Being a work from home mom is a unique experience. To quote Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Though challenging, I would not trade my experience of contributing to my family in the form of childcare and financially, for the world. However, I would have loved a warning about what I was in for. To save the next mom from being blindsided, here's a round-up of the pitfalls and rewards of WFH motherhood.
1. You’ll Get the Worst of Both Worlds
As a work-from-home mom, you’ll deal with the full weight of motherhood AND working. Your children will see you and expect you to be everything to them because you’re mommy. Whoever is paying you will expect you to give 110 percent to every project because you’re a worker. And there will be plenty of times you are caught in between, feeling like you’re dropping the ball—not quite succeeding at motherhood and not quite succeeding at work. When your kids are sick you will be the one to put you work on hold to take care of them because, you know, you're the one who works from home.
Here’s the thing: there are no clear boundaries. When I worked in an office, I knew when I was there, I was there to go to work. But now that I work from home and there are so many home-related distractions, it takes a little longer to get “in the mood” to work.
2. No One Will Believe You Do Anything
Because you have the freedom to answer the phone whenever you like, everyone will call you when they are in a bind. Did your partner forget their lunch at home? You'll get the call. Do your friends need life advice? Well, you’re at home so you’re free, right? As you continue to work from home, you'll notice that your work hours will become hopeful suggestions of what to get done in a day. And if you’re a writer, like me, people will refer to you as a “stay-at-home mom” implying that being a full-time mom isn’t a real job (sigh) and that you don’t have a side hustle (double sigh).
3. You’ll Want to Give Up
There will be many times that doing double-duty will make you want to quit it all. You’ll find yourself questioning whether you're doing enough even though you’re giving 100 percent. Time after time, you’ll wonder why you didn’t just pick a “regular” job so you could work without constant distractions. Or you'll wish you didn’t have to work at all. It’s frustrating feeling like you’re doing so much and still getting nothing done.
4. You’ll Get the Best of Both Worlds
But the good news is, it’s not all bad! Working from home means you'll get to save money on commuting, daycare and clothing. Plus, it’s really hard to be late to work when you WFH and the dress code is whatever you want it to be. If you’re really lucky, you can find a community of like-minded WFH moms and you can interact with other adults while sharing the responsibility of childcare.
5. You’ll be Grateful Even Through Your Exhaustion
You’ll feel a sense of relief knowing that you are contributing to your family finances while cutting costs where you can. But the deepest satisfaction for me comes from spending all that time I used to spend commuting with my kids instead. And I wouldn't change that for the world.
(Photo: Credit: Steve Hix/Getty)