There are so many misconceptions about moms these days. If you stay-at-home or if you work-out-of-the-home, or even if you work-at-home, you are still judged. You just can’t win. Unfortunately, work-from-home or stay-at-home, if you are home for any reason at all, you are sitting around eating bonbons all day, right?
I have done all three and they all have their trying times. They are all hard work. The one that many seem less judgmental about, but certainly also less informed about, is the work-at-home mom.
Here are 5 common misconceptions:
Misconception: Moms who work from home get to spend the entire day being attentive, hands-on mommies who never miss a moment of their child’s life.
Reality: You spend most of the day either being completely distracted from your work or you spend the day telling your kids to hold on a second. Either way, you end your day feeling like you could have done better.
Misconception: Moms who work from home have complete freedom and flexibility of their schedules.
Reality: If I had more hours in the day, my world would be perfect. I can’t come and go as I please. I am tethered to two little people for most hours of the day, I have to tailor my day around their schedules. Add to the mix work deadlines, conference calls, answering emails, invoicing and brainstorming, a set time dedicated to work progress and a set amount of time for children and I am left for no time for me. If I ever deviate from the schedule, it sets my entire schedule off kilter for the month. To make up for deviation, I have to work at night after the kids go to bed.
Misconception: We work in our pajamas.
Reality: With Skype and Google chat, sitting around in my pajamas is a luxury I cannot afford. There has never been working in my pajamas (yoga pants maybe), unless I have the flu and a deadline and they coincide. In which case, I drag myself from my bed to my office and I meet my deadline because working from home means that I have to work twice as hard and be three times as focused in order to prove myself.
Misonception: We have a stress-free work environment.
Reality: Sure, I don’t have the hour commute each way that I use to have or I don’t have to ride the train into the city but I also live at my job. I live here! I don’t get to go home at 5 pm. It’s like shitting where you eat. Not to mention, working with small people around is like running a gauntlet frought with live wires,150 feet in the air, on a slippery hanging bridge.
Misconception: We don't really work and it doesn’t pay.When I tell people that I work from home, they always ask if I sell Avon, Mary Kay, or thirty-one products. I can always see the panic in their eyes when they expect to be invited to a purse, Tupperware or naughty nightie party. Being home all day translates into others thinking that I am available; to babysit, pet-sit, pick up dry cleaning, give a ride to the mall or wait for the FedEx man.
Reality: I work harder than I have ever worked in my life. I have a schedule that I try to keep and I have tight deadlines. I have a real job in a competitive field. The only difference between myself and my counterpart who goes into the office is that they get to work in quiet environment surrounded by adults and they have in-house support. No one expects them to be available to babysit or pick up dry cleaning during work hours. No one expects them to drop what they are doing and run to the grocery store.
Don’t get me wrong. I have a sweet deal now. I love my work-from-home status, especially now that my girls are in school all day. When the girls were toddlers it was hard trying to get work done and be available emotionally for them. I always put the girls first because the whole reason I took the work-at-home job was so that I could be there for them. My mommy heart was pulled in a lot of different directions and my paycheck usually reflected it but I had the choice to decide and I always choose to be available to the girls. I don’t regret that. We could have used the money but I knew I couldn’t get back those first moments.
Work–at-home, stay-at-home or work-out-of-the-home, it’s all hard and it’s all worth it. What’s the craziest mom stereotype that you have ever heard about mom’s who work-at-home, stay-at-home or work-out-of-the-home?
Image via Flickr/ Victor 1558