Mothers are often divided into two groups – the working mothers and the stay at home mothers. But there is a third growing group: those who work from home.
For some it may be a completely unfeasible option, for example if the skills and qualifications you’ve picked up during your career simply wouldn’t transfer into something you could do outside of a workplace setting (open heart surgery on the dining room table, anyone?).
But for others it’s a choice that enables them to strike that middle ground between relying financially on others to support you and going back to work full time, giving you a little bit of money in your pocket while maximising the time you can spend with your little ones.
As always, everything comes with its ups and downs but for those considering working from home, here are some of the pros and cons:
WORK FROM HOME PROS:
No office attire: We’ve all had that stress of starting a new job and having to scope out what’s acceptable in the office, of opening your wardrobe each morning and having to put together an outfit which meets all the guidelines and won’t be too hot/cold/uncomfortable for the commute and the job itself. When you work from home there are zero rules. Sitting in my pyjamas or joggers is one of my favourite things about working from home. And it’s much more acceptable to work bra-less when you have no colleagues!
Flexible hours: The kind of work you take on will define whether you have set hours or not, but if you’re a freelancer then (as the name suggests) you’re free to decide how often you work which is an especially big bonus when you’ve got children. For us, it’s meant minimal childcare costs and I also love the freedom of thinking ‘I don’t feel like working today and I’ve got nothing urgent on, so I’ll wait til tomorrow’.
Time with the kids: Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I wish they were someone else’s problem from 9 to 5 when we’re having a bad day. But on the whole, the fact my children spend the majority of the week with me is something I relish. I’m hugely lucky to have this time with them before they start school and that’s mainly down to the fact I work from home.
No career break: I was 25 when my oldest was born and I’ll be 31 when my youngest goes to school – the thought of having a six-year career break on my CV was a worry (even though I know some employers would be understanding of taking time off to raise children) whereas this way there are no gaps and it means I can steadily increase my workload until my husband retires in a few years time, when he’ll take over responsibility for school runs and I essentially become a full time worker again.
WORK FROM HOME CONS:
Working late: When my children go to bed, that’s when I open my laptop and start my work for the day. Even though I work nowhere near full time, my work still takes a good chunk out of each evening and can mean it’s extremely late before I even get round to having a conversation with my husband. Because the children are with me for the majority of the week, I’ve essentially worked a full day looking after them before I even begin to think about my paid work.
Never switching off: I’ve answered emails and updated social media while keeping my other eye on the children at soft play. When the baby has a nap, I jump straight on my phone to make any calls I need to make. And the Paw Patrol gang often entertain my toddler while I dash off a quick blog or press release. I have to switch effortlessly between ‘mom mode’ and ‘work mode’ throughout the day and night.
No office jokes: I often miss out on the ‘office banter’ working from home – especially as I freelance so I work for different companies. There are no in jokes, no weekend tales on a Monday morning, and I sometimes have to stop what I’m doing to change a nappy – so it’s not really the same as working in an office!
Are you at working, stay at home or work from home mom? Do you wish you could work from home or are you dying to get back into a work environment? Join in the discussion on the Motherload Facebook group.
For more from Harriet, visit her blog Growing The Bump.