7 Truths About Being a Work-From-Home Parent

work from home mom
(Photo: iStock)

When it comes to parenting, there are no longer only two categories to fit into. Gone are the days of only two options -- "working" parent and "stay-at-home." Parents can fit into a "work-from-home" category. 

The idea of telecommuting is still relatively new, but more companies are allowing parents to opt for an office at home as it can benefit both families and companies. Statistics have shown employees who are able to work from home have an easier time finding the right person for the job -- and that right person is happier too.

Being able to work from home has many benefits for parents, but some things about the remote office aren’t as easy as it may seem. 

The Good

 

You Can be Home With Your Children

One of the biggest perks of being a work-from-home parent is being able to be present for your little ones. You can make the breakfast in the morning before school and be there when they get home. If you have a flexible schedule, you can take time off for their school plays and to take them to the doctor when they get sick, and also avoid extra stress trying to figure out who is going to stay at home with them.

Avoiding Office Nuisances

There is no traffic jam between your bedroom and basement office -- you save hours of time not sitting in highway traffic. Working from home also means you don’t have to worry too much about co-worker personality clashes, at least in person. That also means not sharing germs, because you probably have enough from your kids. 

Change of Scenery

If all you need is Wi-Fi and your smart phone, working from home offers the fun of being able to change your scenery and still do your job. You can work at the beach one day and switch that up to your favorite coffee shop the next day. Also, since you’re creating your own office, you can work in your yoga pants and favorite oversized sweater.

The Bad

 

People Don’t Think It’s a "Real Job"

If you tell your sister that she can’t stop by right now because you're working, chances are she’ll listen to you if you’re at an office job. That line gets blurred when you work from home because family and friends can often misunderstand that even though you’re at home on your computer in your pajamas, you really are working. Working telecommute is relatively new and that means some well-meaning people can’t wrap their heads around it.

You Feel Like You’re Not Doing Either Right

When you work a typical office job, there may be a moment where you miss your children while you’re writing an email to your boss. When you work from home -- especially if your kids are home with you -- having them tug at your shirt asking you to play when you have a deadline really pulls at your heartstrings. It can leave you feeling like you are letting your children down if you’re working or letting your boss down if you’re a bit distracted.

You’re Always "On" 

Working a remote position means you’re doing the majority of your communications through being “connected” via technology. While this perk means you can do your job from anywhere, it also means if you’re at the playground with your kids, your boss can get in contact with you. Feeling like you’re always at work because your job takes place in the family room means your brain will have a harder time shutting off work. When you work an office job and you leave at the end of your shift, your surroundings change and it’s easier to “check out.”

Isolation

Initially, not having to be around people every day probably lands in your “perks” pile, but over time, you can become socially isolated. You don’t have the access to people like those with an office job do and you don’t have as many opportunities to meet other adults. Isolation can lead to social awkwardness because small talk becomes difficult, or worse, it can contribute to developing depression.

How to Handle Your Business

 

Establish Boundaries

One way to curb the feeling that you’re always at work and stop the small interruptions that happen, you need to set the ground rules. Set a space up at home where your “work base” will be and when possible, work from there. Get dressed each morning and don’t allow family or friends to just pop by during work hours.

Schedule It

While working from home is awesome because of the flexibility, it can also hinder work. Set a work schedule that is attainable for your life and will allow you to balance work and home to the best degree. While you can still have some flex time if your child gets sick or you have to make a doctor's appointment, try to stick to your solid schedule like you would if you went into an office.

Don’t Try to Do It All

Burn out -- it happens and it’s not good. Don’t assume you’ll be able to take care of everything at home and work a normal workweek. And don’t sacrifice sleep to do so! Hire a baby sitter a few times a week, shift some of the home chores to your partner or older children and ask for extra help when you need it.

Schedule Time For You

Time to yourself is important so make sure you set some aside in your busy schedule. Make monthly dates with your girlfriends, take yourself out to the spa and have a date or two planned with your partner. It’s going to help make sure you don’t overwork yourself and will keep you from feeling too isolated when you don’t see people every day.