Working from home is something many moms strive to do. Striking a balance between life and work can be difficult when you’re away from home eight or more hours a day. As a work from home mom, you might be able to find a better balance between raising your kids and having a career you love.
As with most jobs, a work from home job can still present some challenges you had not thought of. This list of pros and cons can help you decide if becoming a work from home mom is the right choice for you and your family.
The Benefits of Being a Work from Home Mom
Working from home undoubtedly has its advantages for moms who enjoy being at home and spending as much time with family as possible. There are also several pros from a work perspective. Some of the best parts of working from home include:
You can have more time with your family.
Being away from your kids each day is one of the most challenging things about working outside of the home. One of the many reasons moms find a way to work from home is to spend more time with their kids. When you work from your home office, you can see your children while earning a living.
You can have scheduling flexibility.
Many work from home jobs allow scheduling flexibility for you to work during times that suit your family’s needs. Even working from home for a job with a fixed schedule can be a bit more adaptable than an in-office job because you’re not tied to the office all day. You might be able to grab a few minutes to pick up the kids from school or make them lunch more easily.
You might be able to change your work environment.
If your at-home job doesn’t require you to be available by phone or work from your home office all day, then you might be able to work at other places, too. Move your work to the library, visit a coffee shop, or work outside in the backyard. Switching up your work environment occasionally can breathe new life into your work routine.
You work where you’re most comfortable.
Not everyone thrives in a traditional office setting. They can be noisy, distracting, and include people that may not bring out the best in you. Your home is probably the spot where you feel the most comfortable and the most like yourself. When you work from home, you might notice a boost in your productivity and attitude toward your job.
You can save money and time on a commute.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the average worker spends 27.1 minutes traveling to work each day, making their total commute to and from work almost one hour long. Add in the cost of gas for those daily trips, and it’s clear that working from home can save you a significant amount of money and time to spend on your family.
You might not need a work wardrobe.
Many jobs require a specific wardrobe or clothing guidelines, and buying those clothes can become a massive expense. If you work at home at a job that doesn’t require you to be present on video (at least, not frequently), then you can get away with wearing what you feel comfortable in. Have a couple of professional outfits on hand, just in case you need to hop on a conference call.
You don’t need to worry about coworkers.
Are you more of an introvert than a social butterfly? Not having coworkers around you all day at work can be a massive bonus for you. Even if you need to occasionally meet with coworkers on video, you won’t need to see them every day.
Work from home moms save on childcare costs.
Childcare is one of the most significant investments that parents have to make. Depending on where you live, it’s not unusual for parents to pay $500 or more for childcare every month. If you have a home office setup that allows you to keep an eye on the kids while working without distractions, you might be able to keep them home with you while you work.
The Challenges of Being a Work from Home Mom
The benefits of working from home are usually what people talk about. It’s much rarer to hear about some of the challenges that also come with being a work from home mom, but they do exist, depending on your situation. Here are a few drawbacks to consider:
It can get lonely quickly.
The solitude of working from home can wear on anyone quickly, even introverts. There are a few reasons that coworking spaces exist, and combatting loneliness is one of them. When you work at home, it’s crucial to make sure you’re getting time with friends and family to foster meaningful relationships that you may be missing out on at work.
Your home can be distracting.
Depending on your living situation, your environment may be more distracting for you than the office. With kids, pets, and other loved ones nearby, you could find yourself getting interrupted more than staying on task.
You might need a separate workspace.
If the latter sounds like you, having a separate workspace in your home could help you stay focused. The problem is that your home might not be able to accommodate one. Without an extra room or space that you can make into an office, you’re probably tied to the space you have now. Alternatively, you’ll need to spend money to create the office space you need.
You might still need to pay for childcare.
While some work from home moms have jobs that can handle some background noise and distractions, other jobs aren’t as flexible. For instance, phone work usually requires you to work from an environment with no background noise from others in the home. If your job is restrictive in this area, you might still need to pay for childcare to prevent unwelcome noise in your phone calls.
Not all work from home mom jobs have flexible scheduling.
Working from home doesn’t always mean that you’ll get to do whatever you want whenever you want. Many work at home jobs still have at least a loose schedule you’ll need to follow, which might require you to work some nights or weekends.
It can be tempting not to be productive.
Is your bed calling your name? Working from home comes with several temptations. You may find it challenging to focus on work when a new TV series is available to watch, or your child asks you to play a game. Having self-motivation is critical for remote workers.
You have to rely on your internet connection, computer, and electricity.
When you work in a traditional office setting, your employer is responsible for fixing problems with your equipment, power, or internet connection. If you can’t work due to issues with necessary equipment, you’re not responsible for work that you can’t finish. When your internet or power at home doesn’t work, the responsibility of uncompleted work could fall on your shoulders.
You might need to pay for separate home office equipment and materials.
Some jobs pay for equipment you’ll need to complete work at home, like a computer or a headset. But few jobs pay for everything you need, like a printer, organizers, planners, paper, or an internet modem. Your work desk and chair will also need to come out of your pocket.
How to Make Working from Home Work for You
Before you make the switch from office worker to work from home mom, consider the points above and whether working from home is the right choice for you and your family. If you believe that distractions will get the best of you and you’ll miss the office setting and sociability factor, working at home might not be your cup of tea.
Fortunately, there are many work at home jobs in today’s market, so there’s an excellent chance that you can find one that checks all your boxes. Before applying for a job, see if you can find the contact information for a hiring manager or recruiter. Ask all the questions you need to decide if that job is the right one for you.
When you start working from home, be sure to lay ground rules for others in your house to understand your expectations of them when you’re working. Consider getting childcare, even for just an hour or two each day, if it will help you be more productive. And try to create an office environment that helps you steer clear of distractions and noise as much as possible.
Remember your mental health, too. Take breaks as needed. Go on a walk with a friend or catch up with loved ones after work. Set a schedule for yourself if your job doesn’t provide one to ensure that you have a clear start and stop time each day. Doing so will let you find the right balance between your home life and work life.