As far as jobs for moms go, I'm fully aware that I've got it good. Two days a week I commute into the city, and the other three, I work from the comfort of my home. Every time I tell a mother with a more traditional work schedule (or a SAHM who'd like to get out of the house a bit), their faces drop. And then the questions start rolling in.
While it's true, there absolutely are perks to working from home, it isn't exactly like everyone thinks it is. Here are 7 things that just aren't true about being a work-from-home mama.
1. Moms who work at home don't need childcare. While I need the sitter for fewer hours on the days I work from home (it takes me a little over an hour commuting each way), there's no way I could do my job without childcare. I'm a full-time employee, and although it may seem like all I do is blog about the Kardashians, Real Housewives, and the latest in breastfeeding, it's a job. A real job with obligations that go beyond what meets the eye. There are meetings I need to be available for; emails that need to be tended to (so many emails!); and there's an expectation that I'm going to be fully available for certain hours of the day. I don't think it would be fair to my job or my daughter if I didn't have childcare the days I work from home.
2. Moms who work from home hang out with their kids all day and just "fit work in." Again, full-time job over here. If I were a freelancer, it would be different. But I need to be available (and I need to write!) during regular business hours. Also, I could get asked by my boss or an editor at any given moment to hop on the phone. Not exactly professional or productive with a screaming child in the background.
3. It's so relaxing working at home. While it's true, it is nice to not have to get dressed and pack a lunch when working from home, there are many days when I find it easier working from my office in the city. We choose to have private child care, so my daughter is home during the day with the sitter when I'm working. My "office" is in the basement, and let me tell you, while I'm happy my daughter has so much fun with the sitter, it can be tricky trying to concentrate while tiny toddler feet are pitter-pattering above. I think the sitter might put her in lead shoes.
There's also the fact that the instant I'm done with work, my daughter wants to be held. I love that she's missed me so much (and I've missed her!), but there literally is no divide between work/home life some days. No, commuting isn't fun, but it at least breaks up the day a bit. And speaking of divides ...
4. It's easy to turn work "off" when you're done. You know that feeling of walking in the door, throwing down your bag, and saying, "Ahhhh ..."? Yeah, when you work from home, you don't get that. Sure, it's a good feeling to walk away from my computer when I'm finished, but it's not the same as coming home after a long day. I feel inclined to constantly be checking my email for the remainder of the day because I still feel "on the clock." And I hate checking email around my kid. For all she knows, I'm just looking at Facebook.
5. It's awesome being near your child on the days you work from home. Yes. It is. No doubt about it. But you know how your heart breaks into a million pieces when your kid cries when you're leaving? Try having to hear the crying long after you're "gone." Heartbreaking! (But it's true what they say, moms, it only last a few minutes!)
6. It's great being able to see/hear what the sitter is doing. Again, no doubt, it is. But there have been instances when it's been hard for me not to intervene if I would have done something differently. If it's something serious, or something I really believe in, I'll talk to the sitter afterward. But I think it's important to respect the caretaker and the job she's doing, and not nit-pick.
7. Moms who work at home feel less isolated that SAHMs. Not true. Although I talk to people on email and Instant Messenger during work hours, it still can feel really isolating working from home. My days are long when I go into the office, but it's nice to be around so many people and talk about the Kardashians face-to-face.
That said, I know I'm in a fortunate situation and I wouldn't change what I've got going on for the world.
Do you work from home?
Image via Christine Schneider/Corbis