After I had my daughter, I felt the need to devote myself entirely to her. I became a stay-at-home mom and did just that. While my husband worked, I stayed home with our baby and nursed her, read to her, dangled toys in front of her, and took care of all of her needs while also taking care of our home. I was exhausted, but I also felt like something was missing in my life. I longed for assignments, to-do lists, and a little extra cash in my pocket. I realized that while motherhood enriches my life in myriad ways, it was still just one piece of my fulfillment as a woman and mother. So around the time my daughter turned a year old, I started working from home.
In online mom speak, I made the shift from SAHM to WAHM. Here are a few lessons I've learned along the way:
1. Being a work-at-home mom sometimes makes me feel like I've found this secret loophole in which I get to enjoy my kid but still get paychecks. For this I am utterly grateful.
2. If you work from home, you still need some kind of child care, or else both your work and parenting will suffer. The amount depends on your work commitment, ranging from working while a spouse or partner comes home, to nanny shares, to sending your child to day care.
3. Some people might think that because you're home, you should still be the person taking care of your home. But kids, work, and housework are a lot to handle! It can be hard to admit, but sometimes you need extra help. I wrote about this subject in my post, "I Hired a Maid and I Have No Regrets."
4. One of my job perks is having impromptu hugs whenever I want.
5. Not everyone understands what it means to work from home; some people think it means you can drop everything, any day, any time. In reality, you have deadlines and assignments you might have to work on every day like any other working parent.
6. Conference calls can always be muted if your toddler rushes into your office singing "Let It Go" at the top of her lungs.
7. Work-at-home moms need a dedicated office space in their home -- and don't even think a kitchen table is a suitable replacement. When I'm super busy and when I have someone watching my toddler, the most important feature of my office is the door. Because I know time is scarce, I can look at anything before me with hyper focus as long as I have a bit of peace.
8. My peak work hours are nap time, the evening after a spouse or partner comes home, and after my kid's bedtime. If you work during times that would normally be "family time," you have to work extra hard to achieve balance. I spend dinner with my husband and daughter because it's the only meal where she can spend time with both of us. Likewise, I will step away from my desk before bedtime so that we can all relax together.
9. Just because you work from home doesn't mean you aren't held to the same standards as any in-office professional. If you don't get the work done, you are not going to be employed very long.
10. Motherhood endows you with incredible multi-tasking skills, so you can handle various facets of work simultaneously. You also know that your hours are limited so you might finally be able to break that procrastination habit -- I know I did.