The Challenge of Being a Work-At-Home-Mom

“OMG you get to stay home and work in your sweatpants and pajamas all day… That must be the dream.”

“I can’t imagine not having to get up and leave the house for work every morning or not having to wear makeup every day.”

“Your daughter must be really well-behaved to let you work at home!”

These three things are super annoying to moms who work at home. Just so you know.

As a photographer, 75% of my workflow is at home on my computer after my daughter goes to bed. And then THAT work time cuts into spending time with my fiance. I’m sure most moms who work at home have to work from their computers and face this dilemma as well.

As for when my daughter is awake, well… let’s just say she seems much more well-behaved in public than she is at home (specifically at home alone with me). If your 2 year old is anything like mine is at the moment, you’re probably used to not even bothering to LOOK at your computer to get some work done, let alone actually open it and sit down. I’ve had handfuls of people tell me they believe it is easier to work outside of the home than stay at home with your children. I believe it too.

And before we get any Debbie Downers… NO this blog post is not to make my life seem miserable! It’s an eye-opener! I know more than enough people who think I don’t have a hard time here and there trying to balance everything going on, who think that just because I work from home/stay at home with my daughter while my fiance works, I don’t really work or I don’t have my own problems to worry about.

How does my job compare to my fiance’s? Well, we both make money. We both work with people. We both dedicate part of our lives to bettering our daughter’s life and each other’s lives. We both pay bills (of course he pays more, my salary is not a whole lot at the moment and much more sporadic than his guaranteed bi-weekly paycheck).

How does it differ?

Oh, how it differs.

You see, working from home requires a good space to work. Preferably an office space, a desk, some quiet area to focus. I do not have that. I have a couch with a reclining seat, a study buddy, and a 2 year old who is always singing, yelling, crying, begging, wanting to cuddle, or asking to watch “Bahbosh Squibberd” (Spongebob Squarepants).

It also requires anywhere from 4-12 hours of nonstop work with the exception of a lunch break or smoke break. I can count the amount of times I have worked more than 4 hours at a time since Mads was born probably on one hand. I don’t get that uninterrupted time away to get things done. A few days ago, Mads was actually in a Daddy mood and I spent about 3.5 hours at the kitchen table getting work done. IT WAS UNBELIEVABLE!! REALLY! That never happens!!

Some other things that come along with working from home is time management. On a typical day, I don’t touch my laptop until Mads goes to bed. I could easily ask Brian to keep her busy before or after he has to leave for work, but then comes the guilt that he has to leave for work/he just got off work and wants to relax/is tired and even though I feel those exact same ways every single day, I just can’t bring myself to put all of the stress that I feel on him instead of me.

On the days that Mads does nap, I usually don’t work during them. “What? Why not? That’s at least a couple of hours to work uninterrupted and then you wouldn’t be complaining so much, right?” Yeah sure but when would I fold the laundry? When she’s awake? Yeah right. When would I do the dishes? Clean the house? Have a cigarette? Take a damn break and relax? So usually my options when she takes a nap are either A) be super lazy, B) nap with her, and C) clean the house. Usually I go with B, because any parent of a young/er child knows sleep is a very, very precious thing.

Back to working when Mads goes to bed. I usually start working as soon as I can. Usually Brian’s schedule is a little mixed up, so some days he works early and is home at night, and some days is home until the evening and works super late. The nights he is at work, I work. But the nights he is home, I feel guilty working because he’s been gone all day and we haven’t spent any time together.

Probably the trickiest parts of working from home with a small, demanding child and very limited babysitters with a fiance who works long hours outside of the home is that your schedule mainly depends on everyone else’s schedule.

So in conclusion, no, working from home is not a freaking dream. It’s just as challenging, if not more challenging, than your outside-the-house job. It does allow me to be at home with my daughter, give her more attention, teach her everything myself, cuddle her any time she wants me to, take a nap if I want to, only put makeup on if I want to, and a slew of other things. But it is most definitely not easy.

Thanks for reading, please know my intentions are not to complain but to INFORM. I am greatly and truly blessed with the life I have with my little family and would not take any of it for granted for a second.

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