I have read several posts recently from moms who work from home, and they weren't experiencing the joy of it, but rather found it difficult and depressing. The truth is that it can totally be that way if you go into it having unrealistic expectations. I find that expectations have a lot to do with whether you enjoy something or not.
I had the privilege of working in a day care before I become a mommy. I wrote about that experience here. So this helped to eliminate a lot of unrealistic expectations. I pretty much knew what I was up against when it came to working from home.
Here are some expectations that need to be banished before you can enjoy working from home.
- You can have it all. Some moms think that working from home, is the combination of being able to have a full time career while staying home with the kids. Wrong! Sorry, you weren't made to have both. You cannot physically maintain a full time mommy position while maintaining a full time work from home job without letting the ball drop in multiple areas. The fact is having children present means that you will work for a total of three minutes, if you are lucky, and then attend to a sibling squabble. You will try to focused and type two words and then help your little one get a drink. This is pretty much how your day will go, and you will not get what you want accomplished. I wrote in this post about ways that I am able to work from successfully despite this challenge.
- The House will be clean. This one to me is funny because some moms go crazy all day trying to keep their house clean. I love clean and can't stand a mess, but I am also a mom. This trick is something that I learned in daycare which probably doesn't help most moms. In daycare, we had a schedule, when we could use the playground, gym, water area etc, and I loved it! At the end of free playtime in the morning, we would clean up the classroom and make it look beautiful. Before we moved from one activity to another, we cleaned. Before pickup time came around, we cleaned and organized everything. We then did a fun, no mess activity in one area of the room so everything stayed that way. The parents were always amazed how clean the classroom was, and we would just smile. Because literally 15 minutes before it looked like a tornado blew through carrying water and paint. So don't expect to have a clean house with kids. Accept the mess and assign cleanup times throughout the day so nothing gets too out of hand. It is as simple as that.
- I will love being with my kids all day. While I do love being with my son, I do not always like what he does or how he acts. Parenting is the art of continual training. Being a work at home mom will bring these up frequently. Character flaws, stubborn streaks, and lack of manners are all things that you will deal with on an everyday basis. It is not always fun, but necessary. This is what you signed up for when you become a parent. I will say that the more training you do in the little years, the more of a blessing and refreshment your children will become. If you neglect training the little years, have fun because you will not like what you create.
- I will love being home. Although I do love being home, I do get tired of having no social interaction. This was probably the most difficult adjustment I had to make, and if I had been prepared for it, I would have done things differently. You do need social interaction. If you are thinking about being a work from home or stay at home mommy, join a moms group in your area, or schedule to take a lunch with a friend. This is something that you should discuss with your husband, and see if he would be willing to watch the kids one evening so you can get out with friends. You could also hire a babysitter for an hour during the day and go out for coffee. There are tons of options here, but you do need to realize that you will need to schedule out of the house events.
These are some of the expectations that will destroy your ability to be able to enjoy being a stay at home or work at home mom. What are some of the expectations you struggled with when you first became a stay at home or work at home mommy?