Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Working at Home--the good, the bad, the ugly...

Working at home. It sounds so appealing doesn't it? How many of us out there always thought how great it would be to be able to work from home. Working in our pj's--mmm, no travel time--fabulous, and best of all, being able to stay home with our adorable children! That is certainly what I always thought and pored over the "work-at-home" ads online practically every day, searching for that one telecommuting job that wasn't an MLM or pyramid scam, where I didn't have to sell anything or where I didn't have to chat with some fat, old pervert about how I was "taking off my nightie." Then, one day (while at my outside of the home job) I stumbled across an ad on Craigslist that peaked my interest. A week later, I was signed on for training to edit a web site from home! I was thrilled, couldn't wait and immediately quit my job as a massage therapist at an upscale spa. This was the break I was waiting for, I could finally work completely from home!

Now, don't get me wrong, I do love it. It is great to just be able to sidle up to my laptop (at home or anywhere with wireless internet) and log on to do my work. However, I didn't anticipate the downsides being such, well, downers :-) First of all, the last thing you want to do when you are in your pj's on the couch with a cup of coffee is work. It's much harder to motivate yourself (and keep yourself from thinking about all the things that need to be done around the house) when you are sitting at home than when you are in an office where everything around you screams "WORK!" And believe it or not, your children REALLY don't care when the clock turns to the time you have to start working, and they still REALLY NEED some chocolate milk or decide they have to use the potty (which actually means sitting there talking and playing with the toilet paper). I think I need to have someone set up a hidden camera because I think I would get millions of hits on YouTube for the hilarity of watching me try to type while my 2-year-old daughter climbs all over me and my 8-year-old son is telling me an hour-long story about the Pokemon he has collected. "Mommy has to work" really doesn't mean jack to them. When Mommy is home, she belongs to the children.

Which brings me to my next point. I am not getting paid for doing two jobs at once, but essentially, that is what I am doing. Instead of being able to drop the kids off with someone else (so they can do my "Mommy" job for the day) and go to my paying job to devote all my energy and attention to the tasks there, I have to do both at once. Which means sometimes my day consists of going back and forth between changing pull-ups, making lunch, cleaning up spills, and changing the DVD; and working on the computer, checking e-mail and logging my hours. Let me tell you, it's not easy.

Sometimes, just sometimes, I think how great it would be to get in the car, drop the kids off and go off BY MYSELF to a job and be able to just concentrate on that all day. Then, at the end of the day, I could go pick them up (where they would be SO happy to see me), go home and resume my motherly duties. But then I remember the reasons that I decided to work at home. And here they are:

-At work I can't be interrupted by my daughter because she needs a kiss
-At work I can't listen to my son's hour-long story about his Pokemon collection
-At work I can't feed them lunch
-At work I can't sit in the bathroom with my daughter for 20 minutes while she decides whether she has to go potty

These are all the things I didn't want to miss. These are the things that my kids are doing TODAY, RIGHT NOW, that I would miss out on if they were not with me all day. I don't want someone else doing my "Mommy" job. It's my job, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. :-)