes it’s all a big mish mash of tasks and time. Sometimes work gets done after the boys are asleep. Sometimes dirty dishes sit in the sink overnight. I know I’m only one person, so I try to give myself some grace some nights.
4.) It’s okay to want adult conversation.
I try to go into the office once a week. Honestly, sometimes I just need to be out of the house and away from my kids. I need to network at work and I enjoy adult conversation with my colleagues. Sure, I have my mom and sometimes D around at home, but usually our conversation revolves around the kids and house chores. Most of my day is spent alone in our office/den and it can be isolating at times. It really is nice to be able to have an office day to talk about adult things and have the camaraderie grow with my professional network.
5.) My days are different, every day.
As a self-diagnosed OCD A-type first-born and stubborn female, I tend to do better with schedules. The biggest lesson and blessing from my work at home status is that I’ve learned to be more flexible. My job allows me to be at my kids’ doctor appointments or to take off if I need to pick up a sick kid from school. It lets me take an unscheduled afternoon off. Sometimes that means working at night and on the weekend. The nature of my job as a project manager and consultant is that my work week is different every day. I’m working with different clients against different timelines. And then throw any house/kid occurrence into the mix? Yeah, it keeps things lively, that’s for sure.
I’ve been doing this work at home mom gig for the last three years and it works for our family. I feel blessed both for my company and bosses that are very supportive and promote a healthy work/life balance. A lot of factors play into how or why this works for me and family. While it isn’t perfect every day, I really do feel like I get to enjoy the best of both worlds. And for that, I am grateful.
Any work at home moms out there? What is your work status? How do you find the balance in your life?
It sounds like you're busy!! But that is a great opportunity at your job. Love the flexibility of working from home, especially with kids. I would agree that the need for adult interaction is REAL! I don't work outside the home right now so I have to find it through get-togethers, bible study, and play dates!
I have learned to let things go and tell myself its ok. I am not superwomen. I have a schedule and do my best to do what I can. I too like being able to work at home. It is nice to know I am not the only one that feels the way I do sometimes. I do try to schedule a coffee date or walk with a friend once in awhile.
Truth. Especially the childcare. People just assume that if I "stay home." I don't need it. Drives me crazy. I'm so thankful I have a village like you…
Yes, adult interaction is a necessity for sanity!
Yea, I love the flexibility of the WAH schedule!
Yes, I'm so grateful. We are both blessed!
This post speaks to me on so many levels! My job affords me the opportunity to be flexible as well. I can work from home on days that my kids are sick and can't go to daycare. When I was recovering from my heart surgery, I was back at work "from home" after a week and half. And I did that for a good 2 months. I am so very grateful for my job and can relate to how some things just don't get done. I too feel as if I'm half assing my roles…the greatest impact coming from my half-assed mothering lol. I feel guilty most times that I'm at home but can't play dolls with my daughter, or paint with her. Or read books with my 17 month old. BUT at the end of the day I tell myself….I am getting work done which pays the bills and my kids are at home with me and not at daycare. You are so very blessed to have the help of both sets of grandparents :-). That's awesome! And kudos to you project manager! I work in Construction Management and know all about the PM world so I know how demanding it can be. How do I cope? With a beer or glass of wine at the end of the day. Or venting to my husband. Oh and most recently…by blogging!
Heart surgery!? You're amazing mama! Oh yes, the PM world is oh so exciting! Haha. It is hard to find the balance every day, but somehow it all comes together right? 🙂
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I love how honest you are in this post. I struggle horribly with #3, I feel like that a lot of the time. I find that I am constantly trying to cram everything into a nap time -time frame, which doesn’t always work. I am gearing up for summer when my other petite will be home too and I am not quite sure how it will all get done. But my motto is: There is always tomorrow, which takes a lot of the pressure off.
This is such a great perspective.. I always say I want to work from home, but I can see how that would be even harder to juggle than working outside the home. I know it feels like by doing everything you are doing nothing well… since I feel that way all the time, but it sounds to me like you are doing a fantastic job!!!
Yes we need childcare… My colleagues often assume i dont have childcare if i work from home… Ehmm, as if i could get something done with a 10month old around
Yeah… do they not realize that being an at home mom is a full time job (sometimes more) in and of itself?!
One of my best friends works from home. I work outside the home and I can imagine how difficult this is. You are lucky to have such a strong family support system! My MIL keeps my girls and I am grateful for that.
Thank God for our families! We definitely wouldn’t be able to have our careers without them!
Great post! There tend to be these preconceived notions about what someone’s status is as a mama and it drives me bonkers. I was a full-time teacher with my first son and now I’m a stay-at-home mom with both of my boys but having been in both roles and the comments people make sometimes baffles me. You keep rockin’ it mama! I’m totally impressed that you are juggling both roles and happy which is what’s important!
Thanks Erin! It is a lose-lose some days, but for the most part, I’m grateful to have this flex job during their early years. I try to remind myself of that on the long days.
I love this article! Everything is so true!
Thanks for reading, Bri!
As a SAHM, people assume I just lounge around and do nothing all day. My philosophy: all moms work! But you do have a busy day! It was nice reading about it!
I’m right there with you that I could never get any work done with my toddler at home with me! Her being at home is work enough lol.
Seriously, they just drain you some days. I can’t even imagine having to work on top of it all!
(Just discovering your blog via Pinterest so I’m a bit stalky right now! :-))
I recently had a mommy breakdown which led to a breakTHROUGH! While speaking with other mom friends during my “moment” I realized that even though I’m a SAHM, I DO need childcare some days so I can have some adult interaction… or I’m gonna go crazy! LOL! I get the latter in some form 2x a week but I’m still dealing with the little one. We need space! 🙂
This has also given me a boost to see if I can find at-home work in addition to blogging to make some extra cash. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you so much for reading and sharing!! It’s so hard to balance it all!
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