Working From Home

Dear yayas,

I’m technically a stay at home mom, but I also work full time as a bookkeeper so I have to actually work during the day and meet with clients, even though I meet with them at my home. The issue I’m having is that I feel kind of bad about my kid. I’m there with her, but I’m not really interacting with her that much. Usually I just wear her or put her in the pack and play. And then I hear about all these apps and baby Einstein and moms homeschooling and I just wonder if my kid is getting enough from just being with me physically, even if I’m doing other work around her? It’s not that I’m neglecting her, but I’m also not that super hands on mom making sensory packs and holding up flash cards. Is my kid missing out? Is she not going to develop properly?

– Working & Wondering

You wouldn’t be the first work at home mama to wonder these things. I, too, work from home. My best advice is to 1. Hire a babysitter/mother’s helper/nanny at least once a week for a few hours, if you can. This will give you regularly scheduled time to just dive into work, schedule an out of house appointment, or focus on something you need to without distraction; 2. Join a moms group. Meet up with other mamas once or twice a week so that your little (and you!) get social interaction with others…then let go of guilt about socialization because you’re getting it; 3. Know that you do NOT have to be interacting with your child every moment of every day in order to be a “good” parent. You’re modeling work for your child, and that’s great! Flashcards and apps aren’t what make kids “smart.” Use your discomfort with how things currently are as a call to action. Know that you are not comfortable with how things are and make changes. Maybe try staggering your schedule so that you have set time for work and set times for uninterrupted play with your daughter…mostly so you can let go of mom guilt. Quality over quantity. Progress over perfection. Enjoy the gift that is having your child at home…while also recognizing work has to get done. You can have both, but many WAHMs will tell you they do that with a little outside help. – Lori Beth

It can be a lot to juggle the role of Mom and working woman at the same time and place. I work from home two days a week, but have my children taken care of outside of the house on these days. Creating separation of space allows me to fully attend to my clients and colleagues without interruption. I know this is how I am able to get my work done and turn my full attention to my little ones upon return home. I highly suggest finding support in or outside of the home when you are working with clients. This will most likely give you a bit more sanity and focus while carrying out your various roles. – Bernie

Once upon a time, I worked from home three days a week and in the office the rest of the time. It was my least favorite period of working ever. I felt incredibly divided in my attention to both my baby and my work. I also felt like I worked all the time-checking email until bedtime most days to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. I wish I’d hired a mother’s helper (I now know that older homeschoolers love doing this type of thing for extra money). In my experience, it got harder as the child got older. I wish I had a magic answer for you to make it easier—but it is tough to work from home while solely caring for a child. I hope you find your balance! – Cortney

After reading your question, I’m reminded of a comic that my mom had on our refrigerator when we were growing up – it showed a mom answering the front door to a man completing a survey and she said, “Yes, I’m a working mom. Is there any other kind?” The reason I share this is that while you are a SAHM, you’re also a working mom. In my own personal experiences, I’ve felt more confident, productive, and happy in my role as a mother and as a professional when I have time devoted to each separately. I’m not sure if this is an option for you, though if you’re able to have some uninterrupted time for work and for motherhood, you may find more peace in your roles. – Diana

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