When I started working for myself almost four years ago I had no idea what I was getting into. The Instagram VS Reality versions of working at home with small children are quite different. I pictured myself sitting in a beautiful home office, sipping my coffee and answering emails while my children peacefully played with their toys in the other room. The reality version looks a little more like a game of Jumanji with questionable hygiene.
1. You lose all track of time.
Seriously. What day is it? Without the structure of a scheduled work week it’s hard to remember what day of the week it is. If it wasn’t for the fact that I have every deadline and social function saved into my phone with the alerts on, I would surely miss everything. When you work a 9-5 job, the weekend resets your week, with each Monday being a new beginning. When you take your work home, you often work evenings, weekends and holidays, meaning there is no structured reset. You spend your evenings watching movies with your laptop open, mixing your work with your me time.
2. Things like showering and self care become few and far between.
You’ll start off with good intentions of getting yourself ready every morning and heading to your work space by 9 am, but then life happens and you starts trading in self care to get other things done. “I could wake up now to shower and get ready, or I could put on a hat and sweats and head to the post office before the webinar.”
3. You stop wearing real (or clean) clothes.
I’ll be honest, I never had any unrealistic expectations on this one. I knew that I would never be the person at home in dress clothes. Basically the moment I walk into my house I trade in my jeans for yoga pants. And so what if they’re the same pair you wore yesterday when you spilled your coffee. The stain barely shows and you don’t need to see anyone today anyways. “Because I’ll get more work done if I’m comfortable” you’ll reason and you’ll grab the hoodie you wore all weekend and throw that on too. Or if you spend your time on webinars and video calls, you’ll learn to wear a nice top with your PJ pants. Work smarter, not harder, people.
4. You eat noting at all or 37 times a day. There is no balance here.
In theory, when you make your own schedule you can take breaks anytime, right? Wrong. Especially if you have young kids at home who require feeding, wiping, dressing, etc. On particularly hectic days I often use their eating time as work time for myself, meaning I forget to eat. At the same time, you’re also just steps away from the kitchen, meaning easy access to all the junk food that’s hidden on the top shelf. Nachos at 11am will become a regular part of your life and since you live in yoga pants these days, you won’t notice those extra 5 lbs creep up on you.
5. You become a hermit with cabin fever.
While I’m a big fan of the fact that I don’t need to commute during the 6 month winters we get, I do miss having a reason to leave the house some days. Between the ability to order just about anything online and social media to keep me connected, I’ve forgotten what the sun looks like by the time Spring rolls around.
All pain points aside, I love being my own boss and I love being able to spend my days at home with my babies. While it’s chaotic on the best of the days, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.