Sometime late last year I fell into a rut. I was worn down with the routine of life. Get up, rush out the door, work, rush home (try to beat rush hour), get to daycare before they close, make a quick dinner because toddlers demand food the second you walk in the door, rinse and repeat. I felt exhausted. The drive to/from work with daycare and traffic included averaged 45 minutes. An hour and a half we wasted every day, in the car. And daycare is an 8 minute drive from my house. I felt like outside of work I was failing – I couldn’t keep a meal plan straight, I couldn’t keep the house clean, and I never had the energy to get back on track.
Cue: new job. While looking for a new job (for a number of other reasons that I won’t get into) I was lucky enough to find a full-time work from home position. I couldn’t believe it. It was the perfect opportunity with a wonderful company and came at a time that couldn’t have been better. Putting work itself aside (because let’s be honest, that could be a whole post on it’s own), the shift to working from home changed everything for me.
I was waking up at the same time as I always had and getting so much more done! My husband and I alternate daycare trips so I could shower or get ready while he was doing drop off and still be logged on way earlier than I’d have made it into the office. I could start dinner at 5pm and actually have it ready by 5:30 when my husband and son got home. I could run the crock pot all day and not worry every 3 seconds if the house was going to burn down (for real, this was game changer for me). Even small things suddenly because so obvious – the dogs were no longer cooped up all day and going crazy every night. I could fit in a walk during lunch, have lunch with a friend I wouldn’t otherwise get to see, or run to my mom’s to borrow a pan, some milk, or let’s be honest, extra Christmas cookies.
Most importantly was just my shift in attitude. I wasn’t frustrated by traffic, rushed to get out the door, struggling to fit everything in and not feel like something was sliding off my priority list – work included.
It hasn’t all been clean laundry and dinner prep though. There are definitely some down sides to working from home, and it isn’t necessarily something I’d recommend to everyone. If you’re thinking about working from home or have that option, really think about why you’re considering it and what you’ll be giving up by making the change. Here are a few of the not-so-nice things about working from home.
- You see the mess. Seriously, this one is a big. The point of working from home is work, not “get it all done,” so there will be times you need to just leave the dirty dishes, endless loads of laundry, and accumulating dust. It’s important to keep in mind your priority is work. Get your job done, put in your time, do what you gotta do, then if you have a few free minutes, by all means dig into that housework – but don’t feel guilty if you can’t!
- Your house is a 1 (wo)man office. This one sounds silly, but it’s really something to consider. You can’t just pop over to someone’s desk or meet them in the break room for a quick chat. Email, chat, and phone calls become increasingly important as they are you only means of communication. This means the social aspect of work also goes away. If you get your energy from being around others, this is really something to consider. For me, the teams I work with are distributed globally so even being in an office, I wouldn’t have team members beside me. As for the social aspect, I’ve always been an introvert. My energy comes from quiet. I get my social interaction on my weekends, meeting friends for lunch, or phone calls with my family.
- This is not a replacement for childcare. There are mixed thoughts on this, and I have friends who have been able to manage watching their children while working from home, however, I would not expect this is the norm. Personally, I would get zero work done if my son was home. Most of my work is meetings so having a babbling toddler or loud toys in the background would be completely unacceptable. When I’m not in meetings I need my full focus on work. If your job is more flexible or you work for yourself maybe you can figure this one out, but for most 9-to-5 jobs it’s just not an option. A good rule of thumb is, if you wouldn’t take your children to your job when at the office, you probably shouldn’t have them home while you work either.
Anyone else out there a work from home momma? What’s your experience been like?