I noticed that there are a lot of people out there who have misconceptions about work at home parents. There’s more of us now than ever before but for the most part, we’re still a minority.
People can relate to stay at home parents and working parents but what about parents that’s basically a mishmash of both. Are our lives easier or harder than our stay at home and working counterparts? Has this made us better (or worse) parents? To help clear the air, here are 6 things that we, work at home parents, think that people in general need to know about us.
1. We’re full time parents AND full time workers/entrepreneurs.
We still do most of the child rearing and housekeeping while keeping full time (or part time) jobs. And because we do both, it means we can’t do everything perfectly each and every time. Most days, our homes will look like a disaster area. More often than not, we have to work longer hours to make up for the time spent taking care of our home and kids.
2. Despite the fact that we’re home all day, we still need full time help.
Just because we’re at home all day doesn’t mean we can do ALL the chores. We need blocks of time when we can be productive and focused on our work. Yes, we try to do as much as we can but after a hard day’s work, would you really have enough energy left to do the laundry, the dishes, the cooking, the cleaning, etc. Most days, its simply not possible for us to do all the chores and work full time. So we outsource and we delegate. Not having to worry about one chore helps a lot and goes a long way to making us more productive.
3. We need supportive spouses/partners/family members to make this possible.
Working from home does come with a lot of perks. We can’t deny the fact that this is made possible mainly because of the support from people around us. Our spouses/partners often take up more responsibilities and also make allowances that allow us to work while at home. These are friends and relatives who act as impromptu babysitters when we have client meetings or projects that need to be rushed. These are supportive bosses and colleagues who adjust to our schedules because our kids got sick. If it weren’t for these people around us, having this lifestyle just wouldn’t be possible.
4. We sacrifice a lot of our personal time for work and family.
I actually work 7 days a week. It’s just not obvious because I usually wait until my daughter is asleep before I start working. I do this because I want my husband and daughter to feel like they have me exclusively on the weekends. So to make up for lost time at work, I often give up sleep. It’s easier now because my daughter is now in preschool but that comes with its unique set of challenges.
Yes, I do try to squeeze in some “Me” time but between the growing demands of work and family, sometimes it’s just not possible. This is where having a strong support system helps. They watch out for you and help you through by giving you that much needed alone time to recharge.
5. We NEED our routines and we get irritated when they’re disrupted.
Routines are our friends because it’s predictable, which allows us to make time for everything we need to do. So when our routines are suddenly disrupted by impromptu errands or requests, we get grouchy. Just because we can work anytime we want doesn’t mean it’s easy. We work when we feel most energized, most productive, most awake, and an trip to the mall in the middle of the work week is the last thing that we want do, even though we can do it.
Yes, this makes us complete control freaks. We often can’t afford to do fun, spontaneous things because that would mean we’ll be hours behind our work or our chores. We still want to have fun, but ideally it has to be planned in advance, around our routine.
6. We’re regular people, we just don’t go out as much.
It takes a certain personality type to work from home successfully and stay with that for years. Most work at home parents I know are introverted. We have friends, but we don’t feel the need to go as much. We work best alone and we actually enjoy being at home. Does this weird out some people? Definitely. I’ve had neighbors speculate and ask about what I really do at home all day and they find it hard to believe that I actually have a JOB. This used to bother me but to be completely honest, I’m often to busy or too tired to care.
What other things do you need other people need to know about work at home parents?
What questions do you have about work at home parents that you want answered?
Let me know in the comments below and try to answer as much as I can.