The argument: frazzled but loving child-bearer vs cold career cougar with frozen ovaries. What about the work-at-home mum? My daughter is currently pulling today’s fresh laundry out of the basket as I type; I fall into this category, and I feel side-lined in this ridiculous battle.
Some people have steadfast views on the topic, and some couldn’t care less, (if that’s you, I’d leave now). You could get into arguments as to what percentage of each camp actually have kids, but really it’s beyond fruitless.
I left my previous job to start with The Colour Works when my daughter was 7 months old. Even though I’d planned to stay on maternity leave for longer as I wanted to play full-time Mum for as long as I could, I couldn’t turn down the amazing offer. I’d be doing something I love, and I could work from home! I would be able to care for my baby without forfeiting a career. Easy-peasy, right? Wrong. It brings a whole new meaning to maintaining a work/life balance.
Here, I present my view on the basics for starting out. Or, if you like, what it would have been useful to have known before embarking upon this highly enjoyable, tumultuous adventure.
- Do not be a backseat driver.
I have yet to conquer this, and my other half will whole-heartedly back me up here. Yes, I am the primary caregiver and therefore, yes, I have a stream of knowledge on the topic ready and waiting to flow, but I need to learn to zip it. Keep your opinions to yourself, (unless the baby is crawling towards the top of the stairs), they are an amazing partner and parent and that is what matters.
- Accept that your once half-presentable home will be somewhat messier.
You will have to make sacrifices. This might take a while to click, but trust me. My moment of clarity came when I had 6 to-do lists running at the same time, (for those also so inclined, my lists consist of: Home To-Do, Home To-Do Today, Work Bits, Work Bits for Today, To Buy/Find and To Arrange). Something’s gotta give, and I’d much rather be in the garden with my daughter than cleaning the house.
- Take any peace and quiet you can find.
Leave your pride at your desk, and don’t say no to Granny’s offer of free childcare.
- Working from home is not flexible.
On paper, working from home has it all. In reality, it upturns any balance you once had, and makes you reminisce about the commute of your old 9-5.
- You will feel guilty.
An unfortunate by-product, but just go with it, its inevitable. Guilty that you’re working, and guilty that you’re not. There’s always going to be something you ‘should’ be doing. Try to ignore this.
- All your child needs is YOU.
This concludes us here for a good reason – remind yourself of this. Every minute of the day. When you haven’t managed to check your emails all day and you find a mouldy apple in your welly or a building block floating in the loo, just remember. You’re doing brilliantly.
About the author:
Beccy is our Market Analyst and thrives upon using her natural organisational, analytical and creative talents within the team. The phrases in her profile which she says best describe her state that she “brings harmony and goodwill to any situation” and that she “shows ingenuity and imagination”. Beccy works from home and is also Mum to her 1 year old daughter – she says this ‘brings a whole new meaning to a ‘work/life’ balance!’ but thoroughly enjoys the challenges it provides.