For the past seven months, I’ve had the great opportunity to be a work-at-home mom and in this blog, I’d like to explore the pros and cons of such a lifestyle.
Sure, waking up in the morning and going to your own coffee pot with your favorite coffee (not the one that was on sale when the office put in their five bucks this month) is a plus. But a con goes along with this seemingly boring morning ritual. When you’re in the office, you often run into one of your co-workers in the break room and hold a conversation. Maybe about last night’s reality TV, or how the meeting went last week, nonetheless, it’s a human interaction that we at home people don’t get. Sure, I get to watch the TODAY show in the morning as I’m typing away, but it’s a lonely start to a long day. Matt Lauer can’t talk back…
The biggest pro has got to be wardrobe selection. It’s definitely fantastic to work in comfortable clothes all day and not have to concern yourself with makeup and hairstyles. But, this is a con, as well. When you don’t get up and “get ready” for work, it can put you in a lazy mindset and you can’t let that happen. Sometimes I throw on a pair of jeans and do my hair just so I feel like I’m awake!
The biggest con of working at home (when you’re also a mom) is distractions. At work, distractions can be avoided. You can turn your phone off, shut your door, whatever it takes to hunker down and get that project complete. At home, with the little one, they dictate your day. If they want to play, or eat, or run around the house, you have to learn to step away from what you’re doing and then be ready to get right back to it when they finally settle down for a nap. Your brain is on a lot of different paths all at once, so you have to be calm and ready for anything.
Another pro is getting to plan your day the way you want it to go. If you feel like working early in the morning and running errands in the afternoon, you have that luxury. But to do this, you’ve got to be organized. I literally have notebooks for every single client with schedules and details of my week. Being organized and putting yourself on a schedule is key. It’s fine to go run and get a gallon of milk, or throw in a load of laundry, but if you let yourself get too out there (sure, I can meet for coffee and go to the mall!) then you can get into trouble, too. And if you slack one day, get ready for a marathon day some other time that week.
I do miss the social element. I miss being able to bounce ideas off people, or just take a break and say hello to someone. In today’s world with social media, you’re never really THAT alone, but it’s different and something you have to be able to handle. By the time my husband gets home, I’m Chatty Cathy telling him about my day. Poor guy.
But as a mom or a dad, if you have this opportunity, don’t pass it up. I get to see my son progress and grow every single day. I get to see the milestones happening, not just read about them on a daycare sheet. Even though I may be working and not paying attention to him every second of the day, I’m still at home and he knows I’m there.
My main tips for making working at home a success:
Conceptualize – see the dream and figure out a way to make it happen
Organize – know what you have to do and plan it out every day
Minimize – keep distractions to a minimum and learn to cope
De-Socialize – learn to be lonely and be okay with it
Realize – it’s not going to be easy, but it’s worth it
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