Working From Home Is SO Overrated (Episode 339) ⋆ Mama Says Namaste

Working From Home Is SO Overrated (Episode 339)

Working from home...it's everyone's dream...right? Post-2020, many got to test that theory out, and wow, can it be overwhelming. It's not rainbows and unicorns when your work is in your living quarters. 

Being both parent and professional at the same time is a tricky thing to navigate.

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The reality is, when you bring your work home, there are so many obstacles to getting much accomplished - especially if you have small children in the home:

  • You are navigating not only work but oftentimes daycare/parenthood - simply prepping meals for the family and cleaning up eats up half your day. 
  • Infants need a present adult to care for them. 
  • You don't want screen time to be your child's babysitter all day long.

Even beyond the kids, sitting at home and seeing all the things that need to be done can make it so, so hard to stay focused on work. 


Feeling Conflicted

I want to be there for my family. I want to be the mama who shows up fully when her children need her. Yet every time there is a want...it's so hard!

Ages ago when I first wrote this blog post, I had a 3-year-old, 6- and 9-year-old. I read this section now and I can feel the desperate frustration that I struggled to navigate then: 

How in the world can we play in the middle of all this workload?  If picking between a princess dance-off or coaching a Life Harmony Session, I have to admit, I'd pick the latter. Not that the fanciful world of play is unimportant, but good grief - when am I going to fund this play? What is more important - making money or playing with play-dough? Geesh.

  • When will you grow up and stop demanding?  
  • Why can't you learn independence just a little faster?  
  • Do I seriously have to wipe your butt every stinkin time you poop?   
  • Come ON, does every single bump HAVE to be kissed by Mommy only?

Okay, I speak in half jest. My kids are my top priority. Seriously. I love and adore them. And I want to focus on them. They completely light up my life and I have so much fun with them.

And yet, trying to switch back and forth from professional to parent (and chef, and boo-boo healer, and chauffeur, and housecleaner, and household manager, and...) 

I can just feel the stress oozing out of my words above. The sarcasm just kept on going as I clearly was letting my frustration out in this blog post. Yes, writing in here every week for so many years has definitely been cathartic for me as well - I hope it helps you, too!

I was really struggling back then to be all things to everyone. And showing up fully both at work and at home at the same time seemed next to impossible at times. 

Overrated Hype

Again, now in 2024 as I write this, post-pandemic, many of you have experienced working from home. While some found a new love and flexibility, others craved getting back to the workplace...especially when kids were involved. 

Here is another flashback to my younger mama self:

Let me tell you something. Working from home is overrated.  Making my own hours is awesome. Working while in PJs and sipping my coffee is awesome. Being able to love on a little kid anytime I want is awesome.

And...let me tell you what isn't. Picture this: you're right in the middle of a project, you have a web emergency and a deadline all to meet and your 3-year-old needs her butt wiped across the house, you're tripping over toys, the baby is screaming because she's figured out how to stand up but doesn't know yet what to do after that, your 6-year-old has taken over the kitchen where there is honey everywhere and the dog just shredded half a tree on your living room rug...which you know is where your toddler will head to next. It sucks. Instead of leaving home at home and work at work, you are in the midst of chaos - think of the daycare center in the center of your workspace: constant interruptions and distractions.

Agh - I so remember that season and my heart goes out to the mama of my past! There are so, so many days I could have written about similar to this. I was in the thick of it trying to be all things to all people. 

As I hit my max, I had to find another way. And once again, I wasn't the answer to every one of my problems. Humans are designed to live in community for a reason.

The Solution To Your Woes

Let me tell you my solution. When you have young children and you think working from home is the answer, here is your reality check.

It is hard.  

It is not for the undisciplined.  

And please oh please, don't try it alone. 

Childhood, when viewed in comparison to the pressing deadlines, can be slow, unproductive, and very time-consuming. Yet it's precious and fleeting in the scope of things. It's full of awe and creativity in so many ways. It's the foundation for which dreams are made. It's worth every minute.  

I don't want to be the mother who feels her kids are a burden or an inconvenience. I don't want to scream at them every time they come in the office and climb on my chair. Yet how in the world can you accomplish a day's work when the unpredictability of childhood comes knocking at your door at random all day long?

Cue your community. At one point, people would say it took a village to raise a child. Now so many people try to go it alone. 

The reality is, going it alone doesn't just narrow your world; it also narrows the world of your children.

Be Present

Being physically present doesn't mean squat if you aren't emotionally present. If your mind is on that marketing strategy and that deadline, you aren't truly there. Don't try to juggle all things. Be focused.

When you need to work, work. Spending three hours working hard so you can spend 5 hours playing and focusing on your family is much better than trying to hop on and off all day. 

Take it from me - lesson learned the hard way. I struggled so much, feeling like a failure at both work and parenting as I tried to be all things to everyone. Yet when I looked to get the support I needed, I was able to stay focused and fully show up.

You can get ideas and inspiration for work when you play  - taking true breaks from work and letting go of the to-do list is good for your soul and your productivity.

Working from home has its perks, but I want to give a reality check to those with young children, especially. To be a present parent, enlist help during work hours. Focus, prioritize your day, and determine what needs to get done. Then get the help you need to complete it uninterrupted. I promise you it'll make for better and more focused parenting.

Setting boundaries doesn't mean you just shut things out of your life. Having some off-limits time from your child allows you to recharge as well as make way for things beyond being a parent - like work. The reality is that the need to be fully on for parenting is a small window - it's important to address a life beyond it, even if you are a full-time stay-at-home parent

Find Your Village

I believe the world is our school and everyone is our teacher. What other experiences could your child be having to enrich their lives by giving them the opportunity to be with someone who is focused solely on being present with them? How powerful is that? Who can you count on to be a part of your village? 

Here are some ideas that may spark a creative solution beyond a traditional babysitter or nanny, which may not be in your budget. Think of who else you may know:

  • Is there an older child a few steps ahead of your own that is able to act as a "mother's helper", keeping kids distracted with fun yet not quite at the full babysitter expense?
  • Is there a co-op or one extracurricular that would give you a solid chunk of time and also double as a great educational opportunity for your kids?
  • Think of child development studies in college - are there practicum hours students need to take where they work 1-1 with your children in exchange for credit hours versus pay?
  • Take advantage of "mom swaps". Think of your children's friends - can you exchange focused time at each other's houses for kids to play and give parents a break to work or do whatever on their own? Especially the older the kids, the more the merrier, as it often is just crowd control then. Bonus: My bestie and I loved being each other's "late date sitters" - for those times we just cringed paying a sitter to sit and watch TV while our kids slept. We'd go over to the other's house, put the kids to bed, and then have the evening to ourselves to do whatever we wanted while the other got a free date night. It was a win-win.
  • Don't forget the child-free friends. Just because someone chooses not to have children doesn't mean they hate them. Many people have no children of their own and still find great joy in spending some quality time with other kids. Our children's godparents are completely dedicated to investing in our children and nurturing them as if they were their own.
  • Remember the family - maybe there are opportunities for quality aunt or cousin time, or a day a week at Grandma's. 
  • And, dare I say it, as your children get older, they are fully capable of having some strict times when they care for themselves and each other and leave you undisturbed. 

My bestie visiting us in the Keys, and taking her kids and mine for a stroll and some focused time away so I could knock out some work - fun for her and her kids, and a focused work time for me!

Your Weekly Challenge:

Are you working from home?  How do you manage balancing work with your home life and raising children? 

Pay attention to how much you're floating back and forth. Time-blocking is a powerful tool to stay fully focused. Get clear on a schedule that has devoted time for work, and devoted time for being present with family. 

When you show up, show up fully - for your work, for your family, and for yourself. You aren't meant to carry it all. Welcome the village. 

Ashley Logsdon

Ashley Logsdon is a Family and Personality Styles Coach and Lifelong Learner. She and her husband Nathan are RVing the States and unschooling their 3 girls. Her mission is to shift the mindsets of families from reaction to intention, and guide them in creating the family they love coming home to. Looking deeper than the surface, we assess the strengths, triggers, and simplifying your lifestyle so you truly recognize how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us. Join the Mama Says Namaste Facebook Group

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