I have a morning routine. My kids get on the bus and I hit Starbucks. I go to the same Starbucks every day and since I am one of those customers who has a bazillion specifications with my order (venti 3 pump non-fat no water no foam extra hot chai latte), the girls behind the counter all know me and my drink without my having to say my order.
A few weeks ago as I’m waiting at the bar, I’m chatting with the barista and she asked “Did the kids go back to school today?” My answer was “Yes! This is the first time I’ve been alone in almost two weeks.” With that, the man standing next to me looked at me and as his voice dripped with sarcasm said to me, “That’s great, maybe you can work today.” Very sweetly, I let him know that I actually do work full-time, but I work from home. His response? “You work from home? Every day? In between lunch dates and laundry – that’s not really working.”
STOP. RIGHT. NOW.
When I say work from home, I really mean work from home. I’m an actual full-time employee of a bonafide company doing software consulting for small to medium sized businesses. Currently, I have 9 active clients, mostly located on the west coast. I work a 40+ hour week, write a successful blog and juggle all of this with my regular mom duties, making sure my kids get to and from their after-school activities, checking their homework and working with my husband to make sure they are otherwise taken care of. Think that’s enough?
Oddly enough, that same afternoon, I read two blog posts on the perceptions of moms who work from home – one from my friend Kim at Foodie City Mom and one from another blogger, Ms. Latina. As I read, I realized, that the guy I encountered at Starbucks is not alone in his thoughts that working from home equals not really working.
I can’t even count the number of times I’ve had people tell me that the fact that I work from home means I can do my food shopping during the day when it’s not at crowded as on the weekends. Or that I can run all of my errands on a weekday so I’m not running all over the place on Saturday & Sunday.
Yes, okay, if I don’t want to change out of my pajamas, I don’t have to. I don’t have to wear a suit or heels or take the train into the city. I can pick up a kid who is sick in the middle of school or if my kid wakes up sick, I generally don’t have to scramble for childcare or take a sick day.
And those are all amazing benefits to working from home – I will be the first to say that I’m lucky that I have this opportunity. But it also means that there is very little to no separation between work time and non-work time because I literally never leave the office. I still have deadlines, a boss I report to and have to get a significant amount of work done each day after I get my kids out the door and off to school.
Moms and dads who work – whether it is from an office or from home – really work. And moms and dads who don’t go to a job each day still work – there is no house cleaning fairy, laundry fairy or take care of the kids fairy.
As Ms. Latina said in her post –
Work is work. All moms (whether they work inside of the home, outside of the home or a combination thereof) who have kids living at home with them are workers.
What are your thoughts?