Adjusting to a Work From Home Lifestyle

When you work from home, there's still a work-life juggle. If you love your job and you want to do well, you face many of the same pressures and stresses.

For those of you who missed it, I have a sweet new gig working from home. It’s pretty much everything I’ve ever wanted in an arrangement, and I know it appears to be paradise to those who are looking in. My first couple of weeks, I couldn’t believe how awesome it felt. I get to set my own schedule. I get to work in my new “office,” otherwise known as my front porch. I get to spy on my neighbors… These past couple of weeks, though, I’ve been struck by how similar to working in an office working at home can be — in certain respects, anyway.

Last week, my babysitter had surgery. Juggling around that was a bit easier since nobody expected me in a desk chair by 8:30 a.m. I could keep my daughter home and not worry that an entire office full of people was wondering why I hadn’t made it in. But I still got pretty stressed having my schedule disrupted like that. I may work from home, but the work still needs to get done. My bosses rely on me to meet deadlines. Clients need to have their calls and concerns answered. And though I’m home with a child, I still need to appear professional. She can’t be crying in the background, and I can’t sound as though I’m covered in macaroni and cheese when the phone rings during her lunch hour.

This week, Little One is having separation anxiety issues. She does not want to be left at the sitter’s, and today I had to pry her off of me so I could go home and work. That guilty feeling I got as I drove back to the home office? It’s the same one I got when the office I drove to was downtown. Sure, I set my own schedule, but I prefer to get the bulk of my work done during the day – it’s when most of my clients do business. That means Little One needs to go to daycare three days a week. I’m flexible, but I’m not home with her full-time. I simply can’t be.

And then, yesterday, it was just all-around busy. I had a project to complete on a tight deadline, which meant I sat on my living room couch from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a half-hour break for lunch, then I got back on the computer at 8:30 p.m. and worked until after midnight. It felt a lot like one of those super-crazy days that occasionally hit at the ad agency. Not a bad thing at all, but certainly not the watching soaps and eating bon bons existence some may envision when they learn I don’t do the 9 to 5 commute.

Bottom line: work is work. Deadlines have to be met. Clients must be given world-class treatment. It doesn’t matter whether you’re at home or in an office building. If you love your job and you want to do it well, you experience many of the same pressures and stresses.

Of course, if you’re at home, you also get to enjoy your job from the comfort of your front porch.

7 thoughts on “Adjusting to a Work From Home Lifestyle

  1. In the summer I’d love to create an office on my front porch and work while the world goes about its business. An upside would be the daily visit from the cute mailman. Sigh.

    But in the winter, forgeddaboutit. The bed would be SCREAMING my name like a hungry newborn.

    Good luck in your new life as a WAHM.

  2. Hey, my mailman is cute, too! So are the firefighters who come into the coffee shop where I sometimes go for a change of scenery. Of course, there are always cute guys in any office, but you feel a little weird crushing on them ’cause they’re your co-workers. Another benefit of working from home: you can appreciate the cute without feeling guilty. And I don’t feel guilty, because *my* cute guy comes home at the end of the day!

  3. I completely understand where you’re coming from! This last year I was able to work from home 3-5 days a week … but on those days I also had to take care of our daughter.

    I tell people that my situation was “the best and worst of both worlds.” but people acted like I had it sooo easy. Working from home is still WORK unless you’re a slacker who doesn’t care about doing a good job (or remaining employed). And being a parent caring for a child all day is also WORK (unless you don’t care about your child and stick them in a closet all day).

    Sure, working from home and having that time with my daughter over the last year has been a wonderful blessing. However, I can only be in one place at one time and it’s not easy having a conference call with clients and worrying about your kid crying in the the pack-n-play.

  4. Me 2 Mommy says:

    With my first daughter I worked from home. It was sweet, simple & serene. The one drawback, she wanted to be held all day long. So as a database designer one learns to type quickly with one hand, breast feed with the other & keep the phone on the other ear. (This was before the headset days).

    Anyhow, when my second daughter entered the world, I had to return to work fulltime. I was filled with the un-ending mother’s guilt…BUT let me tell you this. It was really nice having intelligent conversations in addition to the tellie tubbies 🙂

    Enjoy your babies, your time & your work.

  5. Pinks & Blues says:

    I work from home too… and it is not as easy all the time as people crack it up to be. I have tried to work out a schedule with my husband (he works from home too)… but there are days that I almost wish I had an office to get to because my sons desparately want MOMMY!
    And then there are days like today… 80 degrees out and I was able to work from the deck – heaven!
    Best of luck to you as you manage it all… it is an amazing thing to be able to do!
    – Audrey
    Pinks & Blues

  6. You are so right. Working as a mom or an employee is still work, no matter where you are. Doing both at the same time is HEROIC. I admire anyone who can make that happen. I’m glad your new office suits you, though. We miss you around the cubes, but are all happy for you.

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