I’m a parent. I also run my own business from the comfort of my home. So, that makes me…a work-from-home parent. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Bed head, PJs, and a commute that consists of walking downstairs to my office. I’ll admit, it’s a pretty sweet gig, but it does have its challenges.
Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand how lucky I am to have a career that allows me to make a living from home and be there for my kids. I know a lot of other parents who wish they were in the same boat. So, trust me when I say that I don’t take it for granted. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t struggles. Sure, the pros definitely outweigh the cons, but it’s not all unicorn PJ pants by the fireplace while watching Ellen and playing Candy Crush.
What I’m trying to say is, working from home and being a parent is not always as easy and glamorous as it sounds. Here are 5 real life struggles of the work-from-home parent.
1.Phone calls. They're hard.
I have a home office - but it’s not soundproof. So, imagine being on the phone with a pretty important client and your children start fighting. Loudly fighting. This has happened to me on more than one occasion. One time, I just briskly walked to another part of the house in hopes that they would work it out themselves and not follow me, and other times I’ve had to go outside and shut the door behind me. All while continuing on, calmly talking to a client and hoping they don’t hear the chaos.
2. Vacations tend to be “working vacations”.
When you run your own business, vacations aren’t really vacations. Sure, you get some time away, but you never fully unplug. For example, my husband’s family planned a big 10-day vacation to Disney World last year. We went and it was a total blast. But my work came with me. I was able to adjust deadlines and my clients were really nice and didn’t overload me, but unless you’re willing to hire someone to fill in for you while you go on vacation (which will cost you money and likely headache), you never get a completely unplugged vacation.
3.You’re pretty much always working.
Which brings me to the fact that you’re almost always 'on'. Morning, afternoon, evening, weekends, vacations – running your own business means you’re always working. You’re always taking work home with you because well, you work from home. I make it a point to shut off and be present with my family at certain times of day, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have to deal with it later that night or on weekends.
4. There are so many distractio- Oh, look! A squirrel!
Working from home is distracting. When the kids are home, they’re loud and it’s hard to think. Which is difficult when your job involves creativity like mine. Or they’re asking me questions and wanting me to get them snacks. When they aren’t home, there are other distractions like; laundry, dishes, TV, my stack of books I wish I was reading – you get the idea.
5. People don’t always take you seriously.
When you work from home, family and friends might not always take what you do seriously. They might think because you get to stay in PJs and not leave your house, you don’t have a “real” job. But my husband and I know that my job is very real. My job helps support our family. And we both know how hard I’ve worked to get my business where it is today. So, to us…that’s really all that matters.
With the way technology is today, it’s becoming more and more common to work remotely. If you’re also a work from home parent, or a parent who runs their own business – whether from home or not – I’m sure you can relate. And while it does have its own set of struggles, I do love being able to work from home.
If it’s something you’re considering to make your work-life balance a little better, I highly suggest it if you can make it work. It might take some adjusting, but it’s definitely worth it.
And sometimes watching Ellen and playing Candy Crush is good for sparking creativity. Just sayin’.