When I was pregnant with my now almost 6-year-old daughter, I got my first work-from-home job. The timing was perfect. Instead of investing in a work-appropriate maternity wardrobe, I bought a bunch of oversize t-shirts and discovered that Lululemon leggings are surprisingly stretchy. I maintained a pretty standard 9-to-5 schedule, but I used my former commute time for sleeping in and sometimes spent my lunch break catnapping. I worried that occasionally using my pregnant belly as a laptop stand because I was working from bed (I was tired a lot when I was pregnant, OK?) would cause permanent damage to my baby, but other than that, it was heavenly. I decided I would never go back to an office again.
Six years and two kids later, I still work from home, but is it the same utopian situation that I first thought? Like many other things in my life (my waistline, my wrinkle-free forehead, my relative sanity), my kids pretty much destroyed that perfect little world. My home/office is their home as well, which means it's now pretty much the worst place on the planet for me to be productive — hence why I'm writing this from Starbucks, where most of the baristas have memorised my name and drink order. If you're also a work-from-home mum, here are some thoughts that probably go through your head regularly.
- Monday morning: I'm so lucky that I don't have to go into an office and have such a flexible schedule.
- Monday night: Remember how much easier it was to work from an office? No screaming kids or constant interruptions and solo bathroom breaks? God, I miss those days.
- Please, please let my child take a long nap today; otherwise, I'll never make my deadline.
- He's not going to nap. Guess I'll work after the kids go to sleep.
- Damn it! Fell asleep putting kids to bed again. Tomorrow I am going to have to knock sh*t out.
- Please, please let my sitter get here on time and agree to stay late.
- What!? Sitter is cancelling? Guess it's an iPad and Netflix kind of day.
- How many times a day can I tell my kids to leave me alone before they are damaged for life?
- No, seriously — kids, leave me alone.
- If one more person tells me I'm so lucky to work from home or that I have the best of both worlds, I'm going to scream!
- How much of this conference call can I put on mute before they notice?
- Please, please don't let my kids start screaming while my conference call is not on mute.
- How many hours can I work at Starbucks before they start charging me a table rental space?
- Love Starbucks free WiFi and easy access to caffeine. Hate smelling like I bathed in coffee the rest of the day.
- Maybe if I set up an office space farther from the kids, they'll respect my work time more.
- Nope. Maybe if I put a lock on the door.
- Still nope.
- Working from home sucks. Except I get to wear sweatpants. And make my own hours. And I have no commute. OK, maybe I am just a little lucky.