Work from Home Mom – Expectation vs. Reality

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This article is written by Shumaila Islam. She blogs at her Facebook page here.

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If you search for an image of a ‘Work from Home Mom’ on Google, you will find those perfect happy pictures with women having fun with their babies, while having their laptops in front of them. That is the image that our people see, when they hear you are a mom, who works from home.

With this title, you come across to two types of people pretty often.

  1. The one who thinks it is easy.
    “What a perfect job you have. Can you please guide me? How can I get such a job? That is so good, you can look after your home, your child along with your work. How much do you earn?”
  2. The one who thinks it is easy. (No it is not a typo. Really, the two types of people think the same way) “You work from home, you can easily cook in your lunch break right? You can easily socialize during your work hours; just take your laptop along. I see, you are admitted in a hospital, please make sure that you have WiFi, so that you can meet the deadline. You are not having more kids because of your job, right?”

What people do not understand, is that it is neither easy nor perfect like the Google Images that we see. This title ‘Work from Home Mom’ has three jobs associated with it. The Work, The Home and last but never the least, The Mom. It is a huge struggle.

I will not share my daily routine here because I might fall into an endless loop. But on an average day (which comprised of  a 7 AM to 3 AM day), I would prepare meals, check my emails, prepare baby food, attend official meetings, change diapers, wash clothes, give company to my mom in law, wash dishes, sterilize feeders, attend guests, conduct online training, feed the child during my meetings, clean up the house, respond to the ever growing queue of my emails, take the baby out in the park, try to get away from my baby who would type on my keyboard while I was working on live databases and calm down the crying baby while sometimes I would cry with her too.

Most of the days, I only slept for 3-4 hours (if I was lucky). I would make my daughter sleep late at night (around 2 AM), so she gets up late in the morning and I am able to complete some of my work before she wakes up. I heard people saying that I am a cruel mom who does not let her child see the beautiful morning. But it is not their fault; maybe they saw me only as a mom.

The problem was that I was not giving complete time to any of my three jobs. None of them were perfect. I wasn’t the perfect employee anymore, I wasn’t managing my home perfectly, and I wasn’t the perfect mom I always wanted to be. I was rather moonlighting alongside each of these three jobs. The Work, the Home and the Mom. Nothing was complete.

The people who wanted to see me at home with kids, judged me for working and those who wanted to see me at work only, judged me for being a mom. Now, when I look back after 1 year of quitting the job, I see the problem. I know what I should have done differently for effective management.

I have only one advice for the ladies who are working from home. Give your best to whatever you are doing but do only one job at a time. Be only an employee in your working hours. Hire help for ALL of the tasks related to home and hire help for your baby. It is impossible to take all the responsibility on your own shoulders. You might feel like a super woman at times, but this feeling will last only a few days. You will exhaust yourself if you keep doing everything by your own. Eventually, like me, you will have to quit one of those jobs and you will never like it because all the three jobs are your lifeline.

People will still judge you. But never fall in that emotional pit. Be realistic and know what is best for you, your work, your baby and your home. Take time out for pampering yourself, for exercise, for spending quality moments with your family. When you are at work, you should only have work on your mind but later in the evening, just be yourself!

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Read more: Multitasking Perfectly: Interview with Freelancer Aisha Hassan

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Mehreen Farhan

Blogger. Technology Enthusiast. Community Builder. Book hoarder. #TeamWordpress. Aspiring Moodler. 🚀