Working From Home :: My Love/Hate Relationship

Most moms I know have, at one point or another, dreamt of being able to work from home. Stay at home moms would like a little extra income and something to do. Working moms would like the flexibility of not having to be at a physical office from 8-5. When the opportunity for me to work from home came from a major tech company, I couldn’t resist. Nine months later, I’ve gotten into a groove and have learned first hand the good, the bad, and the ugly about working from home. 

The Good:

  • As every Red Stick Mom knows, traffic in this town is a disaster. Not having to fight I-10 every morning is a huge blessing. Shout out to my husband who gets our kiddo out the door to school each day. I have about an hour from the time they leave until I have to be online which means time for a shower, a quick work out, or the occasional nap.
  • Because I don’t have a morning commute, I also get to sleep in a little longer. That extra hour is heavenly and also means I’m not fighting my husband over the shower and the bathroom space in the morning.
  • I save money on clothes by not having to dress in business attire every day.
  • In theory, working from home means I can clean my house during the week instead of having to binge clean on the weekends. At the very least, I try to get a few loads of laundry done each week during breaks.
  • If someone needs to come fix something or meet me at the house for any reason, I don’t have to take off work to make it happen!
  • I spend a lot less money going out to eat. There’s less motivation to leave the house and get food when my kitchen is within eye sight of my office.
  • I always get the mail first. This comes in handy in so many ways!
  • I’m hoping that when my daughter starts kindergarten this fall, I’ll be able to take a late lunch break to pick her up instead of needing to use after care. I also don’t have to miss work when she’s sick or out of school for a holiday which is a HUGE perk!
  • Like so many American women, I don’t have paid family leave. But working from home means that I can potentially keep a future baby home a little longer than I would be able to if I had to be back in an office after 6 or 8 weeks.

The Not As Good:

  • My daughter still has to go to school/daycare. There is simply no way I could get 8 hours of work done every day with her home. The occasional day is fine, but I can’t be a stay at home mom and a work at home mom at the same time.
  • It’s much lonelier than I imagined. I “talk” to coworkers in my group via messenger during the day and my dogs are nice company, but I miss the connection of being able to have a face to face conversation with a coworker or have a few minutes to chat about our weekends or laugh at a funny joke. 
  • When I first started working from home, I decided that each day I would get up and get dressed as if I were going into the office. That lasted about 1 day before I found myself wearing pjs all day. Don’t get me wrong, this could also count as a very very good thing. I do LOVE wearing sweats and comfy socks. But, after awhile, you start just feeling frumpy! 
  • The combination of the above has been a hit to my mental health. The lonely and frumpy cycle is hard to escape once you fall into it, especially for someone like me with a history of anxiety and depression. I find that I have trouble getting motivated to take care of myself and feel awfully blah way more often than I’d care to admit.
  • In addition to being lonely, it’s harder to form good connections with my company and for my supervisor to see how hard I work. Being connected only digitally has some drawbacks. I feel like I have to do more to stand out and to prove myself before someone sees it. I also don’t feel as much that I’m part of the company’s corporate culture as I have in past jobs because I’m not in a physical office.

Most days I love working from home, but it definitely has very real drawbacks. I have to find the motivation and work extra hard to overcome the hit to my mental health. That said, once you’ve experienced the perks that come with working from home, it’s hard to imagine going back to working any other way!

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