Wow, it’s hard to believe it’s been two years, almost to the day, since I updated this blog. This working mamatech has been busy. Really busy. And as I sit up at midnight on a Friday night sipping a glass of wine, knowing full well that I need to be up early tomorrow morning to take my son to a class, I feel inspired to write here about a topic that has been bugging me for some time.
Since when did working-from-home mom become synonymous with stay-at-home mom?
I’ve now been a working-from-home mama for a few years. And while it has a ton of benefits, including being able to work in my sweats or yes, even sometimes, my pyjamas, it also has its downsides. For one, while I’m now writing this blog, I’m up until these ungodly hours pretty well every night, typically working to earn a living. Between errands, and having to pick my son up from school at 3:30 – far earlier than a typical workday would end – I need to put in hours whenever I can.
Naturally, as any parent does, I also have other obligations. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, and the rest of the lengthy list of things that you need to start doing as an adult. Interestingly, many people believe that someone who works from home has this infinite amount of free time to get things done. It’s quite the opposite.
Just because I’m home doesn’t mean I have the time to give the bathroom a good clean, vacuum the floors, or wash, fold, and put away laundry. If I did have that time, I’d be a stay-at-home mom, not a working one. And there’s a distinct difference. Think of what you do in the office every day. Probably a lot. You may take a break now and then to chat with coworkers, or grab some lunch. But chances are, it doesn’t equate to the time it would take to finish three loads of laundry, or wash that growing mountain of dishes in the sink. If you don’t have that time, why is it presumed that I might?
I’ve tried. I really have. It typically ends with throwing a load of laundry in the washer, only to get caught up with work and forget it’s there, then pulling it out hours later to throw into the dryer and hoping it doesn’t stink to high heaven for sitting wet for so long, or re-washing it the next day, in which case, what was the point? My favourite task is the rush to wash dishes while my lunch (typically reheated from dinner the night before) is warming up.
Make no mistake that working from home has tremendous benefits. But for a mama, if you’re not dressed to the nines each day and commuting to and from an office, the assumption is that you’re effectively a stay-at-home mom who people magically and mysteriously pay for doing household chores. Oh, if that were only true.
So the next time you visit a work-from-home mama and wonder why her beds aren’t made, or there’s a collection of toys in the living room, remember the operative word: working. Whether it’s from home, an office 45 minutes away, or a cubicle down the street, she’s working. Probably a lot harder than you realize.