Working From Home: The Best & Worst of Both Worlds

When I became pregnant with Little Miss, I agonized over ways I could quit my job to stay home with her. The truth is, it wasn’t affordable. We were in debt up to our ears, and needed my income (and then some) to make sure our monthly expenses were covered. For four years I prayed nightly for the opportunity to work from home.

When I was pregnant with Little Man, I had a Divine appointment of sorts, that led me to working part-time, from home, for some friends of ours. The four years from the first utterance of my plea to stay home had given us time to significantly pay down debt, and live on less. Even though that job didn’t pan out long-term, God had already set a plan in motion. I’ve been working from home for 15 months now, and He has absolutely been faithful in all the details.

It is something I wanted. It is something I still want. It is something I thank God for everyday.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

WORKING

There are many times I, and others, have fallen prey to the “I work part time, from home. I now have a lot of extra time.” mentality. The truth is, I have no extra time at all. Working from home doesn’t allow for set times of each day to be and stay focused on work. There are meals to cook. Groceries to buy. Rooms to clean. Toilets to scrub. Laundry to wash. Dry. Fold. Put away. (Shudder) There are kids to feed. They want to be played with.To be held. To snuggle. They want to throw blocks in my face and drool on my one exposed area of skin. They want to play games and read books and wrestle and help. Lord, they want to “help” with everything.

I have friends who assume, as I probably would if I didn’t know better, that I can just uproot and meet for coffee or lunch or shopping trips. After all, if I can make time in my day for a dentist appointment, I obviously have the same flexibility for everything else everyone else wants to do. I only work part-time after all. It’s not like I’m in an office 8-5 every day.

So what’s the big deal?

I’m only working part time. But it takes me twice as long to get the work done some days. I work part of this hour, part of that hour, part of the kids’ nap times, part of my breakfast, part of the evening, part of bed time… There are a lot of parts to working part-time.

I don’t remember the last time I finished a cup of home-brewed coffee while it was still hot. Sometimes on the weekend, Hubs will get us a special latte and he’ll look at me with minor disgust when mine is sucked dry in 10 minutes. I don’t get to do the whole “savor the flavor” thing anymore. I chug my coffee. I’ve lost half my taste buds as a result.

I’ve answered conference calls while simultaneously wiping the post-nasty-duty bottom of my son. I’ve missed door buzzes from the UPS man or the FEDEx guy, because my phone is just out of arm’s reach and I can’t leave Mr. Adventure on the changing table to answer it.

I’ve run the dishwasher with seven things in it, because five of those seven were the only bottles we have, and they were all dirty at the same time. I’ve run the dishwasher twice in one day because I had that many dishes I’d allowed to pile up next to the sink.

I’ve sat in the shower and cried because it was the only thirty seconds I have to myself in a day. If I don’t have a child on me, I’m in a webinar, or a web meeting, or on a joint call. Even this extrovert needs her space once in a while.

I’ve looked at the clock and thought, “HOW IS IT ALREADY TIME FOR DINNER?!” and all of the meat is still in the freezer and no one wants tuna. Again.

Today, my beloved son has cried nearly incessantly. It doesn’t matter that I’m trying to write sales copy that was due a week ago. He wants his mama, and he hates my keyboard and the attention it requires of me.

No, it isn’t easy. Not by a long shot. It isn’t glamorous by any means. I can spend all the time in the world getting ready for my day with hair and makeup and perky business clothes. By dinner time, I’m wearing meal remnants of three people, I’ve got hair falling out or into various areas not defined by the elastic ponytail band, I’ve got Tammy Faye Baker mascara happening, either because I’m crying, or children are crying on my face.

Not every day is like this. Thank the Lord above. Working from home, however, can really be the worst of both worlds. Is it worth it? Absolutely. I have an opportunity to spend precious time with my kids, and exercise my creative side from the comfort of my home. I love my children more than anything. I also happen to love the work I’m doing more than I’ve ever loved a job before. This is exactly where I’m supposed to be, and exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. Therefore, I really have the best of both the working mom and the stay at home worlds.

Most importantly, I thank God for both. Even on my worst days, He is my best refuge.

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