Going through college and graduate school, I never EVER imagined that I’d work from a home office. Being a very social person, I always imagined myself working in a school until I retired, then after retirement I’d volunteer at a school until I eventually moved into an assisted living home where I’d also be surrounded by people all day. But when the opportunity to work from home presented itself almost 10 years ago, I jumped at it and I’ve never looked back.
Working from home is a world within itself. It can take many forms – part-timers, full-timers, and mompreneuers. Some people run a daycare from their home, some work casually in their living room, and others, like me, have an all-out office to spend their days in. I work in front of the computer full time – I’m in meetings or writing all day long, and I often return to the office after the kids go to bed. I always hear “you’re so lucky” when I tell people that I work from my home, assuming that I do it to stay home with my kids and have dinner on the table when the family gets home. But they don’t realize that there’s so much more to it than that.
So here it is, the inside scoop. My WFH mom confessions:
I don’t not work in my yoga pants. Probably the biggest myth is that people who work from home do so in their pajamas. Annnnddd….it’s actually not really a myth, it’s a major perk of the job. Working in yoga pants and a sweatshirt makes it easy to get to work early without the hassle of that pesky shower or makeup applying or even brushing of the hair. I’ve got more than my fair share of casual clothing in my closet, and it makes it fun and exciting when I actually get to leave the house on occasion. My collection of heels might be outdated, but I’ve got only the fanciest wool socks and slippers.
I miss out on all the fun. Even though I’ve worked from home for 10 years, I did have a taste of a career in the outside world where deep friendships were formed and getting together outside of the office was a common occurrence. I am grateful to have some lifelong work friends, but I am only able to see them a couple of times per year. By working from home, I go to far fewer happy hours, dinners, and evening events with coworkers. While this is probably good for my pocketbook, it makes it harder for me to make and sustain friends in my own town.
I DO get my laundry done. The most common response I get when I tell people that I work out of my house is “it must be nice to be able to do your laundry during the day!” First of all, it’s never nice to do laundry. Second of all, while I might take a few minutes out during the week to throw clothes in the washer, I make it all up in the time that I don’t use by going out to lunch with coworkers, commuting to work, or taking a pause to do a “drive by” and visiting coworkers at their desks (my favorite pastime when I’m in the office). The small wins all even themselves out, and the “fun” stuff is made a little easier when I can do it between meetings.
I’m my dog’s favorite. The one who enjoys my WFH gig the most is obviously the dog. He has his own bed in my office and relishes the fact that I’m always available to let him outside to chase squirrels. He repays me by barking incessantly at the mailman or the garbage man or the UPS driver…or…you get the point. He keeps the bad guys away all day and is proud of it. The truth is, I kind of enjoy his company as well.
I count the days down until my escape. It’s great working from home and being here for my kids and my husband and my dog. But it’s intense. Too much time in one spot can be over the top for me. I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to travel to my office and around the country meeting with clients and attending conferences. I literally count the days until I can travel again, but I’m always happy to come back home to my yoga pants and barking dog.
And there you have it – the unbelievably glamorous life of a work from home mom. If doing laundry in yoga pants while working day and night doesn’t convince you that I don’t live a life of luxury, just ask my dog.