‘I want to be there for the kids’. It’s the catchcry of so many mothers working from home, but how many of us really realise the reality of what’s involved before we take the leap?
As a female entrepreneur, I have created and worked on a few business’ from home. But my current business, Alphabet Monkey, is the one I began when my son was ten months old and I was on maternity leave. I had the dream that it would enable me to earn the same as my part time job as a interior stylist, so that I could:
- do it from working from home full time
- be my own boss
- be with my son
Well, little did I know that trying to work on a small creative business means you do EVERYTHING. So a lot of the quality time I thought I’d be spending with my son, I was actually feeling frustrated about not being able to get in and work on my site or to sew more products. And guilty that I wasn’t spending quality time with him.
Even with a lot of help from my mum, who loved to spend time with him, but it still meant late nights and then early mornings with him where I could hardly stay awake (and I don’t drink coffee… eek!). I felt so frustrated because I felt my business would be progressing so much faster if I could just put more hours into it… and I longed to do that.
So the point is that we need to be aware that the very thing that allows us to be home with the children, actually prevents us from being there with them in reality.
And I used to hear about people lamenting seeing mums sitting in the park while their kids played and they sat glued to their smart phones. I understand that it may look bad to outsiders, but I’ve got all day to watch this little treasure do special little things. Whereas I only have half an hour while he is distracted to update my Facebook business page, post an Instagram shot, tweet something, answer those customer enquiries (because people these days want answers instantly).
Eventually after a year or so back at work part time, I was able to transition over to working for myself. The days where my son was in care or at his nan’s were so productive. And I was super strict with my time – I used to sew all day. I had worked out a structure to work hard during those times and just spend the other days being a mum. It allowed me to focus on doing one thing well at a time and stop the feeling of frustration.
So my point is be aware that everyone is juggling and if you think you can do it all without some kind of child care or assistance you are fooling yourself.
The Pros and Cons of Working from Home:
Some other pros and cons of working from home that you need to be aware of include:
Pro: You can be there for things when they come up.
Con: You seem like you are always available.
Pro: You have the flexibility to rework your schedule.
Con: You can rework your schedule.. it’s great to be able to attend the kids events but you still need to set boundaries or people take advantage that you can always be available for them.
Pro: You are your own boss.
Con: You may not be as disciplined as when you worked for someone else.
Pro: You have control of your life and doing something you enjoy.
Con: You are in control and have left the safety net of leaving work at the door and having someone else pay you every week.
Another con I found is that often people think you are at home doing nothing… you know, sitting on the lounge in your pjs eating chocolates watching Netflix and playing games with your child.
Be aware that sometimes people don’t acknowledge that working from home means you are, in fact, working. Well, that is until you start making money. Sadly, for the outside world, it seems like you only count when you make money.
While that’s my experience of working from home, when all is said and done, I love the ability to control my life, take trips when I want to and am now so much happier since I’ve learned to schedule my time so that I really can be there for the kids. Not to mention, also grow my business and feed my creativity at the same time.