Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I’m A Work From Home Mom

This was 1st Published on Parentous

Work from home or flexi-work is comparatively new in India. Thank God it’s picking up, but unfortunately not everyone understands what working from home really means.

When I was pregnant, I knew I don’t want to quit working. Working is something that gives me satisfaction and makes me feel… well…’me’. I don’t know how many mums out there would agree… but I know I’m a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister and lots of other things… I’m myself as well… which as per me, is no less than any of the other roles I play.

When I started working from home last year, after a break of almost a year, I was asked “So… what are you doing?” When I told them I work as a parenting blogger and also am soon launching my story telling venture… I was told “that is ok, but you don’t have a job, right?” How I wish I could explain to them what working at home really meant.

When I had Zoe (my daughter), I didn’t want to restrict myself to just being at home doing chores. No offense, but that is just not me… my priorities were different. I could not leave Zoe because we didn’t have anyone to take care of her. That’s when I developed two of my hobbies blogging and storytelling into a career.

Now, I’m very happy with my decision… but it wasn’t always like this. These days, it’s become a fashion to get into your own gig after you become a mom. Home bakers, bloggers, freelancers, et al. Before you take a dip in the work from home mommy pool, one needs to do a reality check.

Is work from home really worth it?

It definitely is, if you are able to strike out the right balance. If you are able to do something you like to do from home, not missing out on the growing up years of your child and you end up making money as well… it’s a great option. We can choose our working hours, take offs, and if you run your own business… you become your own boss.

Having said that, I would like to add, there are hard times as well. You can develop your own schedule, but deadlines are something you can never miss. Once you miss a deadline and there can be a huge loss. Maintaining the correct work-life balance is tough to say the least, especially when you own a business.

Lines between personal & professional life become quite blur… which is not a good thing. Your social life (play dates, parties, dates, family dinners) go for a toss. To top it all… people around you don’t understand that you actually have deadlines and targets. Your smart phone and laptop become your best friends and they don’t leave you even when you are on a holiday.

There are many things I have given up as a work from home mom:
  • My social life is zero
  • I don’t have free time to pursue things I want to
  • Most of my social media connect is work related. I do not interact with family/friends on social media if I have work.
  • Blogging for me began when I started to keep a track of Zoe’s growing up years. Now I do not update that blog as often as I used to
  • I don’t spend as much quality time with the husband as I’d want to.
  • I don’t pray as I used to. Prayers brought peace of mind which I lack now-a-days. Guess I need to start praying to God above.
  • I missed working out, thankfully now I’m on track
  • I’m constantly sleep deprived.
Leading the life of a WFH mom for more than a year now… here are some rules I live with. I do not bend them, until and unless there isn’t any other way out:

  • I make a schedule and stick to it.
  • I keep a few hours of the day flexible, because you never know what might come up.
  • I ensure the place where I work is as clutter free as possible.
  • I try to restrict the number of laptop hours on weekends
  • When I take call, I always cut myself out and lock myself in a room till the call lasts.
  • I always ensure I keep Zoe involved and entertained. I can’t afford a meltdown in the midst of my work hours. I try to keep her happy, though I don’t give in to all her demands.
  • I do not leave Zoe in front of the TV for hours… or do anything I don’t approve of with regards to Zoe, because the last thing I don’t want lingering on my mind is mommy guilt.
  • My planner is my best friend personally and professionally.
I feel blessed as I can always count upon the husband (yes, I say this again and again).

Some people don’t understand what a WFH mom does. Some people think we are the luckiest as we get the best of both the worlds. I don’t know how lucky we are, but if you handle the situation well… the world a WFH Mom lives in is not such a bad place to be in.

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