Top 9 Misconceptions About Work-at-Home Moms
After more than a decade of working in the corporate world, I recently began working from home. And I’ve noticed that some people mistake me working from home as me NOT WORKING AT ALL.
This prompted me to set the record straight!
1. I don’t work.
Although I sort of understand the overly simplistic assumption, I still find it irritating. Just because I work from home and don’t go into an office doesn’t secretly mean that I am somehow found the way to make money without working. I do in fact WORK from home, as in meet deadlines, have phone meetings, travel to in-person meetings either in the city or outside of it, and maintain a whole host of other responsibilities specific to my job function.
2. I’m less committed to my career.
This is a loaded assumption and it captures the catch-22 that moms can fall into both in their own heads and in the minds of others. Once I became a mom, I scrutinized my own career notions, plans and dreams on a level that bordered on crazy. I knew I wanted more flexibility because my daughter had become my number one priority, and I had to accept that not all jobs work that way – but that didn’t mean I wasn’t committed to my career. I really love being a writer and a journalist and a producer…and I also really love being a mom. Those two things are not exclusive of each other and do not cancel one another out. Working from home gives me the best opportunity to kick ass at both.
3. I don’t need child care.
This may be the funniest comment I hear. “Oh, so now you don’t need child care?”
Um…when was the last time it was acceptable to leave a two-year-old unsupervised and ignored for 8-10 hours a day?
Fortunately, I have been able to cut back on child care (and in doing so, save money) simply because I am not commuting two hours a day. That time gets kicked back into my workday and is really one of the biggest perks of working from home. But let’s not get carried away here; I still need someone to watch Ellie while I am working.
4. I have an infinitely flexible schedule.
I have some flexibility with when I can do things like research and write…SOME…but working from home isn’t a free-for-all. I still need to be available and work during what are typically seen as normal business hours.
5. I don’t miss my co-workers.
I miss some of my co-workers more than I can explain sometimes. Nothing beats a good gabfest in the ladies room or an impromptu conversation in the elevator bank. Well, nothing except being able to kiss my daughter on my walk to the bathroom after she gets home from school.
6. I’m distracted by things like scrubbing the tub and doing laundry.
A number of people have said to me, “Be careful, you can end up getting so distracted by laundry and chores that you lose three hours of your day.”
I genuinely do not enjoy doing laundry. I mean I really dislike it – a lot. Emptying the dishwasher bugs me more than it probably should (although I do say a silent prayer of thanks to whoever invented the dishwasher). And cleaning the bathroom seems to be waste of time, because it stays sparkly for about 36 minutes.
I would do anything to avoid cleaning…so no one needs to worry about me getting distracted by it. Oh, and I get paid to work – I do not get paid to clean…so there is that added incentive too.
7. I miss wearing makeup.
I am a bit of a closet hippie…my closest friends have witnessed my aversion to using a razor, straightening my hair and wearing makeup unless absolutely necessary. It all feels like such a nuisance.
But after I had my daughter, I became more exhausted than I thought was humanly possible, and it showed on my face. Actually, it showed allll over my face. And I began to worry that I was frightening my colleagues, so I started wearing a good amount of makeup to work every day.
Now that I don’t have any face-to-face co-workers to look pretty for, I go days without a stitch of makeup – and I love it.
Pretty sure my skin loves it too. I’ve noticed far fewer breakouts, which may or may not be tied to the fact that I was removing my makeup every night with baby wipes – if I took it off at all. Yuck.
8. I miss wearing uncomfortable shoes – or shoes at all.
Shoes are as annoying as makeup. If it's acceptable, I prefer to wear my Birkenstock sandals or Old Navy flip-flops everywhere – and the only thing better than that is being barefoot. I honestly think more clearly when I do not have shoes on my feet. I do not know why that is…it just is.
9. I don’t recognize how fortunate I am.
“You don’t know how lucky you are…” is a bit grating.
I do know how lucky I am. I wake up every morning and thank God for the ability to do work that I LOVE in an environment that makes being the type of mom I need to be more realistic. And I’d love for more women and men to have the same options that I worked really hard for.